Golden Bears Take On SMU and USF In Pebble Beach Collegiate Tennis Classic

March 13, 2008


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vs. No. 71 SMU

Sat. Mar. 15 | 10 a.m.
Beach and Tennis Club
Pebble Beach, Calif.

vs. San Francisco
Sun. Mar. 16 | 1 p.m.
Beach and Tennis Club
Pebble Beach, Calif.

BEAR NOTES: The No. 36 California men's tennis team (6-5) heads down the Pacific Coast Highway this weekend to take part in the third annual Pebble Beach Collegiate Tennis Classic hosted by the University of San Francisco at the Beach and Tennis Club in Pebble Beach, Calif. The Golden Bears will face No. 71 Southern Methodist (10-6) Saturday, March 15, in a 10 a.m. match and then take on host USF (7-3, 1-1 WCC) Sunday, March 16, at 1 p.m. Cal faced the same opponents in last years' edition of the Classic and got a 4-2 win over SMU and a 5-2 win over USF, part of a season-high six match winning streak. For updates and scores, please visit

LAST WEEK: The Bears split matches on the road in Arizona before returning home to get the team's first 7-0 win of the year over visiting Penn. Cal fell to No. 26 Arizona State 4-3 after getting swept on the doubles courts. Sophomore Kallim Stewart got a win on the top singles court over Matt Brooklyn 6-3, 7-6, holding Brooklyn to six points in the second set tiebreaker. Freshmen Jonathan Dahan and Bozhidar Katsarov also earned wins for the Bears on courts four and five respectively. The following day, Cal got wins on the same singles courts as Stewart took out Jay Goldman in three sets 7-6(5), 3-6, 7-5 but this time the Bears flipped the script on the doubles courts and got three victories to give the team a 4-3 win over the No. 36 Wildcats. Stewart's match on court one clinched the win for the Bears. On Tuesday (March 11), Cal hosted Penn from the Ivy League and did a number on the Quakers, getting wins in all nine matches without dropping a single set in singles play. Freshman Pedro Zerbini got back on the winning track after dropping his two matches in Arizona to clinch the win for the Bears, taking a 6-1, 3-0 (Ret.) win against Penn's Eric Riley on court three. The Bears got back over the .500 mark with the win against the Quakers and get set to take to the road with the momentum of a two-match winning streak.

HOLDING COURT - NO. 71 SOUTHERN METHODIST: The Bears hold a slight 8-7 edge on the Mustangs in the all-time series between the schools and defeated SMU in the last meeting, 4-2 at the Pebble Beach Classic. The Mustangs of Conference USA are 10-6 on the season and come into the weekend losers of four of their last five matches after starting the season 9-2. SMU will take on USF on March 14 before facing Cal the next day. The Mustangs are led by sophomore Swedish sensation Robin Fahgen. Fahgen is ranked No. 62 with a 13-9 record in singles play and has wins this season over the 17th, 22nd, and 34th ranked players in the country. Senior David Kuczer is ranked No. 117 and leads the team with 18 singles wins this season. The Mustangs are coached by 15th year head coach Carl Neufeld, who has the most wins and highest winning percentage of any men's tennis coach at SMU.

HOLDING COURT - SAN FRANCISCO: The Dons are 7-3 on the season and hold a 1-1 record in West Coast Conference play. The Bears have the advantage in the all-time series with USF however, going 31-7 in 38 meetings, last defeating the Dons by a 5-2 score in last year's Pebble Beach Classic. As the host of the Classic, the Dons will be playing four matches in a five-day span and enter the weekend on the heels of wins over Sacramento State and Santa Clara. The Bears faced individual Dons in fall tournaments, coming away with a 3-3 record head to head. The Dons are led by junior Mitch Del Rosario who holds a 9-5 singles record and is 10-5 in doubles. 11th-year head coach Peter Bartlett was named the 2003 WCC Coach of the Year.

HEAD COACH Peter Wright: Considered one of the best teachers and tacticians in men's collegiate tennis, Peter Wright's coaching talent has not gone unnoticed. Pac-10 Coach of the Year in 2001 and in 1997, he received his first coaching award in 1994 when he was named Wilson/ITA Regional Coach of the Year for guiding the Bears back to postseason play after Cal had missed the Big Dance the previous two seasons. Wright has compiled a 196-142 (.580) career record during his tenure in Berkeley. Last season, with a 14-10 overall record (4-3 Pac-10, tied for third), the Bears made their eighth consecutive postseason appearance in the NCAA Tournament, 13th of the 14 years under Wright's guidance. A four-year letterman during his collegiate career at Cal, Wright worked his way to the No. 1 singles and doubles positions in the Bears lineup before joining the men's professional tour in 1986.

BEARS IN THE RANKS: The Bears opened the season ranked No. 39 in the ITA NCAA Division I Men's Collegiate Tennis rankings but moved up to No. 26 after upsetting No. 11 Oklahoma State on the road in Tulsa, Okla. Hovering in the high 20's, Cal currently holds the No. 36 ranking in the nation. The Bears finished 2007 with the No. 42 ranking but have held the No. 2 ranking at the end of the season on four occasions, and the No. 3 spot on three occasions. Most recently, under the direction of head coach Peter Wright, the Bears were No. 4 to close the 2003 season after advancing to the NCAA Quarterfinal and compiling a 21-5 overall record. Cal won the National Championship in 1925 with a 4-1 record. Individually, sophomore Kallim Stewart is the only Bear ranked in the ITA rankings, holding the No. 96 spot among singles players.

IMPORT MODEL: Senior captain Ken Nakahara leads by example and looks to have his Golden Bears ready for matches by firing them up with his intensity and passion for the sport. He put up 10 wins in fall individual tournaments including earning the Blue Flight title at the Chandler Cup. The senior also teamed with freshman Zach Gilbert to advance to the doubles final at the Fresno State Bulldog Classic.

DON'T YAWN ON MOUILLON: Senior Pierre Mouillon was named the 2007 ITA West Region Player to Watch at the end of the 2006-07 season. Coming into the dual match play, Mouillon is ready to prove what made him all the rage last season, earning him a No. 14 preseason ranking in the fall.

NO HELMET NECESSARY: Junior Geoff Chizever is one-half of the Bears' most formidable doubles team no matter the partner. Chizever didn't always have a racquet in his hand. He was a record-setting quarterback for Viewpoint High School in Calabasas, Calif., where he earned Liberty League MVP honors for four consecutive years (2001-04). His record-setting ways has his name at the top of the list in his former league for most touchdowns, most completions, most yards gained and best competition percentage for a career. On the tennis court, Chizever teamed with freshman Pedro Zerbini this fall to top all Cal duos with a 10-2 record, winning the Chandler Cup doubles title and advancing to the doubles semifinal at the Wilson/ITA Northwest Regional Championship. To date, Chizever is 16-8 in doubles matches, 6-4 in dual match doubles play.

HEAVEY LIFTING: Junior Eoin Heavey looks to shoulder a much larger load this season as he will play predominantly from court No. 2 in singles but will also be asked to contribute his talents in doubles. Already, Heavey has proven his mettle, clinching the upset win for the Bears against No. 11 Oklahoma State on the road with a 6 -3, 4-6, 7-5 victory over No. 77 Dmytro Petrov on Jan. 20.

BO KNOWS: Freshman Bozhidar Katsarov won more singles matches than any Bear in fall tournaments. His 13-4 mark in individual tournament play earned him singles titles at the Fresno State Bulldog Classic and the Chandler Cup. His play at the Wilson/ITA Northwest Regional Championship helped him advance to the singles semifinal. In dual matches, Katsarov has contributed to the Bears' success with wins on courts four and five in dual play and has already upped his total singles wins to a team-high 21 as a freshman. Katsarov is also riding a team-high five-match singles winning streak.

IT'S IN THE BLOOD: Freshman Zach Gilbert is the son of former tennis pro, television commentator and current tennis coach Brad Gilbert. The elder Gilbert won 20 singles titles as a pro and reached a world ranking of No. 4 in 1990. As a coach, Gilbert has tutored many internationally renowned stars including Andre Agassi, Andy Roddick and Andy Murray.

FALL 2007 TOURNAMENTS: The Golden Bears emerged from the fall tournament season with a 64-46 record in singles matches, and notched 25 wins in doubles play. In solo competition, freshman Bozhidar Katsarov led all Bears with 13 wins and only four losses on his way to claiming titles at the 2007 Fresno State Bulldog Classic and at the Cal Chandler Cup. Katsarov's four consecutive victories in Seattle also helped him to advance to the singles quarterfinal at the Wilson/ITA Northwest Regional Championships. Senior captain Ken Nakahara had 10 wins including five-straight to capture the Blue Flight title at the Chandler Cup. Nakahara was also able to advance to the round of 32 at the Wilson/ITA Northwest Regional Championship. In doubles play, the duo of junior Geoff Chizever and freshman Pedro Zerbini experienced the most success, advancing to the semifinal at the 2007 Bulldog Classic before getting to the quarterfinal at the Wilson/ITA Northwest Regional Championship. The pair won the Chandler Cup doubles title with four strong wins to close out the fall season.

2006-07 SEASON RECAP: The Golden Bears completed the 2007 dual campaign with a 14-10 overall record and went 4-3 in Pac-10 Conference play to finish in a tie for third place and a No. 42 ITA national ranking. Cal went to the NCAA Championship Tournament for the eighth consecutive year, tying a school record and faced No. 26 Oklahoma in Stillwater, Okla. in the first round. The Sooners edged the Bears in a 4-3 win to end Cal's season. Junior Pierre Mouillon was the Pac-10's Player of the Week for the week of Mar. 19 and received All-Pac-10 Conference First Team honors. Mouillon was also named the ITA West Region's Player to Watch at season's end. Senior Tyler Browne was an All-Pac-10 Honorable Mention and fellow seniors John Petit and Daniel Sebescen made the 2007 Pac-10 All-Academic Second Team.

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