Cal Downs Boise State, 4-2, In NCAA First Round

May 10, 2008

No. 31 Cal survived a grueling match to outlast No. 36 Boise State, 4-2, in an NCAA Championships Men's Tennis first-round match at USC's Marks Stadium on Saturday (May 10).

Cal won the doubles point to get off to a 1-0 lead, staving off two comeback attempts at the second and third doubles spots. Boise State's brothers tandem of Clancy and Luke Shields first dispatched Cal's Geoff Chizever and Pedro Zerbini, 8-3, at No. 1.

At No. 3 doubles, Cal's Jonathan Dahan and Bozhidar Katsarov jumped out to a 6-2 lead only to see Boise State's Piotr Dilaj and Steve Robertson close to within 7-5. But that's as far as they would get, falling 8-5 as the Bears evened the doubles competition.

That turned eyes to No. 2 doubles, where the Broncos' Paul Koenke and Eric Roberson came back from a 6-4 deficit to knot the match at 6-6 and again rallied to tie it at 7-7. But Cal's Eoin Heavey and Kallim Stewart were able to hold off the comeback attempt, winning the next two games for a 9-7 win to give the Bears the doubles point.

Heavey gave Cal a 2-0 lead at No. 3 singles with a 6-2, 6-2, win over Brent Werbeck, though moments later, Luke Shields got Boise State on the board with a 6-4, 6-2, win over Stewart at No. 1 singles.

The Bears extended their lead to 3-1 as Zerbini took care of Dilaj, 6-2, 6-3, at No. 4 singles. The Broncos responded minutes later as Clancy Shields mimicked his brother to defeat Mouillon, 6-4, 6-1, at No. 2 singles and get Boise to within 3-2.

Cal's Katsarov appeared on his way to a straight-set win at No. 6 singles to close out the match for the Bears. But leading 7-6, 3-0, Boise State's Koenke came back to rattle off six consecutive games (winning 17 points in a row in one stretch) to even the set. Katsarov, however, somehow reversed the momentum and blanked Koenke in the final set to clinch his match and the win for Cal. Play at No. 5 singles was suspended at one set apiece.

Cal will face the winner of USC-Southern, which follows the Bears' match.

Cal Coach Peter Wright: 'Our doubles came out today extremely focused. Getting that first point was a big key for us today. Eoin Heavey then got us started in singles with a quick win and we then left it to the freshmen, who delivered again for us.'

Boise State Coach Greg Patton: 'Today was like our season. We fought to the end. We lost some tough 4-3 matches this year. We hoped to at least extend it to 4-3 today. Cal's depth was deeper than ours. Cal was mining gold, we were mining silver. We're strong at the top, but their depth was impressive.

'We were hoping to get off court 5 with a win (to even the match at 3-3) and put pressure on court 6, but we couldn't get there. It's good to get into the dance, but we were thrown out too early.'

(1) Geoff Chizever-Pedro Zerbini (Cal) lost to Clancy Shields-Luke Shields (BSU), 3-8
(2) Eoin Heavey-Kallim Stewart (Cal) def. Paul Koenke-Eric Roberson (BSU), 9-7
(3) Jonathan Dahan-Bozhidar Katsarov (Cal) def. Piotr Dilaj-Steve Robertson (BSU), 8-5

Order of Finish: 1,3,2

(1) Kallim Stewart (Cal) lost to Luke Shields (BSU), 4-6, 2-6
(2) Pierre Mouillon (Cal) lost to Clancy Shields (BSU), 4-6, 1-6
(3) Eoin Heavey (Cal) def. Brent Werbeck (BSU), 6-2, 6-2
(4) Pedro Zerbini (Cal) def. Piotr Dilaj (BSU), 6-2, 6-3
(5) Jonathan Dahan (Cal) vs. Eric Roberson (BSU) 3-6, 7-6 (7-4), susp.
(6) Bozhidar Katsarov (Cal) def. Paul Koenke (BSU), 7-6 (7-3), 3-6, 6-0

Order of Finish: 3,1,4,2,6

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