Michigan State and Tulsa Visit Berkeley for Men's Tennis Showdown

March 12, 2009


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THIS WEEK: The No. 60-ranked California men's tennis team (4-5) welcomes two opponents to Hellman Tennis Complex this week as it hopes to extend a win against UAB on Tuesday into a multiple-match streak. The Golden Bears will take on No. 61 Michigan State (12-1) on Thursday (March 12) at 1:30 p.m. and then face No. 29 Tulsa (12-5) in a 1 p.m. match on Saturday (March 14). For Cal, this will be the first meeting against Michigan State and just the third meeting against Tulsa. The Spartans and the Golden Hurricane will play each other in a neutral-site match at Hellman Tennis Complex on Friday (March 13) at 9 a.m. Cal's matches will feature live streaming video with scores available at CalBears.com.

LAST WEEK: The Bears took a weekend away from dual matches to participate in the 2009 Pacific Coast Men's Doubles Championships at the La Jolla Beach and Tennis Club in La Jolla, Calif. In the 120th annual tournament, Cal sent three pairs to the round of 32 with one advancing as far as the quarterfinal. Assistant coach Tyler Browne and freshman Tommie Murphy enjoyed the most success on the weekend, getting a 6-3, 7-5 victory over Ilja Orre and Dominic Pagon of William & Mary to move into the quarterfinal before falling to ninth-seeded Haythem Abid and Nick Meister of UCLA. Senior duo Geoff Chizever and Eoin Heavey moved into the round of 32 with a 6-1, 6-2 win over Trenton Alenik and Zack Siegler. Freshman Nick Andrews teamed with sophomore Bozhidar Katsarov to advance to the round of 32 with their 6-0, 6-0 win over Billy Grokenberger and Chase Melton.

ON COURT - NO. 61 MICHIGAN STATE: The Spartans (12-1) entered the team rankings for the first time this week and come into Berkeley as winners of their last four matches, most recently, a 4-3 victory at Santa Clara. Michigan State is on a West Coast trip that included the match at the Broncos before meeting Cal and then taking on Tulsa in a neutral-site match on Friday. The Spartans have played 10 of their 13 matches at home in East Lansing, Mich. and have claimed the doubles point in 11 matches thus far. Michigan has no ranked singles players or doubles teams but the roster features four players that have already eclipsed the 15-win mark in singles this year. Senior John Allare leads his team with a 19-5 singles record and is 9-2 in singles duals. Allare has not lost in five matches at No. 2 singles. Freshman Austin Brooks is 18-7 (8-2 in duals) in singles matches and has played on singles courts two, three and four. Fellow frosh Ronnie Hulewicz is 17-8 and has an impressive 10-1 record in dual matches (7-1 at No. 5 singles). Senior Scott Rasmussen is 15-10 in singles matches (8-3 in duals). Allare teams up with junior Jason Norville as the Spartans' No. 2 doubles tandem and has amassed a 12-2 record (9-0 in duals) this year. This is the first meeting between Cal and Michigan State.

ON COURT - NO. 29 TULSA: The Golden Hurricane (12-5) is coming off a 5-2 victory over San Diego that extended its winning streak to three matches. Prior to the win, Tulsa had lost four consecutive matches after opening the season with a scorching 9-1 start. In the win against USD, No. 3-ranked senior Arnau Brugues broke the school's all-time singles wins record by claiming his 101st solo victory. Brugues is 29-3 on the year and has yet to drop a singles match in dual play with a 13-0 record at the top court. Brugues and junior transfer Philip Stephens combine to form the No. 3-ranked doubles team in the nation, going 15-5 together this season with a 9-3 record in duals, all at the top court. Stephens ranks second on the team with a 12-9 singles record (8-6 in duals) and plays primarily on the second and third courts. Freshman Ashley Watling is third on the team with a 10-3 record, all in dual matches and has yet to be defeated at the third and fourth courts. Watling and senior Alberto Sottocorno are 8-5 in doubles matches together and have a 4-0 record at No. 3 doubles. The Bears have an 0-2 record against the Golden Hurricane and have faced Tulsa once each in the past two years, falling 5-2 in 2007 and 4-3 in 2008.

BEARS IN THE RANKS: Cal holds the No. 60 spot in the most recent (March 10) Campbell's/ITA College Tennis Rankings. Sophomore Pedro Zerbini is ranked No. 119 among singles players and teams up with senior Geoff Chizever to become the No. 7-ranked doubles team in the nation.

DOUBLE TROUBLE: The Bears have won the doubles point in six matches this season and have emerged with the team victory in four of those six wins. The Cal lineup features one of the top-10 doubles teams in the country in senior Geoff Chizever and sophomore Pedro Zerbini who hold down the No. 7 ranking with an 18-4 record this year. The two have owned the top doubles court in dual matches to come up with a 7-1 record there.

FALL 2008 REVIEW: Cal enjoyed a successful fall individual tournament season, highlighted by the play of the doubles team of senior Geoff Chizever and sophomore Pedro Zerbini. The pair won the ITA Northern Cal Championship doubles title and earned an automatic berth to the ITA National Indoor Championships. The duo also won the doubles title at the Fresno State Bulldog Classic on their way to an 11-3 record together. Junior Kallim Stewart won the coveted Norma Miner Award at the Land Rover Napa Valley Tennis Classic as he swept through his singles matches over the course of the three day tournament. Sophomores Andy Chirita and Zach Gilbert took home the Fresno State Bulldog Classic B Flight doubles title and fellow sophomore duo Jonathan Dahan and Bozhidar Katsarov advanced to the doubles quarterfinal of the ITA Northern Cal Championships. Unattached, Zerbini advanced to the singles final at the Bulldog Classic and the singles quarterfinal at the Wilson/ITA Northern Cal Championships.

HEAD COACH Peter Wright: 16th-year head coach Peter Wright has led the Golden Bears to the postseason play a school-record nine consecutive years and has only missed the NCAA tournament once in his career. He won his 200th match at Cal last season and is 207-153 (.575) overall (53-63, .457 Pac-10). His first coaching award came when he was named the 1994 Wilson/ITA Regional Coach of the Year and earned Pac-10 Coach of the Year honors in 1997 and 2001. Under Wright, nine Cal players have combined to receive 13 All-America selections. Wright has also served as Chairman of the NCAA Tennis Committee as well as on the executive board of the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA).

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