Bears Return to Farm for NCAA First Round Bout with No. 17 Pepperdine

May 6, 2009


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This Week:NCAA Division I Men's Tennis ChampionshipsFirst and Second RoundsTaube Family Tennis Center | Stanford, Calif.

First RoundMatch #1: No. 17 Pepperdine vs. No. 40 CaliforniaFriday, May 8 11 a.m.Match #2: Sacramento State vs. No. 9 StanfordFriday, May 8 2 p.m.

Second RoundMatch #3: Winner #1 vs. Winner #2Saturday, May 9 3 p.m.

THIS WEEK: The No. 40-ranked California men's tennis team (11-10, 2-4 Pac-10) received its school-record 10th-consecutive bid to the NCAA Division I Men's Tennis Championships will face No. 17-ranked Pepperdine (19-9, 5-0 WCC) in a first round match at 11 a.m. on Friday, May 8. The Golden Bears will take on the Waves in one of two first-round matches hosted by No. 9-ranked Stanford at the Taube Family Tennis Center in Stanford, Calif. The Cardinal (18-5, 3-3 Pac-10) draws Sacramento State (19-6, 8-0 BSC) at 2 p.m. later that day. The winners will face off in a second-round match set to start at 3 p.m. on Saturday, May 9. Live scores and streaming video for all three matches will be available via links at

TICKET INFORMATION: Ticket prices for two-day reserved tickets are as follows: $20 (all-tournament), $15 (adult/general admission) and $10 (student/child/senior general admission). Single-day tickets are priced as follows: $8 (reserved), $6 (adult/general admission) and $4 (student/child/senior general admission). Students must show valid school identification.

CAL AT THE NCAA TOURNAMENT: The Bears are making their 43rd all-time appearance in the NCAA championships and have extended their school-record streak for postseason appearances to 10 straight. Cal won the national championship in 1925 and has advanced to the NCAA final on four other occasions. Under current head coach Peter Wright, the Bears enjoyed their deepest run into the tournament with a quarterfinal appearance in 2003 and have made the round of 16 three times (1995, '98, 2001). Last year, Cal defeated Boise State in the first round of the team championship before falling to No. 6-ranked USC in the second round in Los Angeles. The Bears are the owners of two NCAA singles titles and nine NCAA doubles titles. E.G. Chandler won Cal's first singles title in 1925 and successfully defended his crown in 1926. The Bears also won their first doubles title in 1925 as Gervais Hillis and Gerald Stratford took home the championship. The last Cal duo to win the NCAA title was All-American tandem Matt Lucena and Bent-Ove Pedersen in 1991.

CHIZEVER AND ZERBINI AND 31 FLAVORS: Cal's No. 19-ranked doubles team of senior Geoff Chizever and sophomore Pedro Zerbini received one of 32 bids to the 2009 NCAA Division I Men's Tennis Doubles Championship field. The duo was awarded one of 17 at-large selections and will travel to College Station, Texas where the championships will be conducted May 20-25. All matches will take place at the George P. Mitchell Tennis Center, following the conclusion of the team championship (May 14-19). Texas A&M University will serve as the host institution. Chizever and Zerbini completed the regular season with a team-high 24-11 doubles record. The duo posted a 12-7 record on the top court in duals and helped the Golden Bears win the doubles point in 14 matches this year. The tandem is the first Cal doubles team to be selected to the NCAA championship since Tyler Browne and Conor Niland were taken in 2006. The two fell in three sets in the first round to Miami's Luigi D'Agord and Daniel Vallverdu. Cal's rich history boasts nine NCAA doubles championships including the most recent by All-American tandem Matt Lucena and Bent-Ove Pedersen in 1991.

ZERBINI RECEIVES PAC-10 ALL-CONFERENCE HONORS: Sophomore Pedro Zerbini was selected to the 2009 Pacific-10 All-Conference first team as voted on by the league's coaches. The second-year Golden Bear completed the regular season with a team-high 24-9 singles record while going 13-6 in dual matches (5-1 in conference play). Zerbini also held a 25-11 doubles record (24-11 with partner senior Geoff Chizever) at season's end. Zerbini received Pac-10 Player of the Week honors on two occasions this year (March 19 and April 5) and became just the second Cal player to win the award more than once in the same season since Conor Niland in 2006 (three times). Zerbini's play on the top singles court netted him five wins over ranked players including a 6-2, 6-4 defeat of No. 51-ranked Haythem Abid of UCLA and a 6-1, 6-3 win over No. 40 Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan of Washington. His three-set (6-4, 4-6, 6-3) victory against No. 68-ranked Jay Goldman of Arizona helped the Bears seal a 4-2 win to send the Wildcats to their one and only home loss of the season. With Chizever, Zerbini completed the regular season with a team-high 24-11 doubles record. The duo posted a 12-7 record on the top court in duals and helped the Golden Bears win the doubles point in 14 matches this year. Along the way, Zerbini and Chizever claimed marquee wins over No. 5-ranked Donato and Foegelman of North Carolina (8-6), No. 3 Brugues and Stephens of Tulsa (8-6) and No. 38 el-Effendi and Walsh of SMU (8-2).

ON COURT - NO. 17 PEPPERDINE: The Waves (19-9, 5-0 WCC) are making their 20th consecutive appearance in the NCAA championships (33 overall) after winning three-straight matches to claim Pepperdine's 40th West Coast Conference crown (19th straight). The Waves claimed the NCAA title in 2006. Pepperdine has won seven of its last nine matches heading into the championships and are led by No. 35-ranked sophomore Bassam Beidas, who has the second-most singles wins on the team with a 25-12 record. Beidas owns a 13-8 record on the top singles court and trails just No. 44-ranked junior Omar Altmann in total wins. Altmann is 26-9 on the year including a 20-8 mark in duals (17-5 at No. 2 singles). No. 120-ranked freshman Alex Llompart is third on the team with a total of 21 singles wins, all coming in duals. Llompart is 19-4 at No. 3 singles. Together, Altmann and Beidas for the No. 8-ranked doubles team in the nation. The duo holds a 26-4 overall record and went 23-3 in duals at the top court. The Bears and the Waves met indoors at the San Francisco Tennis Club on April 7 with Pepperdine emerging with a 4-3 win. The Waves own the 31-20 all-time series advantage over the Bears.

ON COURT - NO. 9 STANFORD: The Cardinal (18-5, 3-3 Pac-10) will serve as the host of the first and second round matches at the Taube Family Tennis Center. Stanford is making its 30th NCAA tournament appearance and holds the No. 9 overall seed in the field. The Cardinal enters the postseason on a five match winning streak and has won six of its last seven duals. No. 21-ranked sophomore Alex Clayton has a 28-10 record and went 12-5 at the top singles court this season. No. 34-ranked freshman Bradley Klahn won the Pac-10 singles championship and holds a 10-match winning streak while leading the Cardinal with a team-high 33-7 singles record. Junior Richard Wire is third on the team with a 25-10 mark on the season, 18-5 in duals. Klahn and freshman Ryan Thacher are ranked No. 28 with a 10-3 record. The duo won the Pac-10 doubles championship and are riding a six-match winning streak. No. 40-ranked senior Blake Muller and Wire are 16-7 together. The Cardinal defeated Cal in both meetings this year; 5-2 in the first on Feb. 21; and 6-1 in the second on April 18 to end the season. Stanford owns a 122-72-2 all-time record against Cal.

ON COURT - SACRAMENTO STATE: The Hornets (19-6, 8-0 BSC) won their seventh Big Sky Conference title with a 4-0 sweep of Eastern Washington on April 26 and have won 10 of their last 11 matches heading into their sixth NCAA Championship appearance. Sacramento State has won 18 of its last 20 matches and is led by sophomore Kiryl Harbatsiuk, who ended the regular season with a team-high 21-4 record while going 18-2 on the top singles court. Freshman Jason Smith is second on the team with an 18-7 record in duals, getting six wins each at Nos. 2 and 3 singles. Sophomore Marko Starcevic is third on the team with a 16-8 record and took home nine of those wins on the fifth singles court. Harbatsiuk and junior Anton Stryhas are ranked No. 58 in doubles and lead the team with a 15-6 mark at the top court. Junior Holden Ching and Starcevic have a team-high 19-5 record in dual matches, going 18-5 at court two. The Bears own a 13-0 all-time record against Sacramento State and last took out the Hornets in a 4-0 sweep in 2003.

CAL AT THE PAC-10 CHAMPIONSHIPS: The Bears completed their run at the 2009 Pac-10 Championships in Ojai, Calif. with sophomore Pedro Zerbini advancing to the singles quarterfinal and freshman Evan Rose taking a spot in the singles invitational quarterfinal. In doubles play, Cal also sent two teams into quarterfinal matches with senior Geoff Chizever teaming with Zerbini to get past the round of 16 in the championship draw while Rose and fellow freshman Tommie Murphy advanced to the quarters in the doubles invitational. In 2008, the Bears were represented in the singles quarterfinal by Zerbini, who fell to runner-up Robert Farah of USC. In doubles play, Cal advanced to the semifinal round where Chizever and Zerbini fell in an 8-4 loss to eventual champions, Farah and Kaes Van't Hof of USC.

LAST TIME OUT: The Bears completed their regular season dual schedule with a 5-2 victory over No. 73 UC Santa Barbara in a rescheduled match on April 26. Cal won the doubles point for the 14th time this season and carried the momentum to three quick wins in singles as sophomore Bozhidar Katsarov clinched the victory at No. 4 doubles with his 6-4, 6-2 win over Taylor Chavez Goggin. Sophomore Pedro Zerbini made things look easy at the top court to get things started for the Bears as he took out Alex Konigsfeldt in a 6-0, 6-0 win. The Gauchos scored their two points after Cal had already sealed its 11th win of the year.

BEARS IN THE RANKS: Cal holds the No. 40 spot in the most recent (April 28) Campbell's/ITA (Intercollegiate Tennis Association) College Tennis Rankings. Sophomore Pedro Zerbini checks in at No. 68 among singles players and teams up with senior Geoff Chizever to become the No. 19-ranked doubles team in the nation.

POWER OF THE PAC: The Pacific-10 Conference features six teams ranked in the top 50 of the most recent (April 28) Campbell's/ITA College Tennis Poll--making it one of the toughest conferences in all of collegiate men's tennis. UCLA holds the top ranking as the conference champion Bruins check in at No. 7. USC is ranked No. 8 and Stanford is right behind at No. 9. Arizona is ranked No. 24 with the 27th-ranked Huskies not far behind to give the conference five teams in the top 30 alone. Cal checks in at No. 40 with just Oregon remaining unranked. Last year, six teams from the Pac-10 earned bids to the NCAA tournament with four advancing to the second round. USC and UCLA each advanced to the quarterfinal round where they faced each other with UCLA advancing to the semifinal match. A duo from USC won the doubles championship and Alex Clayton of Stanford advanced to the semifinal of the singles competition among just a short list of conference accomplishments.

ZERBINI REPEATS AS PAC-10 PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Sophomore Pedro Zerbini was named Pac-10 Men's Tennis Player of the Week for March 30-April 5 to become just the second Cal player to win the award more than once in the same season since Conor Niland in 2006 (three times). Zerbini helped the Bears upset No. 20-ranked Arizona, 4-2, to give the Wildcats their first and only home loss of the season. He teamed up with senior Geoff Chizever to take out No. 80-ranked Pat Methem and Francois VanderMerwe, 8-4, on the top court. Zerbini defeated his fourth-straight ranked player as he dropped a 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 win on No. 68 Jay Goldman at the top court. Zerbini also won the award on March 19 as he helped the Bears to a fifth consecutive win as Cal took out SMU, 4-3, and USF, 6-1, at the fourth annual Pebble Beach Collegiate Tennis Classic.

DOUBLE TROUBLE: The Bears won the doubles point in 14 matches this season and emerged with the team victory in 11 of those 14 wins. The Cal lineup features one of the top-20 doubles teams in the country in senior Geoff Chizever and sophomore Pedro Zerbini who hold down the No. 19 ranking with a 24-11 record this year. The two have owned the top doubles court in dual matches to come up with a 12-7 record there. Along the way, the tandem has claimed victories over No. 31 Inglot and Shabaz of Virginia and No. 26-ranked Childs and Childs of Louisville, both at the ITA National Indoor Championships. In dual matches, they have taken out No. 5 Donato and Foegelman of North Carolina and No. 28 Muller and Wire of Stanford. They've also taken wins against No. 3-ranked Farah and Johnson of USC, No. 3 Brugues and Stephens of Tulsa and No. 38-ranked el-Effendi and Walsh of SMU.

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. 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 214-158 (.575) overall (55-67, .451 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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