Weekend in Los Angeles Gives Bears Familiar Double Trouble

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After splitting its first two doubles matches with USC, the Cal men's tennis team had a chance to grab an early lead as senior Pierre Mouillon and freshman Bozhidar Katsarov were deadlocked 7-7 with the Trojans' Jaak Poldma and Andrew Piotrowski.

After Poldma and Piotrowski held serve to go up 8-7, it looked as if Mouillon and Katsarov would tie the match again as they went up 40-love. However, the pair missed three chances to do so and lost the match 9-7, costing the Bears the doubles point.

This was as close as Cal (10-9, 2-2 Pac-10) would get to a win this weekend as it lost 5-2 on Saturday to No. 5 USC (17-3, 4-0 Pac-10) at the David X. Marks Tennis Stadium. To make matters worse, the Bears were also drubbed 6-1 by No. 4 UCLA (17-1, 4-0 Pac-10) the day before.

"At the end of the day, we are not discouraged by this weekend's efforts," coach Peter Wright said. "We know there are a couple of areas that will lead us to a victory (in the future) and we just need to spend some time working on those."

Cal struggled most of the weekend as Mouillon, sophomore Kallim Stewart and junior Eoin Heavey all went 0-2 in their singles matches. But this isn't to say that the Bears didn't put up a fight.

Mouillon lost a close match against the Bruins' Mathieu Dehaine 5-7, 6-3, 1-0(4), while Heavey gave UCLA's Holden Seguso a tough time before falling 7-6(13), 6-4.

"Eoin stepped up (Friday) and played much better, so I think if you look at where our team is now compared to two months ago we are a much better team," Wright said.

Troubles for Cal continued as freshman Jonathan Dahan injured his shoulder against the Bruins and was forced to miss Saturday's match.

One positive result from the trip to Los Angeles was freshman Pedro Zerbini winning his seventh straight singles match with a victory over the Trojans' Gary Sacks 7-6, 1-4(Ret.). Zerbini now holds a record of 22-10.

"I just try to be as positive as I can and be the best teammate I can," Zerbini said. "We had some tough matches (but) I think we have everything required to be a top team, we just need to keep improving."

The Bears have lost their last four meetings against USC and have not beaten UCLA since 2005. More importantly, they have fallen into a tie for third place with Stanford, which all but dashes any hopes of Cal winning its first-ever conference championship.

"We are just taking it one match at a time. Obviously winning the Pac-10 is everybody's goal at the start-now with USC and UCLA opening up a pretty wide margin in the conference, some of it is out of our hands," Wright said. "We are going to put all our efforts into having a successful finish to the Pac-10 season."


Contact Joshua Linville at [email protected].

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