It's Deja Vu for Mouillon, Bears in Win Over Washington

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It's funny how history repeats itself.

For the second straight year the Cal men's tennis team's match against Washington was decided on the final set of the final singles match. And just like last year, the Bears came out victorious as Pierre Mouillon clinched the 2008 installment on a match-ending ace.

Cal (12-9, 4-2 in the Pac-10) defeated the No. 25 Huskies (13-9, 1-5) by a score of 4-3 on Saturday at Hellman Tennis Complex. The Bears also garnered a 6-1 win over Oregon (11-12, 0-5 Pac-10) on Friday to remain tied for third place with Stanford in the Pac-10.

With Cal up 3-2 against Washington, only seniors Mouillon and Ken Nakahara were still playing on courts two and six, respectively. With both players having lost their first set, the seniors were fighting hard to keep the Bears in the match.

Things looked bleak when Nakahara found himself down 5-3 in his second set against the Huskies' Martin Kildahl. But Nakahara rattled off four straight games to take the set 7-5.

"I was about to lose the match, but all my teammates got behind me and I was able to get a break and win the set," Nakahara said.

Nakahara carried this momentum into the third set going up 3-0, forcing Kildahl to take a timeout. But the senior team captain was unable to hold on, eventually losing to Kildahl 6-4, 5-7, 6-4.

This put Mouillon in the position to grab the victory for Cal. Playing almost flawless tennis in his last two sets, Mouillon defeated Washington's Jeevan Nedunchezhiyan 6-7(4), 6-2, 6-3, sealing up the win.

"It is always a great feeling (to win). This one is very particular for me because I haven't been playing too well this year," Mouillon said. "But this one is really important because NCAAs are at stake."

Mouillon's fellow teammate was just happy to be part of the moment.

"It was weird, it was like a script–myself and Pierre, two seniors playing together at the end," Nakahara said. "I lost my match and I was disappointed, but it was even better to watch Pierre clinch the win for us."

Before the weekend, the Bears talked about how they needed to put themselves in the best position to win. Cal could not have asked for a better situation, having both seniors on the court when the match was close.

"It came down to our two seniors in the singles and it was really encouraging to see Pierre come through," coach Peter Wright said. "Given how our seniors have had a little bit of a tough year, it is such a positive feeling to see them out there."

This is the fifth time this season that the Bears have had a match decided by one point, going 4-1 in those matches.

"My cardiologist is concerned about me-my heart is just up and down, up and down-but it was fantastic," Wright said. "It has been an interesting year, nothing has come easy. The one thing that has been positive is when it gets down to crunch time we have been able to produce."


Contact Joshua Linville at [email protected]

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