Stanford Serves Up Big Smash Against Bears on Senior Day

Photo: Pierre Mouillon lost in three sets to Stanford's Richard Wire on Saturday. The senior's match didn't take place until the team score was already settled in favor of the Cardinal.
Victoria Chow/Photo
Pierre Mouillon lost in three sets to Stanford's Richard Wire on Saturday. The senior's match didn't take place until the team score was already settled in favor of the Cardinal.


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This whole season, freshman Bozhidar Katsarov has been a model of consistency for the Cal men's tennis team. But with the Bears tied at 2-2 with Stanford this weekend, Katsarov did something he rarely does-lose.

Katsarov was defeated by the Cardinal's Kevin Kaiser 7-6, 6-3 on court six Saturday, leading to Cal's 5-2 loss to No. 24 Stanford (12-8, 5-2 in the Pac-10) at the Hellman Tennis Complex.

"He is a freshman and has been outstanding all year," coach Peter Wright said. "The guy has posted so many wins for the program so he is definitely entitled to a bad day every now and then as long as he learns something from it."

Katsarov is now 16-6 in singles this dual season and holds an overall record of 29-10 in singles this year-tops on the team.

Although the Bears (12-10, 4-3) lost the 194th edition of the Big Smash 5-2, the match was closer than the score indicates.

As Katsarov lost his match, junior Eoin Heavey trailed Blake Muller 5-2 in the third set, making any hopes of a Cal comeback unlikely.

Heavey looked to be in control after winning his first set and grabbing a 4-2 lead in the second. But Muller broke Heavey shortly afterward and reeled off four straight games to win the set. This culminated with a Heavey shot that hit the top of the net and just narrowly missed falling over. Heavey eventually lost 3-6, 6-4, 6-3.

"When you are up like that against a guy I have never lost to you shouldn't be losing matches," Heavey said. "I had a little bit of trouble with my footwork and he came up with the big points. He made me play a lot of shots and that was it."

Both teams struggled a bit in a match that featured high winds. But Heavey downplayed this factor.

"It was tough, my serve was off, but it was the same for both players," Heavey said. "Maybe he handled it a little bit better than me, but I am not going to blame anything on the winds."

The Cardinal certainly had no excuse for not being prepared.

"I saw this coming all week. I talked about it at practice and our guys were expecting it," Stanford coach John Whitlinger said. "That's what I was really proud of-they didn't let the wind bother them."

The Bears got off to a good start on Saturday by winning all three of their doubles matches to go up 1-0. Junior Geoff Chizever and freshman Pedro Zerbini won their 19th doubles match of the year with a 8-4 win over the Cardinal's Muller and Alex Clayton.

This was nothing new for Stanford, as it has lost its last six doubles points but still managed to win four out of its last six matches.

"It's sort of what we have been doing lately, we have not played well in doubles. But the guys have really responded in singles and they did again today," Whitlinger said. "Cal is not going to go away easy either, I knew we would have to battle all the way."

The outcome of the match was especially tough for Cal's seniors, as it was Senior Day and the last time they would be playing on their home court.

Playing in the last home match of his Bears' career, Pierre Mouillon fought valiantly against Richard Wire despite Stanford having already sealed up a victory.

After winning his first set, a well-placed Mouillon shot that skimmed the line tied up the second set at 2-2. Mouillon also had a nice backhand that Wire whiffed at to retie the set at 3-3. Unfortunately for Mouillon, his efforts were not enough to save him from a 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 loss.

Tags: BIG SMASH


Contact Joshua Linville at [email protected]



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