BERKELEY - Sixteenth-ranked California pushed 12th-ranked Pepperdine to the brink before falling, 4-3, to the Waves on Saturday at the Hellman Tennis Complex. Tied at 3-3, the Golden Bears had a chance to claim victory at court two, where senior co-captain Christoffer Konigsfeldt played Pepperdine's Finn Tearney. But the 63rd-ranked Konigsfeldt lost to the 83rd-ranked Tearney, 3-6, 6-3, 6-3, to clinch the match for the Waves.
Cal's record now stands at 7-6 after the nonconference match. Pepperdine's record is 11-4.
"Each match from here on out is a big match for us," Cal head coach Peter Wright said. "They're all tournament matches for us. Today I thought we played pretty well for most of that match, but then we let it slip away in a couple of spots. When it comes down to our team captain playing out there for us at three all in the third set, that's all I can ask for. Today we came up a little bit short."
The day got off to a good start, as the 45th-ranked team of junior Ben McLachlan and freshman Mads Engsted beat Pepperdine's Sebastian Fanselow/Alex Sarkissian, 8-4, on court two in doubles. On court three, Cal sophomores Gregory Bayane and Chase Melton dropped their match to David Sofaer and Mousheg Hovhannisyan, 8-5, leaving the court one match to decide the doubles point. The 33rd-ranked team of Konigsfeldt and junior Campbell Johnson didn't disappoint, as the Bears toppled No. 47 Finn Tearney/Francis Alcantara, 8-3, to clinch the point for Cal.
In singles, Sofaer knocked off Cal sophomore Nikhil Jayashankar, 6-1, 6-3, on court six to tie the overall match at 1-1. But the 57th-ranked McLachlan reclaimed the lead for Cal at 2-1 after upsetting No. 11 Fanselow, 6-2, 6-3, on court one.
The back and forth match became knotted up at 2-2 when No. 107 Sarkissian defeated Bayane, 6-4, 7-5, on court four, before the 47th-ranked Johnson outlasted No. 53 Alcantara in three sets, 6-4, 4-6, 6-1, on court three to give Cal the lead at 3-2.
On court five, Engsted pushed senior counterpart Hovhannisyan to a first-set tiebreaker before falling 7-6(10), and the Wave won 6-1 in the second set to tie the match at 3-3, leaving the court two result to decide the winner.
"We know the rest of the season is tough, and this would've been a good win," Wright said. "It doesn't feel good, but you've got to tip your cap to Pepperdine. They fought back in this match. I thought we started out pretty well and I thought we were playing pretty well. We'll figure out some things in practice this week and get ready for TCU and Baylor."
This marked the fourth time in the Bears' last six matches that they played to a 4-3 result.
Cal next heads to Texas for two nonconference matches in the Lone Star State. The Bears take on the Horned Frogs of TCU on March 24 in Fort Worth, before they play the Bears of Baylor on March 26 in Waco.
No. 12 Pepperdine 4, No. 16 Cal 3
March 16, 2013, in Berkeley, Calif.
Hellman Tennis Complex
1: No. 33 Johnson/Konigsfeldt (Cal) def.No. 47 Tearney/Alcantara (Pepperdine) - 8-3
2: No. 45 Engsted/B. McLachlan (Cal) def. Fanselow/Sarkissian (Pepperdine) - 8-4
3: Sofaer/Hovhannisyan (Pepperdine) def. Bayane/Melton (Cal) - 8-5
(Cal wins the doubles point)
Order of Finish: 2, 3, 1.
1: No. 57 Ben McLachlan (Cal) def. No. 11 Sebastian Fanselow (Pepperdine) - 6-2, 6-3
2: No. 83 Finn Tearney (Pepperdine) def. No. 63 Christoffer Konigsfeldt (Cal) - 3-6, 6-3, 6-3
3: No. 47 Campbell Johnson (Cal) def. No. 53 Francis Alcantara (Pepperdine) - 6-4, 4-6, 6-1
4: No. 107 Alex Sarkissian (Pepperdine) def. Gregory Bayane (Cal) - 6-4, 7-5
5: Mousheg Hovhannisyan (Pepperdine) def. Mads Engsted (Cal) - 7-6(10), 6-1
6: David Sofaer (Pepperdine) def. Nikhil Jayashankar (Cal) - 6-1, 6-3
Order of Finish: 6, 1, 4, 3, 5, 2.