No. 7 Women's Tennis Advances to the Round of 16
May 13, 2001
BERKELEY, CA - The No. 7-ranked California Golden Bears (16-6), struggled early, yet managed to pull off a tough 4-1 victory over the No. 20-ranked North Carolina Tar Heels (16-7), today at the Hellman Tennis Courts. The No. 9 seed of the NCAA tournament, the Bears defeated Loyola College (Maryland), 7-0, yesterday in the first round of regional action. North Carolina advanced to today's second round match by defeating Iowa, 4-1, in the first regional match played in Berkeley, CA.
The Bears got off to a sluggish start, losing the first doubles match at court No. 2, where Jieun Jacobs and Nicole Havlicek fell, 8-3, to UNC's Marlene Mejia and Julie Rotondi. Cal evened the score when the duo of Christina Fusano and Catherine Lynch downed UNC's tandem of Courtney Zalinski and Elina Bairos, 8-4, on the No. 3 court. All eyes were on the No. 1 court, where Anita Kurimay and Raquel Kops-Jones traded points the entire match with UNC's Kendrick Bunn and Kate Pinchbeck. Neither team led by more than a point the entire match, before UNC took an 8-7 lead. Kops-Jones struggled with her serve as numerous double-faults hampered the duo's chances to take an advantage. UNC's duo would take the final game, and the first team point of the afternoon, defeating Cal, 9-7.
Needing three singles victories to clinch the match, UNC gave the Bears a scare as singles competition got underway. The Tar Heels won the first set on three of six courts, forcing Cal to step up their level of play. Cal would find comfort in wins at courts No's. 5 and 6, as Sekita Grant would tally the first point for the Bears with a 6-4, 6-2 victory at No. 6, before Catherine Lynch tallied a 7-5, 6-2 victory at the No. 5 court.
With a 2-1 lead, the Bears began to turn the tables. The three singles players who lost their first set at courts No.'s 2 through 4 began to make comebacks. At No. 3, Raquel Kops-Jones fought back from a 5-7 loss in the first set, to take the next two, 6-1, 6-2. The Bears would win the final point and take the match from UNC when Jieun Jacobs came back from a 6-7(6) first set loss, to defeat defeat UNC's Kristin Koenig in the final two stanzas, 6-3, 6-1. Anita Kurimay and Christina Fusano were deep into their third sets, before they abandoned their matches when Cal sealed the victory at No. 4.
Cal will travel to Stone Mountain, Georgia, where Georgia State University will host the final rounds of the NCAA championships, May 17-20. Teams participating will play at the Lincoln Tennis Center. In addition to the team competition, three Bears will compete in individual singles competition: Anita Kurimay, Christina Fusano and Raquel Kops-Jones. Cal's doubles team of Kurimay and Kops-Jones will also compete in the doubles portion of the championships. They will have big shoes to fill, as the Bears have produced the last three NCAA doubles champions.
North Carolina, 1
No. 1 - Kendrick Bunn/Kate Pinchbeck (UNC) def. Anita Kurimay / Raquel Kops-Jones (Cal), 9-7
No. 2 - Marlene Mejia/Julie Rotondi (UNC) def. Jieun Jacobs / Nicole Havlicek (Cal), 8-3
No. 3 - Christina Fusano / Catherine Lynch (Cal) def. Courtney Zalinski/Elina Bairos (UNC), 8-4
No. 1 - Anita Kurimay (Cal) vs. Marlene Mejia (UNC), DNF
No. 2 - Christina Fusano (Cal) vs. Julie Rotondi (UNC), DNF
No. 3 - Raquel Kops-Jones (Cal) def. Kate Pinchbeck (UNC), 5-7, 6-1, 6-2
No. 4 - Jieun Jacobs (Cal) def. Kristin Koenig (UNC), 6-7(6), 6-3, 6-1
No. 5 - Catherine Lynch (Cal) def. Elina Bairos (UNC), 7-5, 6-2
No. 6 - Sekita Grant (Cal) def. Courtney Zalinski (UNC), 6-4, 6-2