No. 7 Women's Tennis Faces No. 11 ASU in the Sweet 16
May 14, 2001
NCAA FIRST ROUND IN REVIEW: The No. 7-ranked Cal women's tennis team (16-6, 4-4 Pac-10) blitzed through the first round of competition at their own Hellman Tennis Courts, defeating the Loyola College Greyhounds, 7-0, in their first round matchup in the NCAA Regionals. The No. 9 seed of the NCAA tournament, Cal got the day off to a quick start, grabbing identical shutouts on all three doubles courts. Loyola failed to grab a point, as Cal swept the doubles competition and took the first team point of the afternoon. Cal would not relent in singles, as the Bears cruised to the victory after grabbing wins on courts No.'s 4 through 6. Opting to finish each singles match on the remaining three courts, California would increase its lead to 7-0 after winning the top three spots. Catherine Lynch, Anita Kurimay and Christina Fusano would all finish the day with straight-set shutout (6-0, 6-0) victories. Sekita Grant lost only one game in her 6-0, 6-1 victory at the No. 6 court.
NCAA SECOND ROUND IN REVIEW: In their second round matchup, the Bears struggled early, yet managed to pull off a tough 4-1 victory over the No. 20-ranked North Carolina Tar Heels, May 13. North Carolina advanced to the second round 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 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.
A LOOK AT THE TOURNAMENT: 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 (11-7 overall) will also compete in the doubles portion of the championships, which begins May 21. They will have big shoes to fill, as the Bears have produced the last three NCAA doubles champions.
A LOOK AT ARIZONA STATE: The Arizona State Sun Devils (19-5) advanced to the Round of 16 by defeating Umass, 7-0, in the first round, before knocking out South Carolina, 4-2, in the second round of competition, played at their home Whitman Tennis Center. The wins mark the team's fifth consecutive appearance in the Sweet 16. Though Cal defeated ASU, Mar. 9, 4-3, the Sun Devils won the final meeting, 4-3, in Tempe, Apr. 14. ASU is currently ranked No. 11, while seeded No. 8 in the NCAA tournament. Sophomore Adria Engel was recently name ITA Player of the Month for April after garnering an 11-1 record during that month. Currently ranked No. 6 in the country, Engel recently won the Pac-10 singles championship in Ojai, CA. The title marked the first time ever that an ASU player won the crown.
BEAR FACTS: The Golden Bears solidified an undefeated record (8-0) in March. From March 2 to April 7, the Bears won nine consecutive matches, including eight played at their own Hellman Tennis Courts. Cal defeated No. 9 Pepperdine, No. 8 Arizona State, No. 23 Arizona, No. 67 Purdue, No. 5 Texas, No. 11 South Alabama, No. 12 Northwestern, No. 14 Fresno State and No. 29 UCLA. During the month of March, Cal played only one road match, in which they defeated Fresno State, 6-1. The Bears then continued their home-court mastery, April 7, when they defeated UCLA, 5-2.