Cal Begins Regular Season on Thursday
Jan. 29, 2002
THE CREAM ALWAYS RISES...: If a team with seven freshmen can finish in No. 7 in the country, as Cal's women's tennis team did last season, what can a team with six sophomores do? The Bears return to the court on Thursday, sporting a team that, while still young, has experience all the way down the roster and will be looking to move its way up into the upper echelon of collegiate tennis.
INSIDE THE RANKINGS: The team enters this season ranked No. 13 in the country by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association. In addition to the team ranking, four singles players and two doubles tandems also garnered national attention. The 2001 Pac-10 Freshman of the Year, Raquel Kops-Jones, enters the season ranked No. 28 overall, while junior Christina Fusano is No. 44 and sophomore Catherine Lynch is No. 49. The trio is expected to hold down the top half of the singles lineup this season. Sophomore Jieun Jacobs also claimed the No. 99 rank. Kops-Jones, who was also an All-American in doubles last season, and freshman Carla Arguelles took the 21st spot. Fusano and sophomore Nicole Havlicek checked in at No. 43.
AT THE PAC-10 INDOOR CHAMPIONSHIPS: Jacobs defeated top-seeded Luana Magnani (USC) 6-4, 5-7, 6-2 to claim the singles flight No. 2 final at the Pac-10 Indoor Championships. Also shining for the Golden Bears during the weekend tournament was newcomer Jody Scheldt, a recent transfer from the University of Iowa who advanced to the final match of the singles flight No. 4. Havlicek bounded from a 6-1, 5-7, 2-6 defeat in the first round to claim the championship in the consolation singles flight No. 3, by defeating Oregon's Courtney Nagle in straight sets, 6-4, 6-2. Three doubles teams competed for Cal, with the team of Arguelles and Fusano standing out the most by advancing to the semifinals of doubles flight No. 2.
IN THE FALL: The team got off to a quick start in the fall at the Bulldog Classic in Fresno. Kops-Jones and Fusano both advanced to the finals, where Kops-Jones ultimately took the win by a 6-3, 6-4 mark. Havlicek rebounded from an early loss to win the consolation draw, giving Cal a clean sweep. The next week, Kops-Jones made her way into the main draw at the ITA All-American Championships with impressive play in the qualifiers, including a 6-3, 6-3 defeat of USC's Maureen Diaz. Two weeks later, Jacobs was crowned champion of the singles draw at the St. Mary's College Invitational, where she defeated Pacific's Susane Bertel by a 3-6, 6-4, 7-5 margin. Kops-Jones continued to impress later in October by advancing to the semifinals at the Omni Hotels Northwest Regional Challenge in both singles and doubles (with Arguelles). Lynch showed off her improved play, forging a 12-3 fall record, including a quarterfinal appearance at the Omni tournament and advancing to the semifinals at the Thunderbirds Invitational.
ABOUT SANTA CLARA: The Broncos have opened this season 2-1, with victories over UC Davis (4-3) and Portland (5-2) sandwiching a 0-7 loss to Oregon. The team finished 6th in the WCC last season with a 12-11 record. In the No. 1 court for Santa Clara this season is Christine Limbers, who has gotten off to a 1-2 start. Limbers finished 2001 with a 10-13 singles record in dual matches.
LOOKING BACK TO 2001: Despite having a team that included seven freshmen and only two seniors, Cal opened the season ranked No. 5 in the country by the ITA. The team jumped out of the gate early, riding a nine game winning streak to a 13-2 record. Cal entered the NCAA championships by thrashing Loyola College and North Carolina by a combined mark of 11-1, sweeping the board against the Greyhounds and dropping only two doubles matches to the Tarheels. In the round of 16, the Bears were then upset by No. 11 Arizona State.