No. 14 Cal Tours the State of Arizona
March 5, 2002
ROAD TRIP: The Bears have enjoyed the comforts of home for the most part early in the season, playing six of their first eight matches at Hellman Tennis Complex. Over the course of the next month, however, Cal will put its 7-1 record and No. 14 national ranking to the test and visit six other schools, while playing only one home match (March 16 vs. Fresno State). The Bears will have plenty of momentum heading into the road trip, following dominating wins over San Diego State (6-1) and Pac-10 rival Oregon (7-0).
EMERGING SOPHOMORE: Cal sophomore Nicole Havlicek has emerged as one of the Bears' most reliable players this season. A regular in the doubles lineup last year, Havlicek has established herself as a force to be reckoned with on the singles courts in 2002. She has posted a 4-1 dual meet record in singles, splitting time between the No. 5 and 6 courts. The four wins also contribute to an impressive 18-7 overall singles record, and she has already played in four more matches this season (25) than all of last year (21).
ABOUT ARIZONA: The Wildcats enter the week boasting a No. 45 national ranking along with their 5-3 record, following a successful road trip to Texas. In the Lone Star State, Arizona upset No. 18 Texas A&M, 5-2, before dropping a close decision to No. 10 Texas, 4-3. The ITA's 27th-ranked player, Maja Mlakar, who won both of her matches in straight sets, keyed the win against the Aggies. The last time that Cal took on the Wildcats, the Bears emerged victorious, winning 6-1 last season. Cal holds a decisive 34-10 all-time margin against Arizona.
ABOUT ARIZONA STATE: No. 8 Arizona State has only lost one match during the young 2002 season, en route to a 5-1 record. No. 30 Adria Engel has been the sparkplug on the Sun Devil's squad this year, posting a 4-2 dual record while holding down the top court for ASU. The last time that the Bears and the Sun Devils faced off, ASU took the day with a close 4-2 win. Cal, however, holds a 25-10 lifetime advantage over the Sun Devils.
LAST WEEKEND'S ACTION IN REVIEW: Against San Diego State, Cal's duo of Christina Fusano and Jieun Jacobs, recently promoted to the second doubles court, keyed the opening round victories with an 8-5 win, which gave the Bears the momentum heading into the latter part of the afternoon. Down 1-4 in the first set of singles, Jacobs rallied to split the remaining games, and then breezed through the last two sets, 6-2, 6-3. Fusano was equally impressive on court No. 3, winning in straight sets, 6-4, 6-2. After Cal had sealed the victory with Jacobs' win, and with the Bears leading 5-1, sophomore Raquel Kops-Jones found herself in a battle with Aztec Sylvia Tornier. After splitting the first two sets, Kops-Jones and Tornier traded rallies and games in the third set to find themselves in a tiebreaker. Kops-Jones eventually came away with Cal's sixth point of the day, winning the set 7-6 (8-6).
The next day, Cal took on Pac-10 rival Oregon. In doubles, the Bears topped Oregon on all three courts, despite tenacious play by the Ducks. On court one, Kops-Jones and Jody Scheldt took on Davina Mendirara and Courtney Nagle, and sent them packing 8-5. Fusano and Jacobs ran into a bit of trouble against UO's Ester Bak and No. 1 singles player Janice Nyland, but ultimately emerged victorious, 9-7. Scheldt put the momentum from her doubles victory to work on the singles court, blowing by Bak at the sixth spot, 6-0, 6-0, in a quick match that lasted less than an hour. Catherine Lynch had similar success on the fourth court, blasting Vickie Gunnarsson, 6-0, 6-1. All and all, the Bears took 12 out of 13 sets played in singles, and Oregon never got close.