No. 14 Cal Returns Home to take on Fresno State
March 12, 2002
HOME BREAK: The Bears are in the midst of a stretch in which they will play six of seven matches on the road, and are home for their one break in the series. Cal will take on Fresno State, then will have ten days off before facing off against national power Texas in Austin. Last weekend, the Bears split their Arizona road trip, defeating the University of Arizona 6-1 before being defeated in a close 4-3 match at Arizona State.
FIRST TEN IN THE BOOKS: Through the first ten matches of the season, the Bears have outscored opponents 49-16 en route to an 8-2 record. Unlike last season, where the team featured several different combinations on all courts, the lineup has been relatively stable, with 2001 Pac-10 Freshman of the Year Raquel Kops-Jones, the only player to see time on the top court, establishing herself with a 7-3 record. Jieun Jacobs has made the jump from the middle of the lineup to the second court this season. Christina Fusano and Catherine Lynch have dominated the third and fourth spots, combining for a 14-3 record on courts three and four.
A PAIR TO BE RECKONED WITH: Entering the season, Cal head coach Jan Brogan knew she had several good doubles players on her team, but with the influx of new players in the last two seasons (only Christina Fusano remains from the 2000 campaign), there were no established doubles tandems. Through the first ten matches of the season, Brogan has tried six different pairs on the second and third doubles courts, but the duo of Kops-Jones and sophomore transfer Jody Scheldt has had a rock-solid hold on the top court. The pair has opened the season with a near-spotless 8-1 record, despite only competing together once prior to the beginning of the regular season.
ABOUT FRESNO STATE: The Bulldogs have opened up their first ten matches with a 7-3 record, and are currently ranked No. 16 in the country by the ITA. Kim Niggemeyer leads the way for Fresno State on the top court. The senior from Berlin has posted a 6-4 dual record thus far, but has been upset twice by lower-seeded players recently. Cal is undefeated in the series with Fresno State, having won all 28 matches with the Bulldogs. The Bears defeated the Bulldogs last season, 6-1, in Fresno.
ARIZONA TOUR IN REVIEW: The team took on the University of Arizona on Friday afternoon, coming away with a decisive 6-1 win over the Wildcats on their home turf. The Bears held the Wildcats to only one win the entire afternoon. In Cal's five singles court wins, the Bears only lost a total of two sets, with Kops-Jones, Jacobs and Lynch breezing through the afternoon in straight set victories. On the doubles side, Cal took all three matches, setting the tone for the afternoon.
On Saturday, while Kops-Jones and Scheldt made short work of Arizona State's Adrua Engel and Dora Krstulovic on the top doubles court, the true drama was unfolding one court over. Fusano and Jacobs locked themselves in a battle with Mhairi Brown and Megan Yeates on the middle doubles court, with ASU taking the eventual tiebreaker and the pro-set by a 9-8 score. As it turned out, that tiebreaker was the Sun Devils' turning point of the match. Cal's depth on the middle singles courts, which rivals that of any Pac-10 team, performed admirably, with the Bears' taking courts three, four and five, with ASU only managing to take one set on those courts. Fusano, once again facing Brown, made short work of her in the sequel, winning 6-2, 6-3. Lynch needed an extra set to finish off Megan Yeats on the no. 4 court, and Scheldt blasted Cindy Sureephong on court five.