No. 4 Cal (4-1) to Rematch With No. 5 Stanford Saturday
Feb. 18, 2003
WHAT'S ON TAP: The No. 4 California women's tennis team (4-1), fresh off a strong showing at the National Indoor Championships which included a 4-3 defeat of nemesis Stanford, returns to the Bay Area this weekend for a pair of weekend matches. First the Bears will meet Pepperdine at Hellman Tennis Complex, followed by a Stanford rematch at Taube Tennis Center.
ABOUT CALIFORNIA: The Bears enter the Pepperdine match with a record of 4-1 after finishing 2-1 at the National Team Indoor Championships 10 days ago. At the tournament, Cal defeated Stanford, 4-3, for just the sixth time in school history. The fourth-ranked doubles tandem of Raquel Kops-Jones and Christina Fusano, the 2002 Pac-10 champions, are continuing their tear through the world of intercollegiate tennis, having earned a 4-1 dual record thus far in 2003.
ABOUT PEPPERDINE: The Waves, ranked No. 34 in the nation, have opened 2003 with a strong 5-3 record. Pepperdine is led by a rookie on the top court. Newport Beach native Natalie Braveman has come up big for the Waves in the early going, notching a 4-1 record at the No. 1 spot (6-2 overall), and have been a big part of their 2003 success. The top spot in doubles is held down by sophomore Veronica Koksova and junior Charlotte Veranz. The pair has posted a 3-4 record there.
ABOUT STANFORD: No. 5 Stanford is near-perfect this season, the 4-1 record blemished only by Cal's upset of the Cardinal at the National Indoor Championships earlier this month. In fact, the loss snapped Stanford's 25-match winning streak. The defending national champion features a strong and deep lineup with five ranked singles competitors, led by No. 17 freshman Amber Liu. Liu has held down the top singles court exclusively for the Cardinal, notching a respectable 3-2 record. The eighth-ranked duo of Lauren Barnikow and Erin Burdette continue their hold on the top doubles court, and remain undefeated with five wins in this season's dual matches.
AT THE TEAM INDOOR CHAMPIONSHIPS: After throttling No. 14 William and Mary 7-0 in the first round, the 10th-ranked Bears were pitted against long-time nemesis Stanford, which was ranked No. 1 in the nation. Cal last defeated the Cardinal on February 27, 1999, and failed to score even a single point against Stanford in the 2002 season. Cal won the doubles point to take an early lead, and was further bolstered by a win at the top court from Kops-Jones. However, Stanford came roaring back, and tied the match 3-3 with just the sixth court to play. Junior Nicole Havlicek took care of business, defeating Story Tweedie-Yates there 7-5, 6-2 to clinch the upset for the Bears. In the semifinals, Cal was defeated by No. 4 Duke, 4-1.
INSIDE THE NUMBERS: In addition to the No. 4 team ranking, four singles players and one doubles tandem also garnered national attention. Kops-Jones enters the season ranked No. 12, while senior captain Fusano is No. 34, junior Catherine Lynch is No. 46 and junior Jieun Jacobs claims No. 54. Defending Pac-10 doubles champions, Kops-Jones and Fusano, check in at No. 4 in the nation.