Fourth-Seed Bears Advance to Sweet 16 with 4-0 Victory over Texas A&M
May 10, 2003
College Station, Texas - The #4 California women's tennis team (21-5) advanced to its 20th NCAA Sweet 16 appearance of all-time, and third consecutive, with another 4-0 blanking in the Round of 32 - this time defeating Texas A&M (20-11) at the NCAA Regionals at Texas A&M in College Station, Texas.
'I felt pretty confident overall coming in,' Cal coach Jan Brogan said. 'This time last year I considered our group to be talented underachievers. I am so proud of what they've done and how far they've come.'
Cal opened the competition by taking the doubles point. The Golden Bears' fourth-ranked tandem of Christina Fusano and Raquel Kops-Jones never trailed at No. 1 doubles as the duo disposed of 35th-ranked Jessica Roland and Roberta Spencer. Cal won the first two games, but A&M fought back and knotted the score at 2-2. Cal then rallied to win the next three games. A&M twice got within two games but couldn't close the gap as the Bears went on to win, 8-4.
Cal's No. 2 doubles team of Jieun Jacobs and Jody Scheldt dropped its first two games to Ashley Hedberg and Lauren Walker before winning the next three games to take a 3-2 lead. The teams were tied twice before A&M regained the lead at 5-4. Cal then won the next two games to take a 6-5 advantage, but A&M came back to tie the score for the fifth time. Cal then finished off the match by winning the next two games for an 8-6 victory to give the Bears a 1-0 lead.
'I knew from sources that Bobby's teams have improved a lot lately,' Brogan said. 'He has a really good new assistant coach (Alison Ojeda), and I knew their team would be more gritty.'
'It wasn't that we weren't ready to play, but that Cal just kept coming and coming,' A&M coach Bobby Kleinecke said. 'They have a very deep, talented team, and they can really grind it out.'
Fusano, the 25th-ranked singles player in the nation, gave Cal a 2-0 lead, topping Hedberg, 6-4, 6-1at No. 2 singles. Hedberg, A&M's lone senior, opened by winning the first two games, but Fusano won the next three games to take a 3-2 lead. Although Hedberg tied the score at 3-3 and 4-4, she never regained the lead in the first set.
Fusano dropped the first game in the second set before cruising to a 6-1 win in the second set.
Scheldt never trailed in her match against Mechem at No. 5, dropping the freshman, 6-3, 6-0 to put the Bears up, 3-0.
Lynch also never trailed Spencer at No. 3, clinching the win for the Bears with a 6-1, 6-1 victory.
The match ended with No. 71 Roland holding a confidence-building 6-3, 5-4 lead over No. 6 Kops-Jones at No. 1 singles.
FINAL RESULT#4 California 4, # Texas A&M 0
SINGLESNo. 1 - #6 Raquel Kops-Jones (Cal) vs. #71 Jessica Roland (A&M), DNFNo. 2 - #25 Christina Fusano (Cal) d. Ashley Hedberg (A&M), 6-4, 6-1No. 3 - #93 Catherine Lynch (Cal) d. Roberta Spencer (A&M), 6-1, 6-1*No. 4 - #53 Jieun Jacobs (Cal) vs. Lauren Walker (A&M), DNFNo. 5 - Jody Scheldt (Cal) vs. Nicki Mechem (A&M), 6-3, 6-0No. 6 - Nicole Havlicek (Cal) vs. Seva Iwinski (A&M), DNFORDER OF FINISH: 2, 5, 3**Clinched the match
DOUBLES (California wins point)No. 1 - #4 Fusano/Kops-Jones (Cal) d. #35 Roland/Spencer (A&M), 8-4No. 2 - Jacobs/Scheldt (Cal) d. Hedberg/Walker (A&M), 8-6No. 3 - Havlicek/Lynch (Cal) vs. Lee/Mechem (A&M), DNF
Records - #4 California 21-5, Texas A&M 20-11