No. 24 California Heads to NCAA Championships
May 17, 2005
WHAT'S ON TAP: The No. 24 Golden Bears (14-8 overall, 2-5 Pac-10) head to Athens, Ga., for the 2005 Women's NCAA Tennis Championships Round of 16. Caifornial will battle host-school No. 8 Georgia (17-7) on Thursday, May 19 at 9 a.m. at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex. The winner will face the victor of top-seeded Stanford vs. Harvard in the quarterfinals on Friday, May 20 at 11 a.m.
2005 NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS: This year's NCAA Division I Women's Tennis Championships are being hosted by the University of Georgia in Athens, Ga. First- and second-round competition was conducted May 13-15 with the winner of each site advancing to the team championships at the Dan McGill Tennis Complex. The teams will play a single-elimination tournament at 16 first- and second-round sites (four teams at each site) and the finals site (16-team bracket) to determine the national champion.
NCAA REGIONAL ACTION: The Bears advanced to the Round of 16 with a pair of 4-3 victories at last weekend's NCAA Regionals. Cal, who traveled to Coral Gables, Fla., for Regional play, defeated Mississippi (13-10) on May 13. The Bears went on to upset ninth-seeded host Miami (21-5) on May 14, snapping a 27-match home-winning streak for the Hurricanes in the process.
WINNING WAYS: Cal is one of three teams in the nation, along with UCLA and Stanford, to have competed in all 24 NCAA Championships since the Tournaments' inception in 1982. The Bears have reached the quarterfinal round in 16 team championships and earned NCAA semifinals berths in 1985, '94, '99, 2000 and '03. Cal competitors have also earned individual recognition as some of the best the nation has to offer, with the Bears capturing four doubles national titles since 1998.
SCOUTING THE BULLDOGS: The eighth-ranked Georgia women's tennis team (17-7) advanced to the NCAA Round of 16 with a pair of 4-0 wins last weekend over Quinnipiac and No. 22 South Carolina. The Bulldogs' lineup features the nation's top-ranked doubles team in sophomores Shadisha Robinson and Caroline Basu. They are 26-3 this season and own an 11-match winning streak. In singles, Robinson is the highest ranked Bulldog at 10th nationally while sophomore Natalie Frazier is next at No. 27. In the series history, Cal is 4-6 against Georgia, including 3-1 in NCAA Championship meetings. The Bears last faced the Bulldogs in 2004 at the USTA/ITA National Team Indoors in Madison, Wis. Georgia posted a 4-1 win over then third-ranked Cal. The NCAA meetings came in 1989 (Georgia 5-4 quarterfinal win in Gainesville, Fla.), 1994 (Georgia 5-3 semifinal win in Athens), 1999 (Cal 5-4 quarterfinal win in Gainesville, Fla.) and 2002 (Georgia 4-1 round of 16 win in Palo Alto, Calif.).
LEADING BY EXAMPLE: Cal's co-captains, junior Jessica Shu and freshman No. 8 Suzi Babos, are proving to be more than capable team leaders. No. 8 Babos leads the Bears with 31 wins, 18 of which have come over nationally-ranked opponents. In addition to compiling a 16-6 dual record as Cal's top singles player, Babos captured the singles titles from both the Cal Nike Invitational and ITA West Regional Championships. Shu is second on the team with 27wins, including six consecutive victories to open the dual-match season, where she is currently 17-6.
VISICO ON A TEAR: Freshman Cristina Visico has been making some noise for the Bears on court six, where the Long Beach native has closed out the spring season winning 12-consecutive matches. Visico, who has compiled a 25-10 overall mark this year, has moved up in the ITA rankings this week to No. 73.
BROGAN CAPTURES NO. 500: Head coach Jan Brogan tallied career victories No. 500 and 501 at last weekend's NCAA Regionals. Brogan, the winningest active female Division I tennis coach with a career record of 501-204, also has the fourth most wins of any coach in California history.
All-Time Winningest Cal CoachesCoach Years Record1. Diane Ninemire (Softball) (1988-present) 799-3792. Bob Milano (Baseball) (1978-1999) 688-644-43. Clint Evans (Baseball) (1930-1954) 547-1964. Jan Brogan (Tennis) (1978-present) 501-204
PAC-10 CHAMPIONSHIPS SUMMARY: After posting a 2-5 record in Pac-10 play, Cal traveled to Ojai, Calif., for the Pac-10 Individual Championships. Two freshman, Cristina Visico and Stephanie Kusano won their opening Round of 32 matches in the singles main draw, but neither were able to advance to the quarterfinals. Co-captain Shu won her first two matches in the singles invite draw before falling in the quarterfinals.
NCAA INDIVIDUAL TITLES: Freshman Babos was selected to compete in the 2005 NCAA Singles Championships, as announced by the NCAA Division I Women's Tennis Subcommittee May 5. Babos, ranked No. 8 in singles in the nation, will enter the tournament as the eighth seed. Fellow freshman Visico was selected as the seventh alternate for the west region.
PAC-10 AWARD WINNERS: Suzi Babos was named Pac-10 Women's Freshman of the Year, as voted on by Conference coaches. Babos, also honored as a first team All-Pac-10 pick, is joined by fellow freshman Stephanie Kusano, who received honorable mention All-Pac-10 honors. Babos is the second Golden Bear to receive the honor, following 2001's award winner Raquel Kops-Jones. Kusano, playing primarily from the No. 2 position, is 18-13 overall and 14-9 in dual matches. The Houston, Texas native is currently ranked No. 78 in the nation in singles.
ITA REGIONAL HONOREE: Suzi Babos was named the 2005 Intercollegiate Tennis Association Rookie Player of the Year for the Northwest Region. In addition, she was selected as the ITA Player to Watch from the Northwest, given to the competitor who has had an outstanding season and is expected to perform at a high level the rest of her career, as well as demonstrating strong sportsmanship and character. National winners for ITA awards will be announced May 22 in Athens, Ga.
Ranked Bears: Final individual rankings will be released June 3, 2005. The latest ITA individual rankings (as of May 2, 2005):Singles DoublesSuzi Babos - No. 8 (national) No. 1 (regional)Stephanie Kusano - No. 78 (national)Monica Wiesener - No. 15 (regional)Cristina Visico - No. 73 (national) No. 17 (regional)DoublesSuzi Babos and Stephanie Kusano - No. 37 (national)
BROGAN'S LEGACY: In her 25 years at Cal, Jan Brogan has molded the Golden Bear program into one of the best in the country, guiding the Bears to 23 NCAA appearances and 18 Top-10 finishes since 1982. She currently boasts a 501-204 (.710) dual match record, making her the fourth winningest coach in University of California history and top active female Division I tennis coach. Her continued dedication to excellence earned her the Wilson/ITA National Coach of the Year award in 1990, in addition to ITA Northwest Region Coach of the Year honors in 1988, 1991 and 1993.
ASSOCIATE HEAD COACH Amy Jensen: A former Cal singles and doubles All-American who is the only player in NCAA history to capture three consecutive NCAA doubles titles, Amy Jensen enters her fifth-year coaching at Cal and first as an associate head coach. The Australian native has a three-year letter-winner for the Bears (1996-2000), posting a career record of 105-52 in singles and 94-29 in doubles. Last year, Jensen was honored as the 2004 ITA Northwest Regional Assistant Coach of the Year.