Ninth-Ranked Bears Travel to Pac-10 Championships

April 25, 2006

The ninth-ranked California women's tennis team (6-2 Pac-10, 16-7) travels to Ojai, Calif., for to the Pac-10 Championships, which take place Thursday April 27, through Saturday April 29. Cal finished the regular season third in the conference standings, behind Pac-10 champion Stanford (8-0, 23-0) and No. 2 USC (7-1, 17-3).

The Pac-10's nine women's teams, including Stanford, USC, Cal, UCLA (5-3, 13-6), Arizona State (4-4, 13-8), Arizona (3-5, 12-11), Oregon (2-6, 13-10), Washington State (1-7, 14-12) and Washington (0-8, 3-17), will compete this weekend for the league's singles and doubles championships. The 32-player singles draw will consist of three players from each of the nine schools, with five additional competitors selected by a committee of coaches, based upon the participants' record. The 16-team doubles draw will have one doubles team from each school and seven additional teams selected by the committee, based upon the participants' record.

Pac-10 competition will be held in conjunction with the 106th Annual Ojai Valley Tennis Tournament. The Pac-10 women will play at the Ojai Valley Athletic Club Thursday, April 27, and Friday, April 28. All semifinal and final matches on Sat., April 29, and Sun., April 30, are at Libbey Park. Matches begin at 8 a.m., with two rounds of singles on opening day. One round of singles and two rounds of doubles will be played on Friday. Semifinals and finals will be held at a time yet to be determined.

Last year at the Pac-10 Championships two Cal singles players advanced in the competition before falling in the second round, as Stephanie Kusano was defeated by Dianne Hollands of Arizona, 6-2, 6-7, 7-5, and Cristina Visico fell to USC's Lindsey Nelson, 6-3, 6-1. On the doubles court, Kusano and Suzi Babos were outlasted by Nicole Leimbach and Dianne Matias of USC, 8-3, in the first round. In the doubles invite draw, Marion Ravelojaona and Cristina Visico fell in the semifinals to Oregon's Davina Mendiburu and Ester Bak, 8-4. In the singles back draw, Brooke Borisoff tallied a straight-set win over Erin Everly of USC, 6-2, 6-1, while Monica Wiesener was just as successful against the Trojans' Taylynn Snyder, winning 6-2, 6-1.

Currently seven out of the nine teams in the Pac-10 conference are ranked among the top teams in the nation. Stanford remains at No. 1, while USC currently boasts a No. 2 ranking. Cal is next at No. 9, while UCLA is 18th. Arizona State comes in at No. 24, while Arizona is 36th and Washington State is 69th.

Cal wrapped up regular season action last weekend against Stanford, and prepares for postseason play. NCAA Regionals take place May 12-13, while NCAA Team and Individual Championships take place May 18-27 at Stanford.

Cal is currently ranked ninth in the Fila Collegiate Tennis Rankings. The rankings were administered April 25 by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association. Cal has been ranked among the top 15 teams in the country for the past 11 weeks.

In its final home match of the regular season, the Bears swept Santa Clara, 7-0, last Wednesday at Hellman Tennis Center. With the win, the Bears remain undefeated all-time against Santa Clara at 23-0. Cal clinched the doubles point with victories on courts one and two. Thirteenth-ranked Suzi Babos and Suzi Fodor downed Erika Barnes and Stephanie Galainena, 8-1, playing No. 1 doubles. Bojana Bobusic and Stephanie Kusano ensured the doubles point for the Bears, outlasting Kelly Leathers and Myra Davoudi, 8-3, on court No. 2. The Bears then went on to sweep all six singles sets against the Broncos.

Cal fell to No. 1 Stanford, 7-0, last Saturday afternoon at the Taube Tennis Center at Stanford, as the Cardinal secured its 19th Pac-10 championship with a perfect 24-0 overall record and 8-0 conference mark.

Cal currently boasts five singles players in the national rankings. Suzi Fodor remains at No. 8, while Suzi Babos dropped one spot from No. 26 to No. 27. Cristina Visico moved from No. 85 to No. 90, while Stephanie Kusano is now ranked 99th and Marion Ravelojaona improved from 118th to 113th.

The Bears' Babos and Fodor moved up in the doubles rankings after these last two weeks of play, from 13th to 11th. The duo currently boasts an 8-3 doubles record when playing in the No. 1 position. Singles and doubles rankings are released every two weeks, while team rankings are announced weekly.

Cal is 10-6 against ranked opponents so far this season. The Bears' biggest upset came on Feb. 2 at the ITA National Team Indoors, when the then 18th-ranked Bears defeated then fifth-ranked Northwestern, 5-2.

Fodor, a junior from Budapest, Hungary, has predominately played in the No. 1 singles spot for the Bears this season and has tallied a 14-6 record in that position. Babos, a native of Sopron, Hungary, has amassed an 11-9 singles record in the No. 2 position and is currently 9-2 in conference action.

Freshmen Bojana Bobusic and Claire Ilcinkas have stepped up big in their first season as Bears. Ilcinkas, a native of Paris, France, has played in singles positions 3-6, and has tallied a 12-10 overall singles record, while she is 5-4 in Pac-10 play. Bobusic, who joins the Cal squad from Perth, Australia, has amassed a 10-5 dual match singles record and is 5-4 in dual match play on the doubles court with partner Kusano.

After a break in its schedule Cal gears up for the NCAA Regionals, May 12-13. The location will be determined May, when seeding is announced on ESPN News at 5:45 (PST).

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