No. 9 California Takes Down No. 5 USC
Feb. 17, 2007
BERKELEY - After sweeping No. 15 UCLA the day before, the No. 9 California women's tennis team knocked off No. 5 USC, 5-2, Saturday afternoon at Hellman Tennis Center. Cal improved to 6-2 on the season, while the Trojans fell to 5-2.
After losing two of three matches in the ITA Indoor Championships two weeks ago, the Golden Bears responded with victories over two Pac-10 teams ranked in the top 15 in the nation.
'Spirit carries a team a long way, in terms of its cohesiveness, and this team has something special,' Cal head coach Jan Brogan said.
In a rematch of last year's NCAA singles final, No. 3 Susie Babos squared off against USC's Lindsey Nelson. Babos made short work of her opponent in the rematch, beating Nelson, 6-1, 6-2.
The match-clinching victory came on the third court, as No. 14 Nina Henkel beat Amanda Fink in straight sets, 7-6, 6-2. In the first set, Henkel trailed 4-1, but rebounded to take a 5-4 lead and hung on to take the set.
'Now we can compete against teams who have solid players on the third and fourth courts,' Brogan said. 'Nina is such a high-level player, and having a high-level player like that, in that position, is huge for us.'
Junior Cristina Visico notched the first singles win for Cal, beating Judy DeVera in straight sets, 6-3, 6-1. Visico won both of her matches this weekend after dealing with strep throat since the conclusion of the indoor tournament. Earlier this week, it was uncertain if she would be able to play this weekend.
'She (Visico) basically was a match-time decision, whether she was going to play or not,' Cal associate head coach Damon Coupe said. 'Coming out against UCLA on Friday, she had zero energy and basically toughed it out. She was exhausted after the match, and then came out today, just battled, played her heart out and won both matches. It's a testament to the toughness that she possesses and it exemplifies what this team is about - being tough.'
Junior Stephanie Kusano earned the fourth singles win for Cal. She defeated Diane Matias, 7-5, 6-3. Kusano was on the brink of losing the first set, trailing 5-2, but came all the way back to win the opening set.
'Stephanie's (Kusano) really elevated her game with the two wins this weekend,' Brogan said. 'The mental maturation I've seen in Stephanie has been huge.'
The day started off well for the Bears, as they took the doubles point. The second-ranked doubles team of Babos and senior Zsuzsanna Fodor beat Nelson and Judy Smekodub, 8-6. Babos and Fodor jumped out to a 5-0 lead before the USC tandem tied the match at five. Cal would hang on and get the doubles win on the No. 1 court.
Junior Marion Ravelojaona and sophomore Bojana Bobusic clinched the doubles point with their victory on the third court. Their match against No. 23 Matias and Sarah Fansler went back and forth until the Trojan duo took a 7-5 lead. The Bears came back to win three of the next four games to send the match into a tiebreaker, where Ravelojaona and Bobusic claimed the victory.
Cal heads back on the road to the desert next weekend. It will face Arizona on Friday, Feb. 23, at 1:30 p.m. and then will take on Arizona State the next day at 12:00 p.m.
Susie Babos, Cal d. Lindsey Nelson, USC 6-1, 6-2
Sarah Fansler, USC d. Zsuzsanna Fodor, Cal d. 5-7, 7-5, 1-0 (13-11)
Nina Henkel, Cal d. Amanda Fink, USC 7-6, 6-2
Stephanie Kusano, Cal d. Diane Matias, USC 7-5, 6-3
Anca Anastasiu, USC d. Marion Ravelojaona, Cal 6-7, 4-6
Cristina Visico, Cal d. Judy DeVera, USC 6-3, 6-1
Order of finish: 6, 1, 3, 4, 5, 2
Babos/Fodor, Cal d. Nelson/Julie Smekodub, USC 8-6
DeVera/Fink, USC d. Henkel/Daron Moore, Cal 8-3
Ravelojaona/Bojana Bobusic, Cal d. Fansler/Matias, USC 9-8 (7-4)
Order of finish: 2,1,3