No. 5 Cal Set To Play Two in Hawaii in the Aloha Invitational
March 20, 2007
The fifth-ranked California women's tennis team (13-3) heads back on the road after enjoying its longest homestand of the season. The Golden Bears, currently on a five-match winning streak, head to Hawaii for two matches this weekend in the Aloha Invitational. Cal will face No. 9 Northwestern on Saturday, March 24, and Hawaii on Monday, March 26. Cal will return to Berkeley the followig weekend for the next four matches, as it continues Pac-10 play against the Arizona schools.
SCOUTING THE OPPONENTS:
Northwestern has yet to play a match in the month of March. The Wildcats had two matches scheduled for the first weekend of March cancelled, and then had the next two weeks off. They will have a chance to get back in a groove before facing Cal, as they square off against Hawaii this Friday. Northwestern (8-3) began the dual season winning its first five out of six matches, including two in the ITA Indoor Championships. Following the strong start, the Wildcats won their next three out of five, two of which were 7-0 sweeps. They will also head to Hawaii on a two-match winning streak, recording victories over Michigan and Penn State in their last matches. In addition, the Wildcat's Georgia Rose is ranked in the top-25 in singles (15th) and doubles with Alexis Prousis (10th) Hawaii has struggled this season, posting a record of 4-10. The Rainbow Warriors have lost five of their last seven matches, getting shut out in three of the five losses. In their last match last Sunday, Hawaii picked up a victory, against San Jose State by the score of 4-3.
LAST YEAR AGAINST NORTHWESTERN:
In last year's ITA Indoor Championships, then-No. 18 Cal knocked off then-No. 4 Northwestern, 5-2. The Bears jumped out to a quick 1-0 lead over the Wildcats after winning the doubles point. Susie Babos teamed up with Stephanie Kusano, playing on the No. 1 court, and defeated Cristelle Grier and Georgia Rose, 8-2. Zsuzsanna Fodor and Claire Ilcinkas outlasted Alexis Prousis and Feriel Esseghir, 8-3, playing on the No. 2 court. In singles, the Bears grabbed four victories. On the top court, Fodor beat Prousis, 6-3, 6-4. Marion Ravelojaona outlasted Jamie Peisel, 6-4, 6-1, on the fourth court. Bojana Bobusic defeated Feriel Esseghir, 6-1, 6-2, while Ilcinkas also recorded a victory over Nazlie Ghazal, 6-0, 6-2.
BEARS KNOCK OFF HORNED FROGS:
Cal completed a perfect five-match homestand with a 6-1 victory over TCU last Saturday at the Hellman Tennis Center. The Bears' three top-25 ranked singles players all won their matches in straight sets against the Horned Frogs. On the No. 1 court, No. 4 junior Susie Babos was in a tough match against Anna Sydorska, but the reigning NCAA singles champion won, 7-5, 7-6. On the second court, senior Zsuzsanna Fodor won decisively against Nina Munch-Soegaard, 6-2, 6-1. No. 17 Nina Henkel notched a 6-1, 6-1 victory over Ana Cetnik. The Bears took the doubles point with help from Henkel and Marion Ravelojaona, who beat Much-Soegaard and Kewa Nichols on the second court, 8-6.
HOME SWEET HOME:
The Bears improved to a perfect 8-0 at home this season when they beat TCU last Saturday. In the five victories during the homestand, four of them by the score of 6-1. The other match was a 7-0 sweep over Oregon in the Pac-10 opener. Pepperdine was the first victim to fall to Cal in the homestand on March 4. After the victory over the Ducks, Cal went on to beat Loyola Marymount and Texas. The match against the Longhorns featured the two comeback wins by Susie Babos and Zsuzsanna Fodor. The same day that Fodor came back to win that match, she was named the Pac-10 Women's Tennis Player of the Week for the previous week. Following the trip to Hawaii, Cal starts a four-match, Pac-10 homestand against the Arizona schools and the Washington schools. Once they return to Berkeley, the Bears won't have to leave the state of California for the rest of the spring season, with the only remaining road games left taking place in Los Angeles.
HENKEL TURNS IN SOME HEROICS:
One of Cal's most successful players as of late has been freshman Nina Henkel. Henkel, currently ranked No. 17 in the ITA singles rankings, has won nine of her last 10 matches. She picked up a decisive, 6-2, 6-2, victory last Monday against Sarah Lancaster from Texas, which was followed by a 6-1, 6-1 win over TCU's Ana Cetnik. Henkel won in doubles with Marion Ravelojaona against the Horned Frogs and the Longhorns as well. Henkel picked up a singles win against Oregon and a doubles victory against LMU earlier this month. Against Stanford on March 3, she turned in a big victory against the Cardinal, as Henkel took down No. 8 Celia Durkin, 3-6, 6-1, 6-2. The next day against Pepperdine, she earned her second singles win of the weekend when she defeated Katie Sebate, 6-1, 2-6, 6-2. Henkel clinched the match victory for the Bears on the No. 3 court. After dominating the first set, Henkel struggled in the second, but rebounded in the third set to take the match. In doubles against the Waves, Henkel and junior Stephanie Kusano beat Sebate and Bianca Dulgheru, 8-6.
FODOR PAC-10 SINGLES CHAMPION:
The impressive string of championships won by Cal in 2006 includes the Pac-10 Singles title by Zsuzsanna Fodor, as she defeated then-No. 10 ranked Amanda Fink of USC to claim the title. Fodor, a 2006 All-American along with Susie Babos, was also named the Pac-10 Player of the Year last season. She entered postseason play ranked No. 3 by the Fila Collegiate Tennis Rankings.
BABOS NCAA SINGLES CHAMPION:
Last May, Susie Babos became the first Golden Bear from the women's team to win the NCAA Singles title, becoming just the fourth international player to ever win the national singles title and the second Bear to advance to the NCAA final since Lisa Albano in 1991. In addition, Babos also was the sixth unseeded player to advance to the NCAA final, sixth sophomore to win the national championship and the 15th Pac-10 NCAA singles champion. She defeated USC's Lindsey Nelson, 6-4, 6-1, in the final. Along the way of winning the national crown, Babos upset the 2005 NCAA champ and No. 4 seed Zuzana Zemenova of Baylor, 6-3, 6-4, in the quarterfinals.