No. 7 Cal Hosts Hornets Before Sartuday Clash at No. 13 Cardinal
March 4, 2009
THIS WEEK: The No. 7-ranked California women's tennis team (7-1, 2-0 Pac-10) will split matches at home and on the road this weekend as the Golden Bears host No. 42 Sacramento State (7-3, 2-0 Big Sky) at the Hellman Tennis Complex on Friday (March 6) at 1:30 p.m. before they head down to The Farm to face rival No. 13 Stanford (8-2, 2-0 Pac-10) at the Taube Family Tennis Stadium on Saturday (March 7) at noon in the first of two meetings this season (only the second meeting counts towards Pac-10 standings). No. 5 Baylor (5-3) comes to town just a couple of days later in a Bears vs. Bears matchup at Hellman Tennis Complex at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, March 10. Live video for the home matches will be available via CalBears.com and live scoring and video for the match at Stanford will be available at GoStanford.com.
LAST WEEK: The Bears opened up Pac-10 play with two resounding victories over Washington and Washington State. Without sophomore star Marina Cossou available, Cal shuffled its doubles lineups against the No. 38-ranked Huskies and still emerged with three victories. Playing at No. 1 doubles for the first time, sophomore Mari Andersson and freshman Jana Juricova clinched the point for the Bears as they defeated No. 28-ranked Venise Chan and Denise Dy. In a little bit of a déjà vu moment, Chan and Dy got their revenge in singles matches as No. 53-ranked Chan took out No. 16 Juricova on the top court and No. 61 Dy claimed two sets from No. 32 senior Claire Ilcinkas on court two. Chan and Dy did the same thing to the Bears when the two teams last met at the end of January in the ITA Kick-Off weekend. Cal had enough firepower down the line however and took the other four singles matches to walk away with another 5-2 victory over Washington. The Bears wasted little time settling in against the No. 58-ranked Cougars as freshman Stephany Chang and senior Marion Ravelojaona clinched the doubles point with an 8-3 win at No. 3 doubles over Marina Nicolas and Bianca Selaru. Cal continued to roll in singles play as they claimed two-set wins on all but one court to come away with a 7-0 win over Washington State.
BEARS IN THE RANKS: The Golden Bears are ranked No. 7 as a team in the most recent (March 3) Campbell's/ITA (Intercollegiate Tennis Association) College Tennis Poll. Cal has five ranked singles players with 20th-ranked sophomore Marina Cossou at the top of that list. Senior Bojana Bobusic is No. 23 with freshman Jana Juricova close behind at No. 26. Senior Claire Ilcinkas holds the No. 42 ranking to give the Bears four in the top 50. Sophomore Mari Andersson is ranked No. 74 to complete the list and give the Bears five among the top 75 singles players in the nation. Cal's arsenal also includes two of the top 15 doubles teams in the nation as Cossou and Ilcinkas combine for the No. 7-ranking; and Andersson and Juricova become the No. 13-ranked doubles team.
ANDERSSON NAMED PAC-10 PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Sophomore Mari Andersson was named Pac-10 Women's Tennis Player of the Week for the week of Feb. 9-15. Andersson helped the Bears to a 2-1 record and their first appearance in the ITA National Team Indoor Championship semifinal since 2004 as she won all three of her singles matches and two of her three doubles matches with freshman Jana Juricova. In singles play, Andersson didn't drop a set as she defeated three different ranked opponents. She opened up with a 6-2, 7-5 win over No. 111 Keri Wong of Clemson and followed that up with a 6-1, 6-4 victory against No. 27 Christy Striplin of Georgia Tech. She then finished off No. 100 Yvette Hyndman of Georgia, 7-6(2), 6-0. In doubles, Andersson and Juricova went 2-1 on the second court as they defeated Clemson's duo of Bek and Hadzismilimovic, 8-4 in the opening round and got an 8-5 win over Hickey and Striplin of Georgia Tech in the quarterfinal. Andersson was named to the ITA National Team Indoor All-Tournament Team and also received Cal's Muscle Milk Student-Athlete of the Week award that same week.
ON COURT - NO. 42 SACRAMENTO STATE: The Hornets (7-3, 2-0 Big Sky) opened up the season with seven consecutive wins--including two in Big Sky play--but have since fallen on hard times with three straight losses from a recent road trip to Southern California. Sacramento State is coming off a 5-2 defeat at the hands of San Diego State and looks to get back on the winning track. The Hornets are led by junior Katrina Zheltova who is ranked No. 69 in singles and is 5-1 in dual singles matches on the top court. Freshmen Clarisse Baca, Maria Meliuk and senior Luba Schifris each have seven wins in dual match singles play this season. Baca and senior Joyce Martinez Gutierrez are 10-0 together in dual doubles matches (9-0 at No. 3 doubles) while Zheltova and sophomore Melissa Valenzuela are 5-1 together at No. 1 doubles. The Bears are 7-0 all-time against Sacramento State, last defeating the Hornets on April 18, 2008 by a 6-1 margin.
ON COURT - NO. 13 STANFORD: The Cardinal (8-2, 2-0 Pac-10) has regained its form after stumbling with two losses at the ITA National Team Indoor Championships. Mirroring Cal's fast conference start, Stanford swept both of the Washington schools last week at home. A 6-1 victory over the Huskies extended Stanford's winning streak at the Taube Family Tennis Stadium to 141 in a row (113 in the regular season). Although the Cardinal's last loss in a home match occurred 10 years ago, in the form of a 5-4 setback to No. 4 Cal in 1999. All-American sophomore Hilary Barte is Stanford's top singles threat, checking in at No. 16 in the rankings with a team-best record of 18-4. Junior Lindsay Burdette ranks No. 121 and has compiled a 13-4 record with a 9-1 mark in duals. Barte and Burdette have also enjoyed success in doubles, teaming at the No. 1 spot and posting a 12-5 overall record. The duo is ranked No. 23. The Cardinal own a 59-8 lead in the all-time series and split matches with the Bears last year as Cal claimed a 6-1 win in Berkeley on Feb. 20 before Stanford took a 5-2 victory at home on April 19.
ON COURT - NO. 5 BAYLOR: The Bears (5-3) opened the year with three wins to advance to the quarterfinal at the ITA National Team Indoor Championships but fell in two consecutive matches in Wisconsin to follow. Baylor returned home to nab a 4-2 victory over Miami before splitting matches in Athens, Ga. as the Bears lost to Georgia, 4-3, before beating Georgia Tech, 5-2--both common opponents with Cal. No. 32-ranked sophomore Taylor Ormond leads Baylor with 17 singles victories but has produced just a 2-5 record in dual singles matches at the top court. Fellow second-year player, No. 34 Jelena Stanivuk is 16-5 and holds a 7-1 record in dual singles. Juniors No. 46 Lenka Broosova and No. 73 Csilla Borsanyi have each surpassed the 10-win mark this year with Broosova carrying a 6-2 dual singles record. The Bears from Waco, Texas have two ranked doubles teams with Borsanyi and Broosova holding the No. 24 position with an 11-8 record (4-4 in duals) and Ormond and Stanivuk clocking in a No. 55 with a 10-7 record (6-2 in duals). Cal and Baylor split wins in their first two meetings with the Bears from Berkeley taking the most recent victory last season to advance to the NCAA championship match with a 4-3 win on May 19.
POWER OF THE PAC: Seven Pac-10 teams hold rankings in the latest Campbell's/ITA College Tennis Poll of NCAA Division I Women's Tennis teams--making the Pac-10 one of the toughest leagues in collegiate women's tennis. Cal leads the way with the No. 7 ranking; followed by No. 10 USC and No. 11 UCLA. Stanford checks in at No. 13 with Arizona State at No. 16 followed by No. 23 Washington to give the Pac-10 six teams in the top 25 alone. Oregon holds down the No. 46 spot while only Washington State and Arizona remain unranked. Last year, Cal and UCLA battled it out in the NCAA team championship match to give the conference full control of the national title. Three Pac-10 teams made the NCAA quarterfinals and four made it as far as the round of 16. The conference also produced two NCAA singles championship quarterfinalists and the doubles national champion among its 10 ITA All-Americans. Four of those All-American were Bears including currently active senior Claire Ilcinkas and sophomore Marina Cossou as well as Susie Babos and Stephanie Kusano.
INDOOR HONORS: Senior Claire Ilcinkas and sophomore Mari Andersson were each named to the 2009 ITA National Team Indoor Championship All-Tournament Team. Andersson held the third-court position while Ilcinkas took fourth-court honors. The two each went 3-0 in singles matches at the annual team tournament and picked up two wins each with their doubles partners as the Bears advanced to the semifinal match for the first time since 2004. The pair was joined by four other singles players and three doubles teams on the all-tournament team. Representing the top court was Chelsey Gullickson of Georgia, who was also named the tournament's most outstanding player. Court two honors belonged to Duke's Ellah Nze. On court five, Georgia had Naoko Ueshima while Shannon Matthews of Notre Dame rounded out the singles players on court six. All three doubles teams came from Northwestern: Georgia Rose and Lauren Lui on the top court, Maria Mosolova and Keri Robison on court two and Samantha Murray and Elena Chernyakova on court three. Ilcinkas and Andersson became the first two Bears to receive all-tournament honors at the Indoor Championships.
CAL AT THE ITA INDOOR CHAMPIONSHIPS: The Bears made their fourth consecutive appearance at the indoor championship and advanced to the semifinal for the first time since 2004. Cal has now won its opening match in seven of its last nine visits to Madison, Wis. for the annual tournament. The Bears rank sixth among all teams for most wins at the championship with 24 and are only one of 11 teams that can claim they have made it to the final of the championship, earning runner-up status in 2000. In the second year of its existence, senior Claire Ilcinkas and sophomore Mari Andersson earned honors on the Indoor Championship All-Tournament Team; Ilcinkas on the fourth singles court and Andersson on the third.
FALL 2008 REVIEW: The Bears were highly successful in fall individual tournaments in 2008. Senior Bojana Bobusic advanced to the Wilson/ITA Northwest Regional Singles Championship match and earned an automatic berth to the ITA National Indoor Championships along with All-Americans sophomore Marina Cossou and senior Claire Ilcinkas. Freshman Jana Juricova put her name on the map as she posted a team-best 17-2 overall singles record. She won the Saint Mary's Invitational singles title and the ASU Thunderbird Invitational singles title and joined forces with Rachael Dillon to win the doubles championship at the Saint Mary's Invitational as well. Senior Marion Ravelojaona returned from a leg injury a year ago to claim the Cal Nike Invitational Blue Flight singles championship in the early fall.
HEAD COACH Amanda Augustus: In just her first season at the helm for the Golden Bears, head coach Amanda Augustus led Cal to a program-best finish as the NCAA championship runner up in 2008. Augustus recorded a 21-6 overall record and helped Cal to a third place finish in the Pac-10 with a 6-2 conference mark. The Bears completed the season with the No. 3 ranking, which was also the highest finish in Cal history. In just two seasons as a collegiate head coach, Augustus has solidified a 45-15 overall record and proven that her squads will be ones to be reckoned with, producing four ITA All-American selections in her first season at Cal and pushing the Bears to heights not reached before.