Golden Bears Set Sights On Pac-10 Title in Final Week
April 13, 2010
BERKELEY - The Golden Bears take aim at a piece of the Pac-10 title this weekend as they conclude the regular-season dual schedule in the Big Slam with rival Stanford. The California women's tennis team has dropped just one match in conference play and has a chance to knock off a one-loss Cardinal squad that has not given up a match at home since Feb. 27, 1999. However, the Bears have the distinction of being the last team to defeat Stanford in Palo Alto, Calif. with their 5-4 upset win on that fateful date more than a decade ago. The Cardinal has not lost a conference bout this season and is working on an NCAA-record home winning streak of 159 consecutive matches (129 in the regular season). With a win Cal would earn a share of the 2010 title alongside the Cardinal and the winner of the USC-UCLA dual match taking place on Friday, April 16. The last time the Bears won a women's tennis conference title was in 1987 when they claimed the Pac-10 south division crown. Sophomore sensation Jana Juricova regained her No. 2 ranking this week and continues to pace the squad with 34 singles wins. She has won nine consecutive dual singles matches and has a chance to eclipse her personal mark of 39 wins from a year ago. Junior Mari Andersson continued to move up in the rankings and claimed the No. 31 spot this week as she notched her 20th dual singles victory; 11th in a row. Andersson and Juricova hold the No. 7 doubles ranking and have also put together nine straight wins to give themselves a team-high mark of 28 victories.
THIS WEEK: The 12th-ranked California women's tennis team (17-4, 5-1 Pac-10) will play in its final regular-season home dual match as the Golden Bears host Fresno State (5-16, 4-2 WAC) in a 1:30 p.m. bout at the Hellman Tennis Complex on Thursday, April 15. Cal will then head across the Bay to take on rival Stanford in a noon PT match on Saturday, April 17, at the Tuabe Family Tennis Stadium. The tenth-ranked Cardinal have no lost a match at home in over a decade, last falling to the Bears in a 5-4 upset on Feb. 27, 1999. Cal will have a chance to earn a piece of the Pac-10 title with a win over Stanford. Live web video will be available for both matches. When Cal faces Fresno State, visit www.CalBears.com and when the Bears take on Stanford, visit www.GoStanford.com for links.
BEAR TRACKER: Cal's dual against Stanford on Saturday (April 17) will feature live scoring and video courtesy of the Stanford Athletics Media Relations department. For scores and links to live video, please visit http://www.gostanford.com/livestats/tennis/StanfordTennis.html. Cal will provide live streaming video with on-screen scores of all home dual matches held at the Hellman Tennis Complex throughout the year. Please visit the women's tennis page at CalBears.com for on-court links.
QUICK HITS: Throughout the 2010 spring dual season, different Bears will appear on the CalBears.com women's tennis page for a special video segment called Quick Hits. To learn more about each individual player and the team, visit CalBears.com today.
PHOTO OPPORTUNITY: Fans and media can purchase Cal women's tennis photos at GoldenBearSports.com, the official photographer of Cal Athletics. Follow @GBSports on Twitter to get instant notifications when new albums and galleries are posted to the website. Visit www.twitter.com/gbsports to follow.
ON COURT - FRESNO STATE: The Bulldogs (5-16, 4-2 WAC) opened their season with an incredible 12-match losing streak but have since gone 5-4; winning in four of their last six outings. After falling out of the rankings due to inactivity because of injuries, No. 14-ranked senior Anastasia Petukhova and No. 117-ranked senior Renata Kucerkova returned to the ITA rankings this week. Besides its two seniors, Fresno State's roster features five freshmen and one sophomore in Laura Pola. What the Bulldogs lack in experience, they make up for in tenacity. Since turning the corner with a 4-3 win at Pacific on March 20, Fresno State has posted three wins by 6-1 counts and the most recent, a 4-1 victory over Utah State. The Bears lead the all-time series with a 31-4 edge but fell to the Bulldogs in their last meeting, 4-3, on March 21 a year ago.
ON COURT - NO. 10 STANFORD: The Cardinal (17-1, 6-0 Pac-10) is on a 10-match winning streak and last lost to a fourth-ranked UCLA squad on Feb. 26, 6-1. Since suffering its only loss of the season, Stanford has surrendered just 14 points in the ten matches it has won. No. 4-ranked junior Hilary Barte is 17-1 at the top court in dual matches and reached the 25-win plateau in a match against Oregon this week. No. 39-ranked freshman Mallory Burdette leads the Cardinal with a 28-4 mark and has produced a 16-2 record in duals. Burdette's elder sister No. 68-ranked senior Lindsay Burdette is just 14-12 this season but has nabbed 10 of those wins at the second dual singles court. No. 73-ranked freshman Stacy Tan is one win away from becoming the third Cardinal player to notch at least 25 singles wins and No. 120-ranked junior Carolyn McVeigh holds a 13-3 mark at the fourth singles court in duals. Stanford's lineup features two ranked doubles teams. Barte and Lindsay Burdette are the second-ranked tandem in the nation and have dropped just three matches in 31 outings. The pair is 16-2 at the top doubles court in duals. Mallory Burdette and Tan hold the No. 46 ranking and are 24-4 in all matches together. As a team, the Bears are 9-60 all-time against the Cardinal. Cal split matches with Stanford in 2009 with the home team winning each match. In their only meeting this season, Stanford came away with a 5-2 win at Hellman Tennis Complex on March 6.
LAST TIME OUT: The Bears made their case for a piece of the conference title with three big wins on the road in the Pacific Northwest. Cal defeated Oregon (5-2), Washington (6-1) and Washington State (6-1) to pull itself into a three-way second-place tie in conference matches. Including the Bears' April 3 win over USC, the team ran its winning streak to four consecutive matches and maintained its doubles dominance by securing the doubles point for the 19th time this season in 21 matches. Junior Mari Andersson continued her hot streak and posted her 11th consecutive singles win while teaming with sophomore Jana Juricova for the duo's ninth consecutive doubles victory.
BEARS IN THE RANKS: The Bears are ranked No. 12 as a team in the most recent (April 13) Campbell's/ITA (Intercollegiate Tennis Association) College Tennis Poll. Cal has three ranked singles players with No. 2-ranked sophomore Jana Juricova at the top of that list. Junior Marina Cossou is No. 17 with junior Mari Andersson at No. 31. As the defending NCAA doubles champions, Andersson and Juricova hold the No. 7 ranking as a doubles team. Cossou and senior Kasia Siwosz are ranked No. 83 among doubles teams. Freshmen Tayler Davis and Annie Goransson earned their first collegiate rankings on March 16 as the pair snagged the No. 79 spot in the national doubles rankings. They are currently unranked.
POWER OF THE PAC: Seven of the Pac-10's nine women's tennis 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. UCLA leads all teams with the No. 7 ranking with Stanford not far behind at No. 10. Cal holds the No. 12 ranking with USC at the No. 16 spot. Arizona State checks in at No. 27 with Washington at No. 28, to give the conference six teams in the top 30 alone. Arizona ranks No. 55. Oregon and Washington State each received rankings for several weeks to begin the spring dual season but have fallen off recently. Last season, Cal represented the conference in the NCAA title match with four teams advancing as far as the round of 16. Two seasons ago, Cal and UCLA battled it out in the NCAA team championship match to give the conference full control of the national title. The conference also produced the 2009 NCAA doubles champion in Cal's own Mari Andersson and Jana Juricova. Juricova is also the defending ITA Indoor Championship singles title holder. The Pac-10 finished 2009 with 14 ITA All-American selections, three of which were given to Bears, Andersson (doubles) and Juricova (singles and doubles).
JURICOVA REPEATS AS PAC-10 PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Sophomore Jana Juricova became the first Golden Bear to receive three Pac-10 Player of the Week awards when she was selected for the honor on April 6. She was also named conference player of the week for the week of Feb. 8-14. Juricova defeated No. 2-ranked USC junior Maria Sanchez to earn the clinching point in Cal's 5-2 victory over the Trojans on April 3. The Bears have received 12 Pac-10 Player of the Week selections; the most of all teams in the conference.
COSSOU FOR CELEBRATION: Junior Marina Cossou was named Pac-10 Player of the Week for the week of March 15-21, after helping the Bears nab a pair of wins over ranked opponents. It was her second career selection and Cal's 11th overall at the time. She secured a victory for the Bears by defeating Harvard's Hideko Tachibana, 6-3, 6-0, at the second singles court. Next, she defeated Sacramento State's Rebecca Delgado, 6-2, 6-3, to earn her 23rd overall singles win of the season. Teaming with senior Kasia Siwosz, the pair pushed their doubles record to 12-1 by beating Tachibana and Kristin Norton of Harvard, 8-2, before they took out Delgado and Clarisse Baca of Sacramento State, 8-3.
INTERNATIONAL FLAVOR: The Bears are a truly diverse group with players hailing from five different countries. Junior Mari Andersson and freshman Annie Goransson each come from Sweden; sophomore Jana Juricova is from the Slovak Republic; junior Marina Cossou is a native of France; and senior Kasia Siwosz is from Poland. Sophomores Stephany Chang and Catalina Visico, and freshmen Tayler Davis and Nelly Radeva are each from California.
ALWAYS A BEAR: Senior transfer Kasia Siwosz arrived in Berkeley by way of Waco, Texas, where she was a member of Baylor's women's tennis team. She went from being a Lady Bear to a Golden Bear. Prior to her time with Baylor, she was a Tiger All-American at Cowley College, where she claimed junior college national titles in both singles and doubles.
FAMILY TIES: Sophomore Catalina Visico is the younger sister of former Cal tennis standout Cristina Visico (2004-08). While she prefers to be called Catie, Catalina has forged her own identity with the Bears as a vocal leader and an integral part of the team. The elder Visico was a 2008 All-Pac-10 Honorable mention and completed her career at Cal with over 100 singles victories and 40 doubles wins.
DO YOU KNOW THE WAY TO SAN JOSE?: Sophomore Stephany Chang and freshman Tayler Davis each hail from the South Bay's Silicon Valley city of San Jose. Chang attended Laurel Springs High School while Davis prepped at Archbishop Mitty High School.
HOW SWEDE IT IS: Junior Mari Andersson (Bastad, Sweden) and freshman Annie Goransson (Hollviken, Sweden) each hail from the Nordic country of Sweden. In fact, both players prepped at Bastad Gymnasium, and have faced each other in several youth and junior tournaments.
CAL AT THE ITA INDOOR CHAMPIONSHIPS: Cal has won 26 matches at the indoor championships, the sixth highest total. The Bears advanced to the championship match in 2000, where they fell to rival Stanford. In 2010, the Bears advanced to the semifinal match for the second consecutive year. In 2009, Cal knocked off two-time defending champion Georgia Tech in the quarterfinal before falling to runner-up Georgia. Only 11 different teams have made appearances in the final match with just six different teams able to claim at least one championship for their schools. Stanford's nine titles are the most; followed by Florida's six; and Georgia with three. Georgia Tech won back-to-back crowns in 2007-08 before Northwestern accomplished the same feat with titles in 2009 and 2010; and Duke holds one title.
FALL 2009 REVIEW: The Bears were highly successful in fall individual tournaments in 2009. Sophomore Jana Juricova earned the most notable of achievements as she claimed Cal's first ITA Indoor Championship singles crown on Oct. 26. Juricova completed an incredible streak of 10-straight set victories over ranked opponents as she defeated No. 8 Irina Falconi of Georgia Tech in the singles final, 6-4, 7-6(4). Juricova also advanced to the Wilson/ITA Northwest Regional Championship singles final before bowing out to Washington's Denise Dy. Juricova was joined in the singles quarterfinal at the regional championships by both juniors Mari Andersson and Marina Cossou. Senior transfer Kasia Siwosz breezed her way to the Saint Mary's Invitational singles title without dropping a single set. Cossou made it all the way to the Gold Flight final at the Cal Nike Invitational before falling to No. 11-ranked Yasmin Schnaak of UCLA and freshman Tayler Davis made an appearance in the Blue Flight final before falling to USC's Christala Andrews. As a doubles team, Andersson and Juricova advanced to the Northwest Regional championship match before being taken out by the No. 3-ranked team of Hillary Barte and Lindsay Burdette of Stanford; and Davis and Siwosz claimed the Blue Flight crown at the Cal Nike Invitational.