Women's Tennis Falls in Sweet 16, Individual Matches Get Underway
May 21, 2001
SWEET 16 IN REVIEW: The No. 7-ranked California women's tennis team (16-7, 4-4 Pac-10) suffered a major loss, when they fell in the NCAA Round of 16 to the No. 11-ranked Arizona State Sun Devils, 4-2, in Stone Mountain, GA, May 17. The Bears met up with the Sun Devils for the third time this year, the first two coming in the regular season. Though Cal defeated ASU, Mar. 9, 4-3, the Sun Devils would take the next two, defeating the Bears, 4-3, in Tempe, Apr. 14, before knocking Cal out of the NCAA tournament. The Sun Devils opened the competition by winning the doubles point at the No. 2 and 3 spots. ASU would carry that momentum into singles, as they would grab three singles points for the victory at the No. 1, 3 and 6 spots. ASU's Adria Engel, who was named ITA Player of the Month for April downed senior Anita Kurimay at the No. 1 court in straight sets, 6-1, 6-3. ASU's other two wins would come in straight sets as well, as Raquel Kops-Jones lost, 6-2, 7-6, while Sekita Grant lost, 6-3, 7-5. Cal's two points in singles came with wins fromChristina Fusano and Jieun Jacobs at the No. 2 and 4 courts. Jacobs would tally a straight set victory over Faye DeVera, 6-2, 6-3, while Fusano would easily handle Karen Palme, 6-3, 6-3. In the three meetings this year between Cal and ASU, Fusano would be the only player on the Cal team to go undefeated in singles against her opponents.
NCAA SECOND ROUND IN REVIEW: In their second round matchup, the Bears struggled early, yet managed to pull off a tough 4-1 victory over the No. 20-ranked North Carolina Tar Heels, May 13. The Bears got off to a sluggish start, losing the first doubles match at court No. 2, yet Cal evened the score when the duo of Christina Fusano and Catherine Lynch won, 8-4, on the No. 3 court. All eyes were on the No. 1 court, where Anita Kurimay and Raquel Kops-Jones traded points the entire match with UNC's Kendrick Bunn and Kate Pinchbeck. Neither team led by more than a point the entire match, before UNC took an 8-7 lead. UNC's duo would take the final game, and the first team point of the afternoon, defeating Cal, 9-7. Needing three singles victories to clinch the match, UNC gave the Bears a scare as singles competition got underway. The Tar Heels won the first set on three courts, forcing Cal to step up their level of play. Cal would find comfort in wins at courts No's. 5 and 6, as Sekita Grant would tally the first point for the Bears at No. 6, before Catherine Lynch tallied a 7-5, 6-2 victory at the No. 5 court. With a 2-1 lead, the Bears began to turn the tables. At No. 3, Raquel Kops-Jones fought back from a 5-7 loss in the first set, to take the next two, 6-1, 6-2. The Bears would win the final point and take the match from UNC when Jieun Jacobs came back from a 6-7(6) first set loss, to defeat UNC's Kristin Koenig in the final two stanzas, 6-3, 6-1.
A LOOK AT THE TOURNAMENT: Cal traveled to Stone Mountain, Georgia, where Georgia State University plays host to the final rounds of the NCAA championships, May 17-25. Teams participating will play at the Lincoln Tennis Center. Despite a loss in the Sweet 16, three Bears will compete in individual singles competition: Anita Kurimay, Christina Fusano and Raquel Kops-Jones. Cal's doubles team of Kurimay and Kops-Jones (12-7 overall) will also compete in the doubles portion of the championships, which begins May 22. They will have big shoes to fill, as the Bears have produced the last three NCAA doubles champions.
AWARD AND HONORS: The Cal women's tennis team produced two Pac-10 Second Team All-conference winners in freshman Raquel Kops-Jones and senior Anita Kurimay. Kops-Jones was also named Pac-10 Freshman of the Year for 2001. Kops-Jones has tallied a team-best 29-15 record in singles, and 21-11 overall in doubles. Kops-Jones was also named ITA Regional Rookie of the Year for the Northwest. With the award, Kops-Jones will have an opportunity to be named ITA Rookie of the Year, which will be announced at the end of individual competition, May 25. Kurimay joins Kops-Jones in earning national acclaim, as the Budapest, Hungary native was awarded the TENNIS Magazine/Arthur Ashe, Jr., Leadership and Sportsmanship Award. The award goes to the player who has exhibited outstanding sportsmanship and leadership as well as scholastic, extracurricular and tennis achievements.
BEAR FACTS: The Golden Bears solidified an undefeated record (8-0) in March. From March 2 to April 7, the Bears won nine consecutive matches, including eight played at their own Hellman Tennis Courts. Cal defeated No. 9 Pepperdine, No. 8 Arizona State, No. 23 Arizona, No. 67 Purdue, No. 5 Texas, No. 11 South Alabama, No. 12 Northwestern, No. 14 Fresno State and No. 29 UCLA. During the month of March, Cal played only one road match, in which they defeated Fresno State, 6-1. The Bears then continued their home-court mastery, April 7, when they defeated UCLA, 5-2.