No. 4 Cal Survives No. 5 USC, 4-1, to Advance to NCAA Semifinals
May 16, 2003
Gainesville, Fla. - The #4 University of California women's tennis team (23-5) defeated Pac-10 rival #5 USC (22-6), 4-1, in the quarterfinal round of the 2003 NCAA Women's Tennis Championships this afternoon, May 16 at the Ring Tennis Complex at the University of Florida in Gainesville. With the victory, the Bears defeated the Trojans for the second time this year and will face another Pac-10 opponent, #1 Stanford, in the semifinals Saturday, May 17 at 2:00 p.m. (EST). All four of the top seeds advanced to the semis, as #2 Florida and #3 Duke will challenge each other in the other match.
In the previous two regular season meetings between the two squads, each team garnered a victory, but Cal claimed the doubles point in both matches. Things started out the same this afternoon, as Cal claimed doubles victories on courts three and one, in that order, to take the early 1-0 lead.
'This is the first time we played them when they had a full lineup,' said Cal head coach Jan Brogan.'The first time we played them their number six player was out, and thesecond time we played them their number two player didn't play. I feltthat from the beginning of the match in doubles we competed so relaxedand so confidently, and I could see that they were a little hesitant. Idon't think it carried over so much into the singles, because the girl(opponent) on court three was just awesome today. But I definitely thinkwe took advantage of it in the lower part of the lineup. I would saythat it was one of our top-three competitive matches of the season, interms of everyone playing focused and maintaining their focus whenthings started turning against them.'
Nicole Havlicek and Catherine Lynch rebounded from yesterday's loss with a quick 8-3 decision over Melissa Esmero and Carine Vermeulen on court three. The Bear duo opened up a 3-0 lead and never looked back, claiming a 6-2 margin for the 8-3 victory. On court one, fourth-ranked Christina Fusano and Raquel Kops-Jones took control from the get-go, also claiming an early 3-0 lead over #18 Tiffany Brymer and Jewel Peterson. The Trojan tandem did make things interesting, however, closing the Cal margin to 5-3 and again at 7-5. But a Kops-Jones service set took care of that as the Bears claimed the doubles point with their 8-5 win.
On doubles No. 2, Jieun Jacobs and Jody Scheldt were making a comeback against Anita Loyola and Luana Magnani before the match was suspended. After falling down 7-2, the Cal duo rallied to make things interesting, closing the gap to 7-4, but Cal claimed the point before the match could be decided.
The singles competition started with things split down the middle, as the Bears were trailing on courts one through three and ahead on courts four through six. On court six, Nicole Havlicek didn't want a repeat of yesterday's three-set marathon match, so she claimed the first singles victory for the Golden Bears with a commanding 6-2, 6-0 victory over Carine Vermeulen to put Cal up 2-0. The Trojans responded with their own steadfast victory on court three as #62 Maureen Diaz rolled to a 6-1, 6-1 decision over #93 Catherine Lynch to cut the Bears' lead in half, 2-1.
The rest of the matches were not quite as easy for either side, with three of the four ultimately going into third sets. After taking a 6-3 first set decision, Jody Scheldt had her hands full with Tiffany Brymer in the second set. Scheldt looked to be in control early, jumping out to a 5-2 lead. But the Cal junior couldn't close it out that easily as Brymer made a run to tie things at 5-5. Scheldt persevered, though, taking the next two hard-fought games for the 6-3, 7-5 victory. Courts one, two and four were still in progress - all in the thick of their respective third sets.
On court four, #53 Jieun Jacobs claimed the first set, 6-3, over Anita Loyola, but handed a 6-2 second set to the Trojan player. Things got interesting in the third set as the two traded games for 2-1, 3-2 and 4-3 Cal advantages. Jacobs ultimately pulled it out though, taking the next two games for the 6-3, 2-6, 6-3 victory and the match for her squad.
'I think I wavered a little bit, but I got my groove back,' said Jacobs. 'Imean Anita [Loyola] is a very tough competitor, so she pushed me and Ijust hung out a little longer in the third.'
Even though the match was already decided, both #6 Raquel Kops-Jones and #25 Christina Fusano were in the midst of some gutsy performances. On court one, #10 Jewel Peterson easily claimed a 6-3 first set victory over Kops-Jones, but the Cal junior came back from being down 40-love with the 5-4 advantage to take the second set victory. In the third, Kops-Jones had a 4-2 lead when the match was halted. On court two, Fusano looked down and out early after suffering a 6-3 setback in the first set, but the senior captain responded with a 6-2 second set victory of her own. Fusano was down, 0-1, when the match was suspended.
Cal will face Stanford in the semifinals Saturday, May 17 at 2:00 p.m. (EST), with the victor to face the winner between Florida and Duke in the finals at 1:00 p.m. (EST) on Sunday, May 18. Stanford owns a 2-1 advantage over California in 2003, with the Cardinal winners of the past two meetings.
Complete tournament results can be found on the University of Florida's website at www.GatorZone.com.
COMPLETE RESULTS:Doubles: (California wins doubles point)1. #4 Fusano/Kops-Jones (Cal) d. #18 Brymer/Peterson (USC), 8-52. Jacobs/Scheldt (Cal) vs. Loyola/Magnani (USC), DNF (4-7)3. Havlicek/Lynch (Cal) d. Esmero/Vermeulen (USC), 8-3
Singles:1. #6 Raquel Kops-Jones (Cal) vs. #10 Jewel Peterson (USC), DNF (3-6, 6-4,4-2)2. #25 Christina Fusano (Cal) vs. #21 Luana Magnani (USC), DNF (3-6, 6-2, 0-1)3. #62 Maureen Diaz (USC) d. #93 Catherine Lynch (Cal), 6-1, 6-14. #53 Jieun Jacobs (Cal) d. Anita Loyola (USC), 6-3, 2-6, 6-3*5. Jody Scheldt (Cal) d. Tiffany Brymer (USC), 6-3, 7-56. Nicole Havlicek (Cal) d. Carine Vermeulen (USC), 6-2, 6-0ORDER OF FINISH: 6, 3, 5, 4** Clinched match