No. 8 Golden Bears Host Arizona State and Arizona

March 6, 2008


Complete Mar. 6 California Women's Tennis Release in PDF Format Get Acrobat Reader

vs. No. 13 Arizona State

Fri., Mar. 7 | 1:30 p.m.
Hellman Tennis Complex
Berkeley, Calif.

vs. No. 63 Arizona
Sat., Mar. 8 | 12 p.m.
Hellman Tennis Complex
Berkeley, Calif.

BEAR NOTES: The No. 8 California women's tennis team (8-3, 2-0 Pac-10) hosts No. 13 Arizona State (8-1, 0-0) and No. 63 Arizona (7-6, 0-0) this weekend at Hellman Tennis Complex. The Golden Bears hit the court on Friday against the Sun Devils in a 1:30 p.m. match and turn around to face the Wildcats in a noon match on Saturday. Matches will not count towards Pac-10 Conference standings as the teams will each meet once more in Arizona later in the year. Cal is amidst a four match home stand after returning from four matches on the road, where it went 3-1 against foes from the Pac-10. Please check for up-to-date information and links to live video of the matches.

LAST WEEK: The Golden Bears made the trip to Los Angeles to face the Trojans and Bruins in back-to-back weekend matches. At the time, each opponent shared the No. 11 team ranking. Opening up with USC first, the Bears got out to a good start by winning the doubles point but couldn't capitalize as the Trojans fought back to win all six points on the singles courts. It looked like the Bears would suffer the same fate as they started out the match at UCLA by losing on all three courts in doubles. Cal turned things around quickly though as this time, the Bears flipped the script on their opponent by winning four out of six singles matches to take enough team points for the come-from-behind victory. Senior Cristina Visico provided the clinching point by defeating No. 27-ranked Andrea Remynse on court three in a three-set match that went down to a tiebreaker. Returning to the comforts of Berkeley, Cal settled in at home and played host to the visiting Tribe of No. 26 College of William and Mary. The Bears weren't particularly hospitable however, blasting their visitors with a 5-2 win on Wednesday, allowing one of two points through a retired player. Cal improved its record to 8-3 overall on the season with a spotless 2-0 record in Conference matches.

BEARS IN THE RANKINGS: The Golden Bears are currently ranked No. 8 in the latest ITA poll of NCAA Division I collegiate women's tennis teams. Cal opened the season holding the No. 6 ranking. The Bears finished 2007 with the No. 5 ranking and has completed six seasons ranked No. 4, the team's highest final ranking. Amongst individuals, senior Susie Babos leads the pack with the nation's No. 15 ranking. She is joined by seniors Cristina Visico, who holds the No. 32 ranking, and Stephanie Kusano at No. 106. Junior Claire Ilcinkas is No. 64 and fellow classman Bojana Bobusic is ranked No. 84. Freshman Marina Cossou entered the rankings for the first time in her career at the No. 52 spot on Feb. 20 and has since risen to No. 47. Cal's tandem of Babos and Kusano is ranked No. 42 amongst the nation's doubles teams while the Bears' newest addition to the ranks is the duo of Cossou and Ilcinkas, who now hold the No. 46 doubles ranking.

KUSANO RECEIVES PAC-10 PLAYER OF THE WEEK HONORS: Senior Stephanie Kusano was named the Pac-10 Women's Tennis Player of the Week for the week of Feb. 18-24 as she earned six victories without a loss in both singles and doubles play. Kusano's win against No. 31 Carolyn McVeigh of Stanford helped the Bears to a stunning upset of No. 3 Stanford. To date, she is 7-1 in dual match singles play and is riding a five-match winning streak during which she has dropped only one set. The honor was a first for the senior and is the fifth such distinction for a Cal women's tennis player. The last Bear to earn Pac-10 Player of the Week honors was current volunteer assistant coach Zsuzsanna Fodor.

HEAD COACH Amanda Augustus: As one of Cal tennis' most successful players, Amanda Augustus returned to her alma mater in July of 2007 to succeed her college coach Jan Brogan, who announced her retirement, after 29 years at the helm. Augustus came to the Bears from Michigan where she guided her team to a 17-8 overall record in 2006-07. The Wolverines reached the second round of the NCAA Tournament, completing its season with a No. 22 national ranking. A four-time All-American at Cal from 1996-99, Augustus played professionally on the Women's Tennis Association tour for several years before turning her efforts to coaching. As a player for the Bears, she earned All-Pac-10 honors each of her four years, including first-team recognition as a sophomore, junior and senior. She teamed with Amy Jensen to capture the NCAA doubles titles in both 1998 and 1999 to become the first tandem ever to win back-to-back championships.

HOLDING COURT - NO. 13 ARIZONA STATE: The Sun Devils have won all but one dual match this season and enter the bay area holding the No. 13 ranking in the country. Of its eight wins, Arizona State has collected victories against top-ranked opponents including a No. 9 UCLA squad and a No. 16 Texas team. The lone Sun Devil loss came at the hands of conference foe, USC. Arizona State is led by sophomore sensation No. 30 Nadia Abdala and her 17 singles wins. The Sun Devils are powered by their youth as two freshmen boast impressive singles records to accompany Abdala. No. 74 ranked Kelcy McKenna leads the team with 22 singles wins against only five losses and fellow frosh Ashlee Brown has 11 wins to only one loss this season. The Devils also have two of the top-40 doubles teams. Abdala, when teamed with her sister junior Laila Abdala, form the No. 36-ranked doubles team in the nation. Seniors Wendy Pilecka and Jessica Leitch combine to hold the No. 40 spot not far behind the Abdala sisters. The Bears hold a 33-13 edge in the all-time series against the Sun Devils and have not lost since 2005, riding a current five-match winning streak. Cal won all three meetings against ASU last year, most recently facing the Devils in the second round of the NCAA Tournament, where it took a 4-2 win.

HOLDING COURT - NO. 63 ARIZONA: The Wildcats are a step above the .500 mark this season, entering play against the Bay Area schools with a 7-6 overall record. After opening the season with five straight wins, the Cats fell on hard times, absorbing six straight losses. Most recently, Arizona has regained its form however, getting two victories against UC Santa Barbara and No. 72 San Diego State University last weekend. The Wildcats are led by junior No. 62 Danielle Steinberg who has a 15-5 singles record and an 8-3 doubles record. Steinberg is only one of two juniors on a team that has no senior classmen, joined by Claire Riestsch. Arizona is a young team with four sophomores and three freshmen on the squad. The Bears lead the all-time series against the Wildcats by a 44-10 margin and won both meetings last season with convincing 7-0 and 6-1 scores. The Bears are also riding an eight-match winning streak, last losing to the Wildcats in 2003.

THREE'S SWEET: Senior Susie Babos captured her third singles national championship in the fall by winning the 2007 Riviera All-American Championship title, successfully defending her 2006 crown. Babos became only the fourth player in the history of the All-American Championship to win back-to-back titles, joining San Diego's Zuzana Lesenarova (1998-99), Stanford's Sandra Birch (1989-90) and Mississippi's Paloma Collantes (1991-92). Babos defeated Clemson's No. 21 Ani Mijacika 7-5, 2-6, 6-2 in the championship final. Babos also won the NCAA Singles Championship crown in the spring of 2006 defeating USC's No. 18 Lindsey Nelson in a 6-4, 6-1 match.

ZUMA ZUMA ZUMA: Senior Cristina Visico earned the nickname 'Zuma' for zooming around the court with her quickness and speed. The Southern California native kick-started her senior campaign with a run to the Wilson/ITA Northwest Regional Championship singles final. En route to her appearance in the final match, Visico defeated No. 49 Katsiaryna Zheltova of Sacramento State and No. 47 Anastasia Petukhova of Fresno State. Visico's five wins at the Northwest Regional earned her automatic entry to the ITA National Indoor Championships, a first for the senior.

FRENCH CONNECTION: Junior Claire Ilcinkas and freshman Marina Cossou have teamed up to create a formidable duo for the Golden Bears. The No. 46-ranked doubles team currently holds a 13-6 record, going 6-3 in dual matches so far. Together in the fall, the two advanced to the doubles semifinal at the Wilson/ITA Northwest Regional Championships and went to the semifinal at the ASU Thunderbird Invitational. Ilcinkas hails from Paris, France and Cossou from Azereix, a small town in the south of France.

FROM DOWN UNDER TO THE TOP: Junior Bojana Bobusic was born in Belgrade, Serbia but hails from Perth, Australia. The powerful baseline player led all Bears with 16 singles wins in individual tournament play. Her success put her into the Cal Invitational final where she faced off against fellow junior Claire Ilcinkas. Stringing five wins together, Bobusic advanced to the singles semifinal at the Wilson/ITA Northwest Regional Championship. Bobusic currently leads the team with 21 singles wins.

FRESH PERSPECTIVE: With a heavily senior team, freshman Marina Cossou brings some new blood to the squad. Cossou earned 11 victories in individual tournament play including a 7-6(5), 6-4 upset win over No. 11 Anastasia Petukhova of Fresno State at the Cal Winter Invitational. In the fall, Cossou strung together five victories to capture the ASU Thunderbird Invitational singles title. Cossou has continued her impressive play in dual matches so far, notching 19 wins against only five losses in her first season, playing predominantly on court two. Taking court one for the first time against the College of William & Mary, Cossou dismissed another No. 11-ranked player as she defeated the Tribe's Megan Moulton-Levy with a 6-2, 6-1 win on March 5.

FALL 2007 TOURNAMENTS: The Golden Bears enjoyed a successful fall individual tournament season, going 71-38 in singles play and emerging with a 22-17 doubles record. Senior Susie Babos entered the fall ranked No. 4 nationally and claimed her second consecutive All-American Championship crown. Senior Cristina Visico advanced to the Wilson/ITA Northwest Regional Championship singles final and freshman Marina Cossou won the Arizona State Thunderbird Invitational. Junior Bojana Bobusic racked up a team-high 14 singles wins and advanced to the Cal Invitational singles final and the singles semifinal at the Wilson/ITA Northwest Regional Championship. Fellow junior Claire Ilcinkas won the Cal Invitational Blue Flight title and held a 9-2 record coming out of the fall.

2006-07 SEASON RECAP: The Golden Bears completed the 2006-07 dual campaign with a flurry of postseason victories to advance to the national semifinal match at the NCAA Championships, falling to eventual NCAA Champion Georgia Tech. Cal finished with a No. 5 ranking after posting a 23-7 overall record, going 5-3 in Pac-10 Conference play, tied for fourth place with Arizona State. At one point, the Bears ripped off an 11-match winning streak that included victories over No. 9 Northwestern, No. 18 Pepperdine and No. 19 Arizona State. As a junior, Susie Babos earned her second All-American honors in both singles and doubles along with senior Zsuzsanna Fodor. Babos and Fodor were also each selected to the All-Pac-10 First Team and named the 2007 Pac-10 Doubles Team of the Year. Freshman Nina Henkel was selected as an All-American in singles and also received All-Pac-10 Second Team honors.

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