No. 9 UCLA and No. 8 USC Pay a Visit to Streaking No. 6 Golden Bears

April 2, 2008


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Fri., April 4 | 1:30 p.m.

vs. No. 9 UCLA
Hellman Tennis Complex
Berkeley, Calif.

Sat., April 5 | Noon
vs. No. 8 USC
Hellman Tennis Complex
Berkeley, Calif.

BEAR NOTES: The No. 6 California women's tennis team (13-3, 4-0 Pac-10) returns home this weekend to host No. 9 UCLA (14-4, 3-0) Friday, April 4, 1:30 p.m. and No. 8 USC (15-4, 3-0) Saturday, April 5, in a noon match. Both matches will be played at the Hellman Tennis Complex. The Golden Bears are currently riding a seven-match winning streak in which they have defeated five top-40 teams including a then No. 11-ranked UCLA and Arizona State twice; once ranked No. 13 and the other, No. 16. Since defeating the Bruins on March 1, Cal has not allowed an opponent more than two points in any match and has only surrendered the doubles point once. All three teams enter this weekend's matches undefeated in Pac-10 Conference play. USC will face No. 5 Stanford before it comes to Berkeley to play the Bears. Please check for updates.

HOLDING COURT - NO. 9 UCLA: The last time the Bruins and Bears tangled up in Los Angeles, Cal grinded out a 4-3 comeback victory as senior Cristina Visico clinched the win when she defeated a then No. 27-ranked Andrea Remynse on the third court. Visico dropped the first set by a 6-1 score but claimed the second with a convincing 6-2 win. The third set went the distance and needed a tiebreaker to settle things. Visico held Remynse to just two points in the tiebreaker to notch Cal's seventh win of the year. The win over UCLA also marked the beginning of a seven-match winning streak that the Bears have since embarked on. Facing the Bruins at home last year, Cal gave up nothing and swept a No. 15-ranked UCLA on all nine courts to get the 7-0 victory. The Bears are 26-32 all-time against the Bruins in 58 meetings. UCLA is led by senior Riza Zalameda, who is ranked No. 11 in the latest ITA poll. Zalameda is 10-5 against ranked singles players this season, including a 3-1 mark against those in the top 10. Fellow senior Tracy Lin checks in at No. 43, followed by a sophomore, No. 48 Yasmin Schnack, freshman No. 52 Remynse and senior No. 94 Elizabeth Lumpkin. Lumpkin is on the verge of breaking the 30-win mark this season, sitting at 29-8 entering the weekend. Lumpkin has lost only one match in singles dual play this season. In doubles play, Lumpkin is ranked No. 59 when teamed with Stephanie Wetmore. Zalameda is ranked with two different teammates in doubles play, No. 9 with Lin and No. 19 with Schnack.

HOLDING COURT - NO. 8 USC: Aside from matches at the ITA Team Indoor National Championships, Cal's only dual match loss this season has been at the hands of the Trojans. The then No. 11 Women of Troy shocked the Bears in Los Angeles by sweeping the singles courts to a 6-1 victory back on Feb. 29. Cal took the early lead by notching wins on doubles courts two and three but USC fought back to shutout the Bears on the back end. At home last season, the Bears handed a No. 5-ranked USC team a 5-2 loss. The all-time series between the schools stands at 31-23 in favor of the Trojans heading into the weekend. USC is led by junior No. 10 Amanda Fink and her team-high 27 singles wins. Fink is also one half of the top Trojan doubles team when she joins Gabriela Niculescu as the No. 6-ranked tandem in the country. Also ranked in singles play are senior No. 50 Lindsey Nelson, who occupies the top court with an 11-7 mark in dual matches and junior No. 71 Niculescu. Freshmen Leyla Entekhabi and Maria Sanchez hold the No. 108 and No. 115 rankings respectively while sophomore Sarah Fansler checks in at No. 118 for a total of six ranked Trojan players. Entekhabi was named the March 24 Pac-10 Women's Tennis Player of the Week and is on an unbelievable hot streak during which she has won 16-consecutive singles matches to post a 16-0 record in dual match play. Along with Fink, she is one of two USC players over the 25-win mark this season, standing at 25-6 entering the weekend.

LAST WEEK: The Golden Bears traveled to the desert to resume Pac-10 play, facing the Wildcats and Sun Devils. The first time Cal played Arizona on March 8, the Bears got a 6-1 win in Berkeley. They repeated the effort against the Cats out in Tucson, Ariz., also coming away with a 6-1 victory. Junior Bojana Bobusic clinched the win for the team with her 6-2, 6-2 win over Claire Cox on court six. The senior duo of Susie Babos and Stephanie Kusano clinched the doubles point for Cal with an 8-5 defeat of Arizona junior tandem, Claire Rietsch and Danielle Steinberg. In singles, Babos won on court two, defeating Claire Rietsch 6-3, 6-1 to give Cal the 3-0 lead in the match. Kusano completed play on the day by getting the 10-6 win in the third set tiebreaker to finish off Cal's rout of Arizona. Like they did with the Cats, the Bears duplicated an earlier 5-2 win against the Sun Devils, this time in Tempe, Ariz. Freshman Marina Cossou clinched the match for Cal when she defeated No. 35 Nadia Abdala by a 6-1, 4-6, 6-4 count on the top court. The Bears opened up with a struggle on their hands as the Devils took the doubles point with victories on the second and third courts. Kusano tied the match at two points each when she got a 6-1, 7-6 win against Ashlee Brown on court five. Junior No. 64 Claire Ilcinkas gave Cal the lead when she beat Micaela Hein on court four before Cossou sealed the deal for the Bears.

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.

BEARS IN THE RANKINGS: The Golden Bears are currently ranked No. 6 in the latest ITA poll of NCAA Division I collegiate women's tennis teams. Cal also 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, freshman Marina Cossou leads the pack with the nation's No. 12 ranking, her highest this season. Cossou entered the rankings for the first time in her career at the No. 52 spot and this week, leapt senior No. 16 Susie Babos in the latest poll and currently holds a 23-6 singles record. Babos is joined by fellow senior Cristina Visico, who holds down the No. 34 spot. Junior Claire Ilcinkas is No. 91 and fellow junior classman Bojana Bobusic is ranked No. 102. Cal's tandem of Babos and Stephanie Kusano is ranked No. 20 amongst the nation's doubles teams, currently holding a 17-8 record together.

COSSOU AND KUSANO RECEIVE PAC-10 HONORS: Freshman Marina Cossou and senior Stephanie Kusano were each selected as the Pac-10 Women's Tennis Player of the Week this season. Cossou for the week of March 3-9 and Kusano for Feb. 18-24. The honors mark the fifth and sixth time that a Cal player has earned such honors. Cossou was rewarded for her stellar play from the top court for the Bears, defeating three consecutive top-65 opponents in singles play including a then No. 11-ranked Megan Moulton-Levy of William & Mary. Kusano went perfect during her week by earning six victories, three in singles and three in doubles. Her win against No. 31 Carolyn McVeigh of Stanford helped the Bears to a stunning upset of the No. 3 Cardinal.

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.

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 holds the top mark on the team with 24 singles wins against only 11 losses.

FRENCH CONNECTION: Junior Claire Ilcinkas and freshman Marina Cossou have teamed up to create a formidable duo for the Golden Bears. The doubles team currently holds a 15-7 record, going 8-4 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.

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 23 wins against only six losses in her first season, playing predominantly on the top court. 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.

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