No. 8 Cal to Face No. 9 Duke in NCAA Tennis Championship Round of 16
May 14, 2008
Thu., May 15 | Noon CT
NCAA Round of 16
vs. No. 9 Duke
Michael D. Case Tennis Center
Sat., May 17| Noon CT (with Thursday win)
vs. Fresno St./Northwestern
Michael D. Case Tennis Center
BEAR NOTES: Making its 27th consecutive appearance in the NCAA Championships, the No. 8 California women's tennis team (18-5, 6-2 Pac-10) will travel to Tulsa, Okla. as one of the final 16 teams in the 2008 NCAA Division I Women's Tennis Championships to face No. 9 Duke (19-4, 9-2 ACC). The Golden Bears and the Blue Devils will square off in a noon (CT) match on Thursday, May 15, at the Michael D. Case Tennis Center on the campus of the University of Tulsa. Cal faced another ACC team in the round of 16 last season and defeated Clemson by a 4-0 score before dispatching of championship host Georgia, 4-1, to advance to the NCAA Championship semifinal. This is the 10th time in the past 12 seasons that the Bears have made an appearance in the round of 16. Cal has never won the NCAA team championship.
LAST WEEK: The Golden Bears got through the first and second rounds of the 2008 NCAA Division I Women's Tennis Championships, with two 4-0 wins against Army and No. 27 LSU. As the host of the first and second rounds, Cal enjoyed home-court advantage and did not suffer a single loss in both singles and doubles play. With the two wins, Cal completed matches at the Hellman Tennis Complex this season with a 10-1 record.
CAL IN THE NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS: The Golden Bears have appeared in the NCAA Championships a total of 27 times, one of the longest consecutive strings of postseason appearances by a collegiate women's tennis team. Cal has advanced to the NCAA Championship semifinal on six occasions and to the quarterfinal on 11 other attempts. In the individual championships, the Bears have had one singles champion (Susie Babos, 2006) and four doubles champions (Amanda Augustus/Amy Jensen, 1998 and 1999; Claire Curran/Amy Jensen, 2000; and Christina Fusano/Raquel Kops-Jones, 2004). Last season, the Bears advanced to the national semifinal as a team before falling to eventual NCAA Champion Georgia Tech by a 4-2 count. In individual play, Zsuzsanna Fodor and Nina Henkel made it to the singles Round of 16 and Babos as far as the second round. Babos and Fodor also advanced as far as the second round in the doubles championship.
BEARS IN THE RANKINGS: The Golden Bears currently hold the No. 8 ranking in the latest ITA poll of NCAA Division I collegiate women's tennis teams. Cal opened the season with the No. 6 ranking. The Bears finished 2007 with the No. 5 ranking and have completed six seasons ranked as high as No. 4, the team's highest final ranking. Amongst individuals, freshman Marina Cossou leads the pack with the nation's No. 4 ranking, her highest this season. Cossou entered the rankings for the first time in her career at the No. 52 spot and currently holds a 30-8 singles record. Three-time singles national champion (two All-American Championship titles and one NCAA title) Susie Babos is No. 20 and is joined by fellow senior Cristina Visico, who holds down the No. 35 spot. Junior Claire Ilcinkas is No. 40, and fellow junior classman Bojana Bobusic is ranked No. 92. Although she is out with an injury, senior Marion Ravelojaona is ranked No. 114 on the strength of her wins in fall tournaments. Cal's tandem of Babos and Stephanie Kusano is ranked No. 12 among the nation's doubles teams, currently holding an 22-12 record together. Cal's other ranked doubles team is No. 54 Visico and Bobusic who have compiled a 9-3 record together.
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 collegiate tandem ever to win back-to-back championships.
HOLDING COURT - NO. 9 DUKE: The Bears last faced Duke in 2006, falling in a 4-3 loss at the ITA Team Indoor Championships. The Devils hold a 6-1 edge in the all-time series against Cal and will be looking to make their 35-19 all-time record in the NCAA Championships. Duke has four players ranked in the most recent ITA singles poll, led by freshman No. 21 Ellah Nze. Right behind Nze in the polls is fellow frosh Reka Zsilinszka at No. 24. Sophomore Elizabeth Plotkin checks in at No. 52 and fellow sophomore Tara Iyer holds the No. 125 ranking. The Devils also have one ranked doubles team in the No. 7 duo of junior Melissa Mang and sophomore Amanda Granson. Duke head coach Jamie Ashworth is the second winningest ACC women's tennis coach on the all-time record with a .838 winning percentage from 1997 to present, including a 26-11 postseason record in the NCAA Championships. The Devils are making their 19th consecutive appearance (20th overall) in the championships, advancing as far as the national semifinal on six occasions and to the championship match once in 1998.
HOLDING COURT - NO. 16 FRESNO STATE: The Bulldogs are heading to their third-straight NCAA Round of 16 appearance and will face No. 1 Northwestern for the right to advance. The Bears have met Fresno State in tournament play at the Cal Winter Invitational but will be facing the Dogs as a team for the first time since 2006 when they lost by a 4-3 count. Fresno State's roster boasts the No. 2 doubles team in the nation in Melanie Gloria and Tinesta Rowe. The Bulldogs also have the No. 33-ranked doubles team in the country with Renata Kucerkova and Anastasia Petukhova. In singles play, Gloria is ranked No. 16, Petukhova is ranked No. 22 and Rowe, No. 110.
HOLDING COURT - NO. 1 NORTHWESTERN: The Wildcats entered the NCAA Championships holding the top-ranking in the country and were awarded the top seed in the tournament. Northwestern has lost only one dual match this season, falling to defending national champion Georgia Tech by a 4-2 count at the ITA National Team Indoor Championships on Feb. 10. Since the loss, the Big 10 Champion Cats have reeled off 22-consecutive dual match victories, with only one 4-3 decision. Northwestern has won its last seven matches by either a 7-0 or a 4-0 score. The Bears faced the Cats in tournament play as individuals in the fall, hosting Northwestern at the 2007 Cal Nike Invitational. The Wildcats are led by freshman Maria Mosolova, who holds the No. 5 ranking among the nation's singles players. Junior Georgia Rose holds the No. 11 spot while sophomore Samantha Murray checks in at No. 32. Sophomore Lauren Lui is No. 53. Lui and Murray combine to form the No. 13 doubles team and while Lui and Rose combine to form the No. 19 doubles team.
SENIOR HONORS: Cal senior Susie Babos was named the 2008 ITA Northwest Region Senior Player of the Year, making her the Bears' sixth player to receive such honors. The last player to earn the distinction was Raquel Kops-Jones in 2004. The first Cal player to receive the award was Jennifer Prah in 1988. Karen Shin received the honors in 1989; Lisa Albano in 1992 and Jennifer Poulos in 1995.
ACADEMIC ACCOLADES: Senior Susie Babos has been named a recipient of one of the Pacific-10 Conference's 2008 Post-Graduate Scholarships for her academic and athletic achievements. The Mass Communications major has maintained a 3.43 GPA in all of her courses and hopes to pursue a legal career after tennis.
TWENTY-FIVERS: Six Cal players have eclipsed the 25-win mark in singles play this season, led by junior Claire Ilcinkas' 31 overall victories. Freshman Marina Cossou is second on the team with 30 wins. Junior Bojana Bobusic has 29 wins and senior Cristina Visico sits at the 27-win mark. Seniors Susie Babos and Stephanie Kusano each have 25 wins of their own. Visico reached a milestone in her collegiate career when she defeated Anna Powaska of Oregon to earn her 100th career singles victory.
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. Visico has occupied the third court in dual matches all year and has run up a 15-6 record, 27-12 overall.
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 has 29 singles wins against only 13 losses.
CLAIRE SAILING: Junior Claire Ilcinkas has quietly built up quite an impressive singles record, going 13-3 on court four and 4-0 on the fifth court for a 17-3 record in dual matches. Her 11-3 record in fall tournaments gives her an overall mark of 31-7, the best winning percentage on the team. At one point, Ilcinkas was riding a seven-match winning streak in the months of February and March, taking wins against ranked opponents on three occasions.
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 23-10 record, going 13-6 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 30 wins against only eight 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. Cossou has since bested her performance by defeating a No. 10-ranked Amanda Fink of USC by a 6-3, 1-6, 6-1 score.
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 was picked 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.
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.