No. 8 Golden Bears Prepare for Clash at Texas and No. 14 Arizona State
March 12, 2009
THIS WEEK: The No. 8-ranked California women's tennis team (9-2, 2-0 Pac-10) will play just its third match at an opponent's courts this dual season as the Golden Bears head east to face No. 32 Texas (5-4, 1-0 Big 12) at the Penick-Allison Tennis Center in Austin, Texas on Friday, March 13 at 1:30 p.m. CT (11:30 a.m. PT). On the way home, Cal will make a stop in the desert to take on No. 14 Arizona State (8-3, 3-0 Pac-10) in a non-conference match at the Whiteman Tennis Center in Tempe, Ariz. on Sunday, March 15 at 11 a.m. PT. Live scoring is available for Cal's match against Texas via TexasSports.com under the women's tennis link.
LAST WEEK: The Bears won their third 7-0 match of the year by earning victories in all nine matches against No. 42 Sacramento State on March 6. No. 42-ranked senior Claire Ilcinkas clinched the win for Cal with her 6-2, 6-2 victory against Luba Schifris at No. 3 singles. The next day, Cal headed down the road to face No. 13-ranked Stanford in the first of two matchups this season. The Bears claimed the doubles point and found themselves up 3-1 with just the odd-numbered singles courts still playing. Unable to hold off the hard-charging Cardinal, Cal surrendered three-set victories on each court to fall 4-3 on The Farm. No. 74-ranked sophomore Mari Andersson continued her hot streak with a defeat of No. 121-ranked Lindsay Burdette at No. 2 singles. As the No. 13-ranked doubles team, Andersson teamed up with freshman Jana Juricova to earn a 9-8 win against No. 23-ranked Hilary Barte and Burdette on the top doubles court. On just two days rest, the Bears looked to bounce back with an upset victory of their own as No. 5-ranked Baylor visited Berkeley. The Baylor Bears came out of the gates and wrestled the doubles point from Cal but the Berkeley Bears fought back to take victories on four singles courts including freshman Stephany Chang's clinching win on court six over Kasia Siwosz, 7-6, 6-0. Juricova's win at No. 1 singles over No. 46-ranked Lenka Broosova gave the first-year Bear her 25th victory of the season.
BEARS IN THE RANKS: The Golden Bears are ranked No. 8 as a team in the most recent (March 10) Campbell's/ITA (Intercollegiate Tennis Association) College Tennis Poll. Cal has five ranked singles players with 20th-ranked sophomore Marina Cossou at the top of that list. Senior Bojana Bobusic is No. 23 with freshman Jana Juricova close behind at No. 26. Senior Claire Ilcinkas holds the No. 42 ranking to give the Bears four in the top 50. Sophomore Mari Andersson is ranked No. 74 to complete the list and give the Bears five among the top 75 singles players in the nation. Cal's arsenal also includes two of the top 15 doubles teams in the country as Cossou and Ilcinkas combine for the No. 7 ranking; and Andersson and Juricova become the No. 13-ranked doubles team.
ANDERSSON NAMED PAC-10 PLAYER OF THE WEEK: Sophomore Mari Andersson was named Pac-10 Women's Tennis Player of the Week for the week of Feb. 9-15. Andersson helped the Bears to a 2-1 record and their first appearance in the ITA National Team Indoor Championship semifinal since 2004 as she won all three of her singles matches and two of her three doubles matches with freshman Jana Juricova. In singles play, Andersson didn't drop a set as she defeated three different ranked opponents. She opened up with a 6-2, 7-5 win over No. 111 Keri Wong of Clemson and followed that up with a 6-1, 6-4 victory against No. 27 Christy Striplin of Georgia Tech. She then finished off No. 100 Yvette Hyndman of Georgia, 7-6(2), 6-0. In doubles, Andersson and Juricova went 2-1 on the second court as they defeated Clemson's duo of Bek and Hadzismilimovic, 8-4 in the opening round and got an 8-5 win over Hickey and Striplin of Georgia Tech in the quarterfinal. Andersson was named to the ITA National Team Indoor All-Tournament Team and also received Cal's Muscle Milk Student-Athlete of the Week award that same week.
ON COURT - NO. 32 TEXAS: The Longhorns (5-4, 1-0 Big 12) have won three consecutive matches after opening the season with a 2-4 record. Last time out, Texas took a 5-2 victory over in-state rival No. 24-ranked Texas A&M in Austin, Texas. No. 104-ranked junior Vanja Corovic returns after receiving All-Big 12 honors in 2008 and leading the Longhorns to a 20-7 record. Corovic and senior Marija Milic are ranked No. 26 this season, compiling a 5-2 record together on the top doubles court. Sophomores Amanda Craddock and Caroline Larsson are in an 11-way tie for the No. 79 ranking. The pair has won nine matches together in duals. The Bears and Longhorns have a 23-match history with each other with Cal leading the all-time series, 12-11. The last time the two teams met, Cal won in 2007 by a 6-1 margin.
ON COURT - NO. 14 ARIZONA STATE: The Sun Devils (8-3, 3-0 Pac-10) had their five-match winning streak ended by No. 10-ranked USC yesterday (March 11) and suffered its second consecutive setback in a 4-3 loss to No. 9 UCLA today. Even so, Arizona State leads the conference with a flawless 3-0 record in Pac-10 play. No. 3-ranked sophomore Kelcy McKenna has amassed a 28-5 singles record this season on her ascent to the top of the rankings. Fellow sophomore Micaela Hein is ranked No. 79 with a 13-7 record this season. Hein and McKenna combine to form the No. 10-ranked doubles team in the nation with a 6-2 dual-match record and a 17-4 overall record on the season. Senior Laila Abdala and junior Nadia Abdala are ranked No. 50 in doubles with an 8-2 record in dual matches. The Bears own a 35-13 lead in the all-time series with Arizona State and have won the last seven meetings.
POWER OF THE PAC: Eight Pac-10 teams hold rankings in the latest Campbell's/ITA College Tennis Poll of NCAA Division I Women's Tennis teams--making the Pac-10 one of the toughest leagues in collegiate women's tennis. Cal leads the way with the No. 8 ranking; followed closely by No. 9 UCLA and No. 10 USC. Stanford checks in next at No. 11 with Arizona State at No. 14 to give the conference five teams in the top-15 alone. Washington holds the No. 36 spot with Oregon at No. 57 and Arizona at No. 59. Only Washington State remains unranked. Last year, Cal and UCLA battled it out in the NCAA team championship match to give the conference full control of the national title. Three Pac-10 teams made the NCAA quarterfinals and four made it as far as the round of 16. The conference also produced two NCAA singles championship quarterfinalists and the doubles national champion among its 10 ITA All-Americans. Four of those All-American were Bears including currently active senior Claire Ilcinkas and sophomore Marina Cossou as well as Susie Babos and Stephanie Kusano.
INDOOR HONORS: Senior Claire Ilcinkas and sophomore Mari Andersson were each named to the 2009 ITA National Team Indoor Championship All-Tournament Team. Andersson held the third-court position while Ilcinkas took fourth-court honors. The two each went 3-0 in singles matches at the annual team tournament and picked up two wins each with their doubles partners as the Bears advanced to the semifinal match for the first time since 2004. The pair was joined by four other singles players and three doubles teams on the all-tournament team. Representing the top court was Chelsey Gullickson of Georgia, who was also named the tournament's most outstanding player. Court two honors belonged to Duke's Ellah Nze. On court five, Georgia had Naoko Ueshima while Shannon Matthews of Notre Dame rounded out the singles players on court six. All three doubles teams came from Northwestern: Georgia Rose and Lauren Lui on the top court, Maria Mosolova and Keri Robison on court two and Samantha Murray and Elena Chernyakova on court three. Ilcinkas and Andersson became the first two Bears to receive all-tournament honors at the Indoor Championships.
CAL AT THE ITA INDOOR CHAMPIONSHIPS: The Bears made their fourth consecutive appearance at the indoor championship and advanced to the semifinal for the first time since 2004. Cal has now won its opening match in seven of its last nine visits to Madison, Wis. for the annual tournament. The Bears rank sixth among all teams for most wins at the championship with 24 and are only one of 11 teams that can claim they have made it to the final of the championship, earning runner-up status in 2000. In the second year of its existence, senior Claire Ilcinkas and sophomore Mari Andersson earned honors on the Indoor Championship All-Tournament Team; Ilcinkas on the fourth singles court and Andersson on the third.
FALL 2008 REVIEW: The Bears were highly successful in fall individual tournaments in 2008. Senior Bojana Bobusic advanced to the Wilson/ITA Northwest Regional Singles Championship match and earned an automatic berth to the ITA National Indoor Championships along with All-Americans sophomore Marina Cossou and senior Claire Ilcinkas. Freshman Jana Juricova put her name on the map as she posted a team-best 17-2 overall singles record. She won the Saint Mary's Invitational singles title and the ASU Thunderbird Invitational singles title and joined forces with Rachael Dillon to win the doubles championship at the Saint Mary's Invitational as well. Senior Marion Ravelojaona returned from a leg injury a year ago to claim the Cal Nike Invitational Blue Flight singles championship in the early fall.
HEAD COACH Amanda Augustus: In just her first season at the helm for the Golden Bears, head coach Amanda Augustus led Cal to a program-best finish as the NCAA championship runner up in 2008. Augustus recorded a 21-6 overall record and helped Cal to a third place finish in the Pac-10 with a 6-2 conference mark. The Bears completed the season with the No. 3 ranking, which was also the highest finish in Cal history. In just two seasons as a collegiate head coach, Augustus has solidified a 47-16 (.746) overall record and proven that her squads will be ones to be reckoned with, producing four ITA All-American selections in her first season at Cal and pushing the Bears to heights not reached before. As a player, Augustus earned All-American honors six times (twice for doubles, four times for singles) and All-Pac-10 honors in each of her four years. She teamed with Amy Jensen to capture the NCAA title in both 1998 and 1999 and became the first tandem to win back-to-back doubles championships.