Eighth-Seeded Golden Bears Set to Face Georgia Tech in NCAA Round of 16

May 13, 2009


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THIS WEEK: The No. 9-ranked California women's tennis team (19-4, 7-1 Pac-10) continues its run for a return to the national championship match as the Golden Bears prepare to face No. 8 Georgia Tech (18-7, 9-2 ACC) in the round of 16 at the 2009 NCAA Division I Women's Tennis Championships. Eight-seeded Cal takes on the ninth-seeded Yellow Jackets in a 1 p.m. PT (3 p.m. local) match on Friday, May 15, at the George P. Mitchell Tennis Center in College Station, Texas, in hopes of extending a season-high eight match winning streak. Texas A&M University is serving as this year's site host for both the men's and women's championships. The Bears defeated Northeast Conference champion Long Island (10-8, 3-0 NEC) and No. 31 Texas (17-8, 10-1 Big 12) in back-to-back matches last weekend to advance to the championship site. The Bears recently celebrated the selection of five players to the Pac-10 All-Conference team, including freshman of the year, Jana Juricova, who earned first-team honors. Senior Bojana Bobusic, sophomore Marina Cossou, and sophomore Mari Andersson each made the second team with senior Claire Ilcinkas receiving all-conference honorable mention. All five players are also slated to compete in the NCAA singles championships taking place following the team competition. Live statistics and streaming video for all of the action can be found at http://www.aggieathletics.com/ncaa2009/tennis/stats.html.

TICKET INFORMATION: All-session tickets for all 12 days of the championship (May 14-25) are on sale now via the Texas A&M ticket office. Please call (888) 992-4443 or visit www.12manfoundation.com to order. All-session ticket prices are as follows: $103 for Stadium Club seating; $78 for adult general admission; and $35 for youth general admission. Individual day ticket prices are as follows: $12 for Stadium Club seating; $10 for adult general admission; and $4 for youth/students. Each individual day ticket is good for admission to all of the designated day's matches. Special rates for groups of 10 or more are available via the Texas A&M ticket office.

FIVE BEARS TABBED FOR ALL-PAC-10 HONORS: Five California women's tennis players were selected to the 2009 Pacific-10 All-Conference team as voted on by the league's coaches. Freshman Jana Juricova became the third Golden Bear to earn the Pac-10 Freshman of the Year award (Raquel Kops-Jones, 2001; Susie Babos, 2005) and received first-team honors. Joining Juricova with second-team selections were sophomore Mari Andersson, senior Bojana Bobusic and sophomore Marina Cossou, who takes home the second all-conference honor of her career. Senior Claire Ilcinkas received honorable mention to go with a second-team selection in 2008. The four first and second team selections give the Bears a total of 40 All-Pac-10 players all time (not including honorable mention selections). Previously, Cal had as many as three players selected to the all-conference team on three occasions, including last year as Babos joined Cossou and Ilcinkas. The trio was joined by Stephanie Kusano and Cristina Visico, who each received honorable mention. In 2007, Babos was selected to the first team with assistant coach Zsuzsanna Fodor with Nina Henkel receiving second-team honors. Cal's first triple selection came in 1999 when head coach Amanda Augustus headlined on the first team with second-teamers, Amy Jensen and Anita Kurimay.

SITTING NCAA PRETTY: A school-record five singles players were selected to compete in the 2009 NCAA Division I Women's Tennis Singles Championship. No. 11-ranked freshman Jana Juricova, No. 26 sophomore Marina Cossou, No. 32 senior Bojana Bobusic, No. 41 sophomore Mari Andersson and No. 54 senior Claire Ilcinkas each earned bids to the field of 64 with Juricova receiving a spot among the eight players seeded ninth through 16th. Cal's top two doubles teams of No. 7-ranked Andersson and Juricova and No. 35 Cossou and Ilcinkas each received bids as one of 32 teams selected for the doubles championship and will enter the tournament; with Andersson and Juricova receiving a spot as one of eight seeded teams. The singles and doubles competition will be conducted May 20-25 at the George P. Mitchell Tennis Center in College Station, Texas, following the conclusion of the team championship (May 15-19). Texas A&M University, College Station will serve as the host institution for the championships. Previously, Cal had sent as many as four singles players to the NCAA championships on three separate occasions. Most recently, the Bears were represented by four players in the 2008 tournament as Cossou and Ilcinkas were joined by Susie Babos and Cristina Visico. The Bears also had four players in the singles championship in 1992 and 1993.

CAL IN THE NCAA TOURNAMENT: The Bears received their 28th consecutive selection to the NCAA championship tournament this season. In 2008, Cal advanced to the team championship final, where it fell to UCLA; the furthest any Bear squad has ever ventured into the NCAA tournament. Previously, the Bears had made six other appearances in the NCAA semifinal match and had advanced to the quarterfinal on 11 other occasions. The five individuals selected to the singles field of 64 is the most the Bears have ever sent to the championship. Susie Babos lays claim to Cal's only singles NCAA title, as she won the crown in 2006. The Bears are owners of four NCAA doubles championships including two by head coach Amanda Augustus and Amy Jensen in 1998 and 1999. Jensen teamed with Claire Curran to win the title once more in 2000. In 2004, Christina Fusano and Raquel Kops-Jones took home Cal's fourth doubles championship trophy.

ON COURT - NO. 8 GEORGIA TECH: The Yellow Jackets (18-7, 9-2 ACC) have won 10 of their last 12 matches with the two losses coming in narrow 4-3 fashion. Georgia Tech defeated Jackson State and Mississippi in the first and second rounds to advance to the round of 16 for the fifth consecutive season. The Jackets won the 2007 NCAA championship and advanced to the quarterfinal last year. They were also winners of two consecutive ITA National Team Indoor titles and were vying for a third before Cal took the Yellow Jackets out in a 5-2 win on Feb. 14. Georgia Tech is led by No. 12-ranked freshman Irina Falconi and her team-best 30-10 singles record. Falconi went 16-8 in dual matches with a 12-5 mark at the top court. No. 45-ranked senior Christy Striplin is hot on Falconi's tail with a 29-12 singles record; 16-7 in duals and contributing primarily from court four where she is 11-3 this season. No. 61-ranked sophomore Noelle Hickey is next on the ladder for Tech with a 27-12 mark this season, matching Striplin's 16-7 record in dual matches. Defending NCAA singles champion No. 25-ranked junior Amanda McDowell has posted a solid 9-5 record at the second singles court and holds a 24-15 mark in all matches this season. In doubles play, Falconi and McDowell are ranked No. 11 together with a 13-10 record overall. 30th-ranked Hickey and Striplin lead the team with a 26-14 overall record. Falconi combined with sophomore Sasha Krupina, receive the No. 74-ranking and have posted a 10-2 mark at the second doubles court, with an 11-4 record overall. The Bears and the Yellow Jackets have met twice with Tech taking an NCAA semifinal victory in the first meeting en route to the 2007 NCAA championship. The Bears won the last meeting at the 2009 ITA National Team Indoor Championships to even the all-time series at one win apiece.

LAST TIME OUT: The Bears advanced to the NCAA round of 16 for the third straight season by getting two wins at the Hellman Tennis Complex last weekend. First, Cal took out Northeast Conference champion Long Island, 4-0, in first-round play. Then the Bears made short work of the Longhorns in a 4-1 second-round win over No. 31 Texas. Sophomore Marina Cossou earned her 25th singles win of the year against Texas and freshman Stephany Chang became the third Bear to break the 30-win barrier as she clinched the match against the Blackbirds. Senior Bojana Bobusic continued her leadership in the singles ranks as she posted her team-best 36th singles win of the year to clinch Cal's spot in the round of 16. Bobusic's win was also Cal's 100th dual singles victory of the year.

BEARS IN THE RANKS: The Bears are ranked No. 9 as a team in the most recent (April 28) Campbell's/ITA (Intercollegiate Tennis Association) College Tennis Poll. Cal has five ranked singles players with 11th-ranked freshman Jana Juricova at the top of that list. Sophomore Marina Cossou is No. 26 with senior Bojana Bobusic at No. 32. Sophomore Mari Andersson holds the No. 41 ranking and senior Claire Ilcinkas is ranked No. 54 to give the Bears five singles players among the top 55 in the nation. Cal's arsenal also includes three of the top doubles teams in the country as Andersson and Juricova combine for the No. 7 ranking; Cossou and Ilcinkas become the No. 35-ranked doubles team; and Bobusic teams with Juricova for the No. 54 ranking.

POWER OF THE PAC: Seven of the Pac-10's women's tennis 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. Conference champion USC leads the way with the No. 7 ranking but is followed closely by ninth-ranked Cal. No. 11 UCLA and No. 13 Stanford come up next with Arizona State at No. 30 to give the conference five teams in the top-30 alone. Washington checks in at No. 32 with Oregon at No. 70. Arizona held a ranking for several weeks this season and Washington State cracked the rankings for the first time on March 17 at No. 74. 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.

CAL AT THE PAC-10 CHAMPIONSHIPS: Senior Marion Ravelojaona advanced as far as the women's singles invitational final for the Bears at this year's Pac-10 Championships in Ojai, Calif. Sophomore Marina Cossou advanced to the main draw's singles semifinal where she fell to the eventual runner up. In doubles play, senior Bojana Bobusic and freshman Stephany Chang teamed up to advance to the quarterfinal of the main draw. The Bears have fared well historically at the Pac-10 Championships. To its credit, the California women's tennis program has produced six doubles champions and two singles title holders since the tournament's inception in 1987. Raquel Kops-Jones was the first Cal woman to earn the singles crown as she won it in 2004. Current assistant coach Zsuzsanna Fodor secured Cal's second singles title two years later in 2006. Cal's first doubles team to win the title did so in 1988 as Alissa Finerman and Tifany Silveria walked away with the championship. Keirsten Alley and Pam Nelson won back-to-back titles in 1993 and 1994 before current Cal head coach Amanda Augustus teamed up with Claire Curran to claim the championship in 1997. Kops-Jones and Christina Fusano became Cal's second back-to-back Pac-10 doubles champions as the won in 2002 and 2003.

BEARS COLLECT WEEKLY CONFERENCE HONORS: Three Bears have won Pac-10 Women's Tennis Player of the Week honors this season to give Cal nine such awards all time; the most of any Pac-10 team. Sophomore Mari Andersson won the award for the week of Feb. 9-15 and freshman Jana Juricova took home honors for the week of March 9-15. Senior Bojana Bobusic claimed the prize for the week of March 16-22 to make it the first time in school history that Cal has had three winners in the same season.

AUGUSTUS SELECTED TO LEAD USTA WOMEN'S SUMMER COLLEGIATE TEAM: Head coach Amanda Augustus was selected by the United States Tennis Association to coach the 2009 USTA Women's Summer Collegiate Team along with Princeton head coach Kathy Sell. The USTA began the summer program in 1996 as an elite training program for the top American collegiate tennis players. The teams will be named in May, after the NCAA championships and will include 12 men and 12 women from the top collegiate tennis programs in the country. This summer, for the first time, USTA Player Development will host two Pro Tour Transition camps--one for men and one for women--for the selected players. The men's camp will be held June 20-23 in Boca Raton, Fla. while the women's camp will be conducted July 6-9 in Atlanta, Ga.

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.

JENSEN RETURNS TO BERKELEY: A four-time All-American selection and two-time All-Conference selection while at Cal, Denver head coach Amy Jensen returned to face her alma mater as a head coach for the first time when the Denver Pioneers invaded Hellman Tennis Complex on March 19. The Bears emerged with a 5-2 victory. Jensen won the 1998 and 1999 NCAA doubles championship with Cal head coach Amanda Augustus and retained the title one more year as she won the 2000 crown with Claire Curran. Jensen served as Cal's assistant and associate head coach from 2001-2006 under the guidance of Jan Brogan. In her second season as head coach of the Pioneers, Jensen guided Denver to its finest season in school history with a 23-3 record, Sun Belt Conference championship and NCAA Tournament appearance. In 2007, Jensen led the Pioneers to a 14-9 record and third place finish at the Sun Belt Conference championship. While at Cal, she posted a career record of 105-52 in singles and a remarkable 94-29 record in doubles. She had a career high singles ranking of No. 9 and finished with a national doubles ranking of No. 2 for three consecutive years. Jensen graduated from Cal in May 2002 with a pre-med degree in integrative biology.

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 57-18 (.760) 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.

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