Cal Wins Pac-12 Tennis Championship
SAN DIEGO - California captured its first Pac-12 tournament championship on Monday when Julia Rosenqvist clinched a 4-2 victory over top-seeded UCLA at the Barnes Tennis Center.
The third-seeded Golden Bears, who took home the 2014 conference title prior to the inception of the Pac-12 tournament, also earned the Pac-12's automatic berth to the NCAA tournament.
"I'm just really proud of the girls, our coaching staff and everyone who's supported us," Cal head coach Amanda Augustus said. "It's been a lot of work on and off the court this year to get us to this point. We were just so happy to be here, and then we wanted to do as well as we could.
"After our win yesterday against Stanford, I hadn't realized they'd won all the other Pac-12 tournament titles. And now today, this is our first conference championship in this format, which is exciting. It's cool as an alum and as a coach to lead this program to make history at Cal for our athletic department and for our tennis program. It's still quite fresh. It hasn't sunk in yet. I'm proud of a great team effort all the way around today."
Rosenqvist, a senior, defeated Elysia Bolton, 6-7, 7-5, 6-1, at court-three singles to secure the win and snap the Bruins' 11-match winning streak. The win also gave the Bears a 2-2 split in the season series between the teams.
Cal improved its record to 17-6. UCLA's record moved to 19-4, with the Bears handing the Bruins two of their losses this spring.
Rain pushed back the start of the match from 12 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., and once the match finally began, UCLA took the early lead by winning the doubles point. First, Cal's Haley Giavara and Valentina Ivanov fell to Abbey Forbes and Jada Hart, 6-2, on court one. The Bruins clinched the point when Bolton and Abi Altick edged Cal freshman Jada Bui and sophomore Erin Richardson, 7-5, on court three.
But the Bears bounced back in a big way in singles.
On court one, Giavara, ranked 62nd, faced a familiar opponent in the eighth-ranked Forbes, who had beaten the Cal sophomore in all three of the teams' previous meetings this season. The Bruin also took a 3-0 lead in the first set on Monday. But Giavara, a San Diego native, clawed her way back to win the set. She later used a powerful forehand to close out the match, 6-4, 6-2, and tie the final, 1-1.
Cal senior Anna Bright followed with a 6-0, 6-3 victory over Annette Goulak on court six to give the Bears a 2-1 lead. But UCLA's Vivian Wolff soon topped Bui on court four to tie the contest, 2-2.
The Bears grabbed the lead back at 3-2 when Hannah Viller Moeller, another talented Bear playing in her first Pac-12 Championship, beat Sasha Vagramov, 6-2, 6-3, on court five.
The final came down to three-setters on court two – on which Ivanov battled the 50th-ranked Hart – and on court three, with Rosenqvist eventually deciding the match.
"We've been so close to beating great teams during my entire career at Cal," she said. "This team has so much potential, and today we just battled. It all came from the heart.
"We're all super happy, and this gives us so much confidence right now. NCAAs are coming up. And we're not too cocky, but this win gives us so much strength and positivity going forward."
Cal now awaits the announcement of the NCAA tournament field on May 3 to find out its next opponent.