Juricova shines but Card drops Cal
Women's Tennis: Cal vs. StanfordOn April 16th, Cal Women's Tennis lost 5-2 to Stanford.
Monday, April 18, 2011
Category: Sports > Spring > Tennis (Women's)
After misplacing an easy shot during the second set on Saturday, Jana Juricova threw her racket to the floor. Normally calm and collected, the No. 1 player in the country cracked for a split second during her underachieving performance at the Big Slam.
Dogging out a three-set victory over Stanford's No. 3 Hilary Barte to preserve her perfect record this season, the Slovakian was the lone bright spot for the No. 9 Cal women's tennis team. The Bears fell, 5-2, to the No. 2 Cardinal at Hellman Tennis Complex.
Stanford (23-0, 8-0 in the Pac-10) clinched its second consecutive regular season Pac-10 title and extended its winning streak - which started February 2010 - to 42 matches. Cal (17-5, 6-2) finished third in the conference, behind the Cardinal and No. 6 UCLA. The Bears have not beaten Stanford since April 18, 2009.
Cal fell to the Cardinal in identical fashion to their earlier matchup on March 5, losing the doubles points and the back four courts. In both matches, only Juricova and senior Mari Andersson in the front two singles courts snatched points from the Cardinal.
The Bears were again at a disadvantage from the start Saturday after losing the doubles point. Following a split on the back two courts, the No. 1 duo of Juricova and Andersson failed to complete their comeback against No. 2 Barte and Mallory Burdette, losing 8-6.
Losing the doubles point was a mortal wound to Cal's chances at an upset. The Bears now had to win four out of six singles matches against possibly the deepest lineup in the nation. One hour into the singles play, Cal was only leading on one court.
Juricova lost her first set, 6-1, to Barte in large part due to her inability to get the ball over the net. After a lengthy conversation with Augustus in the locker room, Juricova came back in the second set much more assertive and comfortable with her shots and positioning. She came back to win, 1-6, 6-3, 6-4.
"In the first set, she started really aggressive, as she always does," Juricova said. "By the second set, I was the one who changed roles, being aggressive, and not giving her time to do what she did before."
But unlike Juricova, the rest of the lineup could not muster a comeback. Stanford's Kristie Ahn and Stacey Tan sailed past senior Marina Cossou and sophomore Annie Goransson, widening the score 3-0. Freshman Anett Schutting made a last-gasp comeback against No. 15 Nicole Gibbs late in the second set but ultimately lost, giving the match-clinching point to the Cardinal.
"We are still looking at the right mix at the bottom four courts in our lineup," Cal coach Amanda Augustus said. "It's just converting and getting the sets. They're all right there, and we need to get them over the hump."
Seung Y. Lee covers women's tennis.
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