Cruising in Style, Bears Greet Desert Foes

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As the No. 8 Cal women's tennis team practiced Thursday in preparation for its matches against the Arizona schools, coach Amanda Augustus decided to use Susie Babos' playlist to give the team some musical inspiration.

A slow rock ballad suddenly blared from the megaphone, and a shriek could be heard from Babos as she ran off the court towards her music player while the team and Augustus laughed loudly.

The Bears are enjoying themselves and have little reason not to as they head into today's match against No. 13 ASU and tomorrow's tilt with Arizona at Hellman Tennis Center.

In the past month, Cal notched its first victory against Stanford since 2003, its first win against UCLA on the road in four years, and most recently a 5-2 win over William and Mary on Wednesday.

The two upcoming matches are the second and third in a four game home stand for the Bears. In stark contrast, both the Sun Devils and the Wildcats will be playing their first road matches of the spring.

"I think we're really excited to be on the road," ASU coach Sheila McInerney said. "We have a young team, so the upperclassmen will give them a pretty good idea what to expect. Cal's beaten us a number of times (at Hellman), and we've gotten wins usually at our place, so we look forward to coming up (to Berkeley) with a difficult challenge."

The two squads have seen each other several times already throughout the year, and the last time the two teams were in a tournament was the ASU Thunderbird Invitational where Bears' freshman Marina Cossou took home the first-place trophy.

Cossou, fresh off an upset over the Tribe's No. 11 Megan Moulton-Leavy, may once again step onto court No. 1 for Cal as Babos, who usually fills the position, tries to recapture her strong play of the past.

"What she's doing is really impressive," Babos said. "Beating Megan was huge for her. She was given a chance to secure her spot in the NCAAs and with that win she probably did."

There is a lot of additional uncertainty for the Bears' lineup this weekend as junior Bojana Bobusic awaits to hear test results from doctors. The team's wins leader hurt her ankle in her singles match against William and Mary, and Augustus may play her today depending on her condition.

"What I tell them is that I want them all to be ready to play if asked at anytime in both singles and doubles, so hopefully we have 10 players ready to go if someone's hurt or out," Augustus said.

The team's depth will play a big role for both matches. The bout with Arizona will be Cal's third match in four days, and the team is well aware of the threat of fatigue.

"Every match we do the exact same preparation, so we treat it the same way regardless of what happened the day before, and that's key," Rachael Dillon said. "Obviously you're going to be tired, but we're fit girls, we can handle it."


Contact Jimmy Tran at [email protected]

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