Cal Comes Close but Can't Topple House of Card

Photo: Jana Juricova was part of Cal's winning doubles effort. Juricova and her partner Mari Andersson clinched the doubles point with a 9-8 triumph over the Cardinal.
Nick Fradkin/Staff
Jana Juricova was part of Cal's winning doubles effort. Juricova and her partner Mari Andersson clinched the doubles point with a 9-8 triumph over the Cardinal.

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Although the Cal women's tennis team fell short of ending Stanford's 10-year winning streak at the Taube Family Tennis Stadium on Saturday, the Bears did succeed in snapping a slightly shorter Cardinal record­-keeping the match interesting until the end.

After Bojana Bobusic and Claire Ilcinkas tied the doubles score at 1-1, sophomore Mari Andersson and freshman Jana Juricova clinched the doubles point with a 9-8 victory. It marked the first time that the Cardinal had lost the doubles point in nearly a year.

"All things considered, we did well in doubles, which was really nice to see," Cal coach Amanda Augustus said. "That is something we've been working on, so we started off as we would want."

But in a match that took over five hours to conclude, No. 13 Stanford defeated the No. 7 Bears, 4-3, in one of the closest home matches that Stanford has seen in the last 10 years. It extended the Cardinal's streak of consecutive wins at Taube to 142, dating back to 1999.

The match came down to two seniors-Ilcinkas and Stanford's Jessica Nguyen-in the final singles match of the day with the teams locked at 3-3.

After Nguyen grabbed the first set, 6-4, Ilcinkas bounced back to claim the second, 3-6. And when Ilcinkas built a 5-3 lead on Nguyen in the third, it looked as though Cal might be on its way to defying recent history.

But Nguyen went on to rattle off four straight games, clinching the third set, the match and the win for the Cardinal.

"I was disappointed with the fact that I was one game away from winning my match and did not close it out," Ilcinkas said. "It's hard to know that all the effort I put into this match did not pay off. I really wanted to win this match for my team and the program."

Augustus added that the overall defeat was something of a missed opportunity, as the Bears were firmly in position to win the match.

"We at least put ourselves there, which is more than can be said for last year when we played down there," she said. "I am disappointed and they are all disappointed, but I think this is a good thing to have happen now and not the end of the season."

The second-year coach also sympathized with Ilcinkas and stressed that the match outcome might have been different had the senior exhibited a stronger belief in herself.

"I know Claire is disappointed," Augustus said. "She didn't want to have her last match at Stanford end like that, but she just needs to learn how to trust herself. The moment she does that, she can achieve amazing things. She is a very good player."

On Friday, the Bears wiped out Sacramento State, 7-0, which put their heads in the right place for Stanford's match. The silver lining for Cal is that this match against the Cardinal did not count in the Pac-10 standings. The Bears and Augustus have the next match against Stanford to look forward to, which will take place on April 18 at the Hellman Tennis Complex.

"The blessing in disguise in the loss is that the team will now work harder in each match and practice," Augustus said. "We will be really ready to go for the next match with Stanford."

Tags: CAL WOMEN'S TENNIS, AMANDA AUGUSTUS


Contact Lauren Bachelis at [email protected]



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