Bears Host Baylor With Shot at Upset of Their Own

Photo: <b>Senior Claire Ilcinkas</b> sports an 8-2 singles record in dual matches this spring and a 7-2 mark in doubles.
Emma Lantos/File
Senior Claire Ilcinkas sports an 8-2 singles record in dual matches this spring and a 7-2 mark in doubles.


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After being upended by No. 13 Stanford last Saturday, the No. 7 Cal women's tennis team has a chance for revenge in the form of an upset of its own.

The Golden Bears (8-2, 2-0 in the Pac-10) fell to the Cardinal, 4-3, and now are ready to bounce back against No. 5 Baylor today at 10 a.m. at the Hellman Tennis Complex in Berkeley.

"The best part about losing to Stanford is that we get to play Baylor right after, another top team, so hopefully we learned our lesson (Saturday) and can use that for the rest of the season as something to learn from," coach Amanda Augustus said.

The Lady Bears (6-3) arrive coming off a 5-2 win over No. 19 Michigan last Friday. Last time Cal faced Baylor was in the semifinals of last season's NCAA tournament, when the Golden Bears won 4-3 and then-junior Claire Ilcinkas dominated Jana Bielikova on court four in straight sets.

Last weekend against Stanford, however, proved to be more of an obstacle for Ilcinkas. With the overall score knotted at 3-3, the senior surrendered a 5-3 lead in the third set of her singles match by losing four straight games.

As a result, the Ilcinkas took away a valuable lesson that she will apply toward her encounter with the Lady Bears today.

"I was disappointed with the fact that I was one game away from winning my match and did not close out," Ilcinkas said. "The biggest lesson I can draw from my match is that I need to be more aggressive when I am ahead and to come finish the point at the net."

Like Ilcinkas, the rest of the Golden Bears cannot afford to give anything less than full effort against Baylor. Augustus stressed that in order to beat the Lady Bears, Cal cannot doubt its potential.

"The only thing that went wrong (against the Cardinal) is that we didn't play aggressive enough when we were up," Augustus said. "We will practice some shots before Baylor. We just need to process mentally how to stay in the position to win."

The key, as Augustus points out, will be whether or not the Golden Bears can maintain a confident rhythm throughout the entire match, refusing to let Baylor take the driver's seat.

"We need to use the loss against Stanford as a motivation to come out hungry against Baylor," Augustus said. "When we are put in a position to win we need to make different shot choices. We can't just wait for the other girl to miss."

After its disappointingly close loss last weekend, Cal feels more motivated than ever for this upcoming match against a highly ranked team.

"We have confidence to beat (Baylor)," Ilcinkas said. "The Stanford loss gave us an outlook of what top team matches are going to look like. The more we have tough matches, the more we will improve. Even though we lost, we all learned and improved in different areas. We also showed a lot of heart and spirit and we are ready to fight against Baylor."

Tags: CAL WOMEN'S TENNIS, CLAIRE ILCINKAS, AMANDA AUGUSTUS


Contact Lauren Bachelis at [email protected]



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