Cossou Returns to Singles Play as Bears Keep Rolling

Photo: Marina Cossou was back in action for the Bears against Oregon and Pepperdine after battling a foot injury. The No. 25 sophomore won both of her singles matches in two sets.
Anna Hiatt/Staff
Marina Cossou was back in action for the Bears against Oregon and Pepperdine after battling a foot injury. The No. 25 sophomore won both of her singles matches in two sets.

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Now just a week away from a match with Stanford that could possibly determine the conference crown, the No. 8 Cal women's tennis team has been dominating its home courts.

The Bears (16-4, 6-1 in the Pac-10) have won their last five matches, four of which have taken place at the Hellman Tennis Complex.

Last Saturday, Cal swept Oregon (9-12, 1-6), only to further its success yesterday against Pepperdine (10-11) with the same perfect score of 7-0. Not one player on the Bears lost a set all weekend.

This could have something to do with the fact that No. 25 sophomore Marina Cossou returned to singles play on courts two and three after a long battle with a foot injury.

Cossou dominated with senior Claire Ilcinkas in doubles and defeated the Ducks' Madelie Janse van Rensburg 6-1, 6-2 on Saturday and the Waves' Alexandria Walters 6-1, 6-2.

"It feels very good to get back on the court and be fully on the team," Cossou said. "I didn't feel any pain, so I was really glad. I am going to get more confidence with more matches, but (this weekend) was a good start."

Cossou's return may be just what Cal needs to claim the Pac-10 title.

"Having Marina back in the lineup is just huge for this team," coach Amanda Augustus said. "She was a huge part of last year's team. This is what we've been waiting for."

Senior Bojana Bobusic achieved her 15th straight singles victory, bringing her singles record to 33-7. In doubles, she and freshman Stephany Chang have come out with noticeable intensity, which has helped the Bears in their last several wins.

"Winning the doubles point was pretty big for us, and everyone winning in straight sets was nice, too," Bobusic said. "We've practiced lots of drills up at the net, reflexive volleys, several returns -- just the basics that you have to play in doubles to win."

Chang and No. 10 freshman Jana Juricova also triumphed on their home courts this weekend. On Sunday, Chang swept her Pepperdine opponent Angelia de Meistre 6-0, 6-0 in only 48 minutes.

"Stephany is a great competitor and that's why I recruited her," Augustus said. "That was really good to see."

Juricova has worked wonders for the team as well. Since Cossou's injury, Juricova has been playing at the top-court, bringing down opponent after opponent. With Juricova and Cossou finally on the top two courts again, Cal's future is looking bright.

"It was so nice to play with our lineup again," Augustus said. "It's been one thing or another for weeks and weeks now. I can't believe we're at the end of the season, but it's the perfect time to get everyone back on track."

After a weekend of success, the Bears look forward to a more competitive home match against the Cardinal next weekend.

"Next week will definitely be a good match," Ilcinkas said. "We've prepared well, and winning these last five matches in a row was really useful."


Contact Lauren Bachelis at [email protected]

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