It's Ad-In for Bears, Who Play First Round of NCAAs at Home

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After celebrating the recent news of five Cal women's tennis players being selected to the Pac-10 All-Conference team, the Bears and coach Amanda Augustus have even more to look forward to.

No. 9 Cal (17-4, 7-1 in the Pac-10) swings into postseason play as it hosts the opening rounds of the NCAA Championships this weekend at Hellman Tennis Complex.

The Bears draw Northeast Conference champion Long Island (10-7, 3-0 in the NEC) in their first-round match today at 1 p.m. At 10 a.m., Texas (16-7, 10-1 in the Big 12) competes against Pepperdine (13-11) in an attempt to move forward in the bracket.

The winners of those two matches will face off at noon on Saturday, and the winner of that match will advance to play as one of the final 16 teams at the George P. Mitchell Tennis Center in College Station, Texas.

Making it to Texas is a huge goal for Cal, and the Bears have anticipated reaching that point for quite some time.

"If you win, you stay in. If you lose, you are out," Augustus said. "It's a different kind of pressure, but it is also very exciting because this is what we've been practicing and training for all year."

Though the Bears have never faced the Blackbirds, they certainly have a couple advantages.

"I think we'll be ready, but it's a matter of the first couple rounds," Augustus said. "We have to come out there and play our game and take advantage of our home court."

Another advantage is that if Cal can make it past Long Island, it will be seeing several familiar faces for its next match on Saturday against either the Waves or Longhorns.

Playing at the top court, No. 11 freshman Jana Juricova feels prepared for the tough competition on the road ahead.

"I've obviously never played NCAA before," Juricova said. "Everyone on the team is getting really excited. I am looking forward to a new experience. We played a lot of matches and have been practicing the whole week, even in the rain. I would say we are very prepared."

Augustus has no doubt that if the Bears execute everything they have learned throughout the season, they can come out strong against the Blackbirds. To accomplish that, though, Augustus needs some players to go an extra step in committing to their match.

"With Marina (Cossou) back healthy that is great, and then Jana is ready," Augustus said. "You never know who will jump out. This is a good opportunity for any one of the girls to clinch the match for the team. At this point in the year, it is about working together and doing the best they can for Cal.

"I'll be excited to see who is ready to step up."

Tags: CAL WOMEN'S TENNIS, 2009 NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS, AMANDA AGUSTUS


Contact Lauren Bachelis at [email protected]



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