Juricova, Andersson Win Doubles Title To Cap 2009 Run

Photo: Freshman Jana Juricova and doubles partner sophomore Mari Andersson won the NCAA Doubles Championship match.
Anna Vignet/File
Freshman Jana Juricova and doubles partner sophomore Mari Andersson won the NCAA Doubles Championship match.

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The drone of music and steady hum of conversation made it hard to hear coach Amanda Augustus over the phone, and senior Bojana Bobusic had to pause the interview several times to repeat her order.

About an hour before, the Cal women's tennis team had lost, 4-0, to Duke in the national championship match, but more pressing things that dwelling on the sweep were at hand. The Bears were in Texas, and it was time to get dinner.

"We haven't really had a chance to talk at all. We're grabbing some dinner right now," Augustus said. "We'll sit down a talk about it a little bit later."

Augustus is known for her lengthy post-game meetings, and after the meal was done, there was likely a very long team discussion.

But in Augustus' defense, there was a lot to be said.

It was a season that saw Cal defeat the No. 1 team in the country and lose just four matches in the spring season. The Bears fell to the Blue Devils in the team championship, but freshman Jana Juricova and sophomore Mari Andersson brought hardware home to Berkeley in the form of the NCAA Doubles Championship a few days later.

Cal had started off without graduated seniors Susie Babos, Cristina Visico and Stephanie Kusano, each All-Pac-10 players. But with the help of returning Pac-10 first teamer Marina Cossou and seniors Bojana Bobusic and Claire Ilcinkas, the Bears came roaring out to a 5-0 start and peaked with a No. 2 national ranking.

Then, the injury bug bit.

Cossou went down with a leg injury, sporting a protective boot while Cal saw its first chance at toppling Stanford at Taube Family Tennis Center in 10 years fade with a late surge by the Cardinal. The 4-3 comeback win by Stanford was hard. It got even tougher when the flu began to prey on the team, and freshman phenom Jana Juricova started sporting athletic tape on her banged up shoulder and leg.

"We had injuries and sickness that we had to deal with during the season and we still found a way to get through," Augustus said. "After last year, we lost three of our six starters. It could have been really easy for everyone to say, 'Oh, it's a rebuilding year.' But they really embraced the concept (of working) hard and improved themselves."

Juricova played through injury and illness, destroying nearly all comers on her march from unknown freshman to the No. 11 singles player in the country.

Cossou returned late in the season to help the Bears clinch second place in the Pac-10 and played alongside Juricova, Andersson, Ilcinkas, Bobusic and Chang as the six defeated three teams ranked higher than them in the NCAA tournament.

Juricova and Andersson officially ended Cal's season with their 6-3, 6-4 triumph over Cardinal rivals Hilary Barte and Lindsay Burdette in yesterday's doubles championship.

The Bears finish the season ranked No. 4 as a team, with the best young doubles team in the country and a singles lineup that will return all but two of the players who played in the national championship.

And after losing two national championships in a row, you can bet that Cal isn't planning on repeating that experience next season.

"I see big things for them," Bobusic said. "They can only learn from (the national championship match) and benefit as a person and as a player ... They'll look back at that experience and know what it's like. They have everything going for them to win a national championship."


Contact Katie Dowd at [email protected]

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