Card's Home Streak Stands at 171 as Cal Heads to Big Slam

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Like the blaring techno music over Hellman Tennis Complex on Wednesday, the No. 6 Cal women's tennis team carried an energized vibe during its practice on Wednesday.

Although the team continuously emphasizes the "one-match-at-a-time" philosophy, the Bears (10-1) are not at fault if they are overlooking today's match against Sacramento State for Saturday's Big Slam against No. 2 Stanford.

After hosting the Hornets (6-1) at 1:30 p.m. today, Cal will hop across the bay to play Stanford at noon.

After winning the ITA Team Indoors Championships two weeks ago for the record 10th time, Stanford (11-0) is looking to reclaim the No. 1 ranking from Florida - despite the fact that the Gators lost to the Cardinal in the title game.

For the Bears to win in Stanford, Calif., they will require more than just their top performances.

The Taube Tennis Center is seen as an impenetrable fortress in women's tennis; Stanford has not lost a home game in the 21st century. Their record of consecutive home victories currently stands at 171 games.

The last time the Cardinal lost at home was on Feb. 27, 1999 against Cal, 5-4, when current Bears coach Amanda Augustus was a senior in Berkeley.

"It motivates all of us to win and become the first team in about 10 years to beat them there," sophomore Tayler Davis said.

The home record is no string of luck for the Cardinal. Year in, year out, Stanford has recruited the best players and maintains possibly the most talented team in the entire nation. This season, it has four players in the singles top 25, including No. 1 Hilary Barte and No.24 Mallory Burdette.

Barte has played several times against No. 4 Jana Juricova in the top court, a spectacle for any college tennis fans. Burdette is the third person in her family to play for the Cardinal. Both her sisters were four-time All-Americans.

"Jana has played Hilary many times, so they have a good rivalry," coach Augustus said. "Mari (Andersson) will probably play Mallory Burdette in the matchup. The Burdettes has a great legacy at Stanford. They'll just be great matchups in every position."

Although the usual college tennis matches has a low crowd turnout, the team expects a full house when they set foot on the courts.

"It's a different environment due to the rivalry," Davis said. "They have a lot of fans that come out, and they can get loud during the match."


Seung Y. Lee covers women's tennis. Contact him at [email protected]

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