SoCal Trip Brings Cal Mixed Results

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The No. 10 Cal women's tennis team's trip down to Southern California was no Disneyland ride.

The Bears' annual contests against No. 13 USC and No. 8 UCLA are always a tough string of matches as the season is slowly coming to its end. And this year was no exception; Cal came out of the City of Angels with mixed results.

On Friday, the Bears clawed the Trojans open in a 5-2 victory at the David X. Marks Tennis Stadium. The next day, however, the Bruins chomped down on Cal, 4-3, at the Los Angeles Tennis Center.

The Bears (12-5, 3-1 in the Pac-10) started both matches identically by losing the doubles point. With a one-point disadvantage, Cal faced an uphill battle heading into singles matches. The Bears' recent slump - losing five of their last six doubles matches - has concerned coach Amanda Augustus, who has been putting in extra hours to fix the problem.

Cal's performance in singles this weekend had mixed results. Against USC (11-5, 1-2), the Bears won five of the six singles points to overturn the doubles point disadvantage and win the match with relative comfort. However, against UCLA (12-5, 2-1), Cal lost three consecutive singles matches to set the loss in stone.

Considering the Trojans have two top-25 singles players and the Bruins have none, it was unfortunate for the Bears that they could not muster the same type of singles performance on Saturday to complete a weekend sweep.

Even through Cal's tough stretch in the past few weeks, there was one player that maintained a perfect level of performance. No. 4 Jana Juricova has kept a perfect record in singles the entire season; she came from behind to beat the country's No. 1 player, USC's Maria Sanchez, 2-6, 6-2, 6-1, and cruised past UCLA's Noelle Hickey, 6-1, 6-1. Juricova has not dropped a regular season singles match since last March's loss to Stanford's Hilary Barte.

Her victory over Sanchez, who maintained a 22-game winning streak until Friday, avenged her loss at the ITA National Indoors Championship singles title match last November. This season, the Slovakia native was able to topple two No. 1 players off their thrones, first against Barte on March 5 and Sanchez this weekend.

This weekend was the last regular season away trip for the Bears. For the next three weeks, Cal will be playing at home against five opponents, including the Big Slam versus Stanford.

Next weekend, the Bears will host Arizona and No. 16 Arizona State. Cal has its eyes set keenly on the Sun Devils after losing 4-3 in Tempe, Ariz. on March 12.


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

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