Bears down Arizona visitors

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When the No. 10 Cal women's tennis team was squaring off against No. 13 Arizona State on Saturday, there were occasional blasts of gunshots coming from nearby Edwards Stadium, where a high school track meet was being held.

On the courts at Hellman Tennis Complex, no firearms were necessary to create explosions. The tennis rackets provided all the firepower necessary for a firecracker of a match.

The Bears (14-5, 5-1 in the Pac-10) squeezed past the Sun Devils, 4-3, in a match that lasted just over four hours to complete a weekend sweep over the visiting Arizona schools.

On Friday, Cal blanked undermanned Arizona, 7-0. The Wildcats (15-5, 2-2) played with only five players and forfeited one singles point and one doubles match due to the incomplete lineup.

In the Bears' matchup with Arizona State (13-5, 3-2), Cal managed to snatch the doubles point after the No. 3 partnership of Jana Juricova and Mari Andersson defeated the No. 18 pair of Kelcy McKenna and Micaela Hein, 8-5.

In singles, Cal won three consecutive singles matches to seal the victory and avenge their loss in Tempe, Ariz., three weeks ago.

"I think Jana and Mari are back on track, playing more aggressively together and taking more chances," Cal coach Amanda Augustus said. "We played on a more consistent level this weekend than previous weekends."

The match was a dogfight, and endurance and stamina played a large role in the courts.

All three remaining courts after the Bears clinched the game went to the third set; Andersson went into a tiebreaker with No. 11 Jacqueline Cako, losing the set 7-6 (2-7). Fellow senior Marina Cossou also had a tiebreaker that lasted nearly 20 minutes in the second set, losing the set to Michelle Brycki, 7-6 (8-10).

"I had a match point to close the match, but Jacqueline's tough," Andersson said. "It's fun to play these kinds of players because you just know you are going to have a good match."

Adding to the length of the match on Saturday was a controversial call on court 5 between Cossou and Brycki. With Cossou only two points from winning the match, the court stopped their play for nearly 20 minutes for a review from the head referee. As a consequence, the halt cut Cossou's rhythm and momentum; Cossou eventually lost the third set, 7-5.

After a three week slump with a 2-4 record, Cal seemed to right the ship just in time for the Pac-10 Championships and NCAA tournament in the coming weeks. Only three games, all at Hellman, are left in the regular season.

"We needed two wins and got the two wins," Augustus said. "We're at home, and we will hopefully get a little better and move toward the NCAAs."

The Bears take on Washington next at home this Friday at 1:30 p.m. The Huskies have won their last two matches, but are only 2-4 in the conference. Their last loss, a 5-2 decision, came against Arizona State on March 25.


Seung Y. Lee covers women's tennis.

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