May 20, 2008
TULSA, Okla. -
The No. 8 California women's tennis team will be represented by four singles players and one doubles team in the 2008 NCAA Division I Women's Tennis Singles and Doubles Championships at the Michael D. Case Tennis Center on the campus of the University of Tulsa in Tulsa, Okla. The singles championship will be played out over a field of 64 players while the doubles championship will involve 32 teams. The Golden Bears will send four players to the singles championship for the first time since 1993 when Cal sent Pam Nelson, Veena Prabhakar, Jennifer Poulos and Lisa Parks. Play begins with first round singles on Wednesday, May 21.
Leading the pack for Cal is fifth-seeded freshman Marina Cossou. Cossou holds the No. 4 ranking in the latest ITA polls and completed the dual match season with a 19-6 record, 32-9 overall in her first year at Cal. She will take on Baylor's No. 25 Zuzana Zemanova in a 3:30 p.m. (Pacific) match. Zemenova is the 2005 NCAA Singles Champion.
Senior Susie Babos takes on Northwestern's No. 53 Lauren Lui in another first-round match at 4 p.m. (Pacific). Babos won the 2006 singles title and is 3-0 in first round matches over the course of her career. As Cal's only NCAA singles champion, the No. 20-ranked Babos can lay claim to two other individual titles, taking the 2006 and 2007 All-American Championship crowns. As a senior, Babos completed dual play with a 13-12 record, going 27-18 overall.
Babos' fellow senior, No. 35-ranked Cristina Visico will make her first appearance in the NCAA Singles Championship and will match up against Katarina Tsang of North Carolina in a 4:30 p.m. (Pacific) match. Visico played exclusively on the third singles court in dual matches and compiled a 16-8 record. Overall on the year, she is 28-14, including several wins acquired at the 2007 Wilson/ITA Northwest Regional Championship, where she made an appearance in the final match.
In another 4:30 p.m. (Pacific) match, junior Claire Ilcinkas will face Csilla Borsanyi of Florida. Ilcinkas holds the best singles winning percentage of any Bear with a 33-8 overall record. Her 33 wins are also a team high and her 19-4 dual match mark is also a team-best. Ilcinkas played from courts four and five throughout the course of the dual season and advanced to the Pac-10 Singles Championship semifinal.
Cal's No. 12-ranked duo of Babos and senior Stephanie Kusano will open up play in the doubles championship with a Thursday (May 22) match against No. 35 Elena Gantcheva and Kristina Nedeltcheva of UNLV. Babos and Kusano hold a 23-15 overall record as a pair this season and played exclusively from the top court in dual matches, recording a 15-11 record. Cal has won the doubles championship four times, including twice back-to-back by head coach Amanda Augustus and partner Amy Jensen in 1998 and 1999. Jensen and Claire Curran later teamed up to win the 2000 title. The Bears' Raquel Kops-Jones and Christina Fusano won the doubles championship in 2004; Cal's last NCAA doubles title.
The Bears are coming off a loss in the team championship final to No. 7 UCLA. Cal's appearance in the NCAA Championship final was a first for the women's tennis program after advancing to the NCAA semifinal on seven occasions. First-year head coach Augustus guided the Bears to a 21-6 overall dual match record and a third place finish in the Pacific-10 Conference with a 6-2 league record.
For more information, complete results and scores from the 2008 NCAA Division I Women's Tennis Singles and Doubles Championships, please visit University of Tulsa's Tournament Central Page.