March 25, 2002
BACK IN ACTION: After a 10-day layoff, the Cal women's tennis team is back in action this week with a trio of matches away from home. First up, the Bears will take on the University of Texas in Austin. Cal will then travel to Washington to initiate its Pac-10 season against rivals Washington State and Washington. Before taking last week off to rest and recuperate, the Bears throttled then-No. 16 Fresno State by a 6-1 score, winning all but one match.
PAC-10 PLAY BEGINS: This week, the Bears will renew their annual rivalry with Pac-10 schools Washington and Washington State, as the conference season kicks off. This season, the Pac-10 has decided to compress their conference schedule into the latter half of the season. Since the Pac-10 paces the rest of the NCAA conferences with its stiff competition, the move will enable the conference squads to prepare to face the challenges of the NCAA tournament in May.
SHE'S GOT IT COVERED: Sophomore Catherine Lynch has provided leadership and stability to the Bears' lineup this season, winning eight of her nine matches on the No. 4 court. She began by establishing herself in tournament play in the fall, where she posted a 12-4 record while becoming known for her tenacity and hard work (in honor of her work ethic, coach Jan Brogan has dubbed the ball machine "Catherine"). Lynch has moved up from court five last season, where she posted a 13-2 mark in dual matches, and an overall record of 26-12, to become a force to be reckoned within the middle of Cal's singles lineup.
ABOUT TEXAS: The 16th-ranked Longhorns have opened the season with a 10-4 record, and a perfect 6-0 mark in the Big 12 Conference. Texas is led by Vladika Uhlirova, the 21st-ranked player by the ITA, who has held down the top court this season with an 8-6 record. Uhlirova, who is one of three ranked Longhorn players, combines with Ziva Grasic to form Texas' top doubles tandem, having compiled a 10-4 record in 2002. The Bears and the Longhorns faced each other last season, with Cal taking the day by a 5-2 score. The women of Berkeley own a slight advantage over the Texans, with an 11-10 alltime record.
ABOUT WASHINGTON STATE: The 7-5 (1-2) Cougars are currently the 46th-ranked team by the ITA, and feature two ranked players in Ericka Perkins and Stacy McKenna. Perkins paces all Cougars with a ranking of 50, and McKenna checks in with a No. 72 ranking. The pair are also ranked No. 16 in doubles. The last time that Cal and Washington State met, Cal won all but two matches en route to throttling the visiting Cougars, 5-2. Cal has never lost to WSU, owning a 7-0 record against the Cougars.
ABOUT WASHINGTON: The Huskies are ranked 14th in the nation after winning their first Pac-10 match three weeks ago. The team now boasts a 13-3 record, and two ranked singles players and doubles tandems. Claire Carter (41st) and Darija Klaic (58th) pace the Huskies while sharing time at the top court, combining for a 13-3 record there. Carter and Klaic also combine to form Washington's top doubles tandem with an 8-6 record and a national ranking of 39. The last time that the Huskies and the Bears renewed their annual rivalry, Washington defeated Cal for the first time ever, taking a 4-3 squeaker in Berkeley last year. The Bears still own a 15-1 alltime advantage over the Huskies.
TWO WEEKS AGO AGAINST FRESNO STATE: The 6-1 win over Fresno State was the Bears' 28th-straight over a non-conference opponent at home. Cal, which has won four of its last five matches, also improved its lifetime winning streak over the Bulldogs to 29, and has never lost to a Fresno State squad.