Cal Makes 23rd Consecutive NCAA Postseason Appearance: For the 23rd-year in a row, the California women's tennis team has been invited to compete in the NCAA championships. The No. 14-ranked Golden Bears (16-8 overall, 4-4 Pac-10) finished the regular season alone in fifth-place in the highly competitive Pac-10 conference. The Bears lost their final two matches of the regular season on the road at No. 6 USC, 5-2, and at No. 8 UCLA, 4-3. Prior to that, Cal had won three straight matches and eight of its previous 11 contests.
As the No. 11 seed overall in the 64 team field, Cal is hosting one of 16 regional sites in this year's NCAA tournament. Illinois State, Fresno State, and Sacramento State will travel to Hellman Tennis Center this weekend to determine which team will advance to the NCAA Round of 16 in Athens, Ga. on May 20.
NCAA Regional Match Format and Ticket Info: First round action will begin this Saturday at 9 a.m. when Fresno State (20-3) plays Sacramento State (23-3) at Hellman. After that match is completed, Cal will play Illinois State (18-3) at 12 noon. The winners of Saturday's contests face off in a second round match at 12 noon on Sunday. The winner of the regional will travel to the Dan Magill Tennis Complex in Athens, Ga. for the Round of 16 on May 20.
Tickets will be available in advance or on the day of the event. Prices are as follows: adult tickets are $5.00; tickets for children, seniors, or students with proper ID are $3.00. There are no complimentary tickets available for this event. For more ticket information, please call 1-800-GO-BEARS.
NCAA Postseason History: The Golden Bears are one of only three teams in the nation, along with Stanford and UCLA, to participate in all 23 NCAA tournaments since its inception in 1982. Overall, Cal owns a 60-22 (.732) cumulative record at the NCAAs. The Bears have advanced to the "Sweet 16" 19 times in the program's history and 18 times in the last 19 years. Last season, Cal traveled to College Station, Tex., and defeated Army, 4-0, and Texas A&M, 4-0, to win the regional and then defeated North Carolina, 4-1, and USC, 4-1, in Gainesville, Fla., to advance to the NCAA semifinals for the fifth time in school history. Cal lost in the semifinals to Stanford, 4-1, to end the season.
Brogan's Legacy: In her 26 years at Cal, head coach Jan Brogan has molded the Golden Bear program into one of the best in the country, guiding the Bears to 23 NCAA appearances, three AIAW showings and 18 Top 10 finishes since 1982. Brogan has also produced four national champion doubles teams, 53 All-Americans, 16 first team All-Pac-10 selections and four conference player-of-the-year honorees. She is the winningest collegiate female tennis coach of all-time, currently boasting a 486-195 (.714) career dual-match record. Her continued dedication to excellence earned her the Wilson/ITA National Coach of the Year award in 1990, in addition to three ITA Northwest Region Coach of the Year honors in 1988, 1991 and 1993. She has also been named conference coach of the year eight times during her career, six consecutive years from 1982-1987 ('82-86 NorPac, '87 Pac-10) and twice more in 1992 and '94 (Pac-10). Brogan has been a member of the ITA Board of Directors, ITA Operating Committee, NCAA Championship Tennis Committee and is the co-chair of the ITA Sport Science Committee.
Pac-10 Championships in Review: Cal senior Raquel Kops-Jones made Golden Bear history at the 2004 Pac-10 Individual Championships in Ojai, Calif., April 22-25. Kops-Jones became the first Cal woman to ever win the Pac-10 singles championship, ringing-up five consecutive straight-set victories to claim the title. She defeated Stanford's Alice Barnes, 6-3, 6-4, in the finals to take home the crown. In doubles action, Kops-Jones and fellow senior Jieun Jacobs advanced all the way to the finals before losing, 8-6, in a hard-fought match against Stanford's Alice Barnes and Erin Burdette. In the invitational draw, Cal sophomore Jessica Shu advanced all the way to the singles finals before falling in the championship round, 6-2, 6-1, to Stanford's Anne Yelsey.
Pac-10 Honors Bestowed Upon Bears: In a vote by conference coaches, Cal senior Raquel Kops-Jones was named the Pac-10 Player of the Year. Sporting an impressive 27-6 overall record and 15-5 dual-match record in singles competition, Kops-Jones is the first Cal woman to ever receive the honor. Cal senior Jieun Jacobs and freshman Sasha Podkolzina were both selected honorable mention All-Pac-10.
NCAA Championship Individual Selections: The NCAA Division I Women's Tennis Committee has selected the individuals who will compete in the singles and doubles portion of the NCAA championships. In singles competition, two Cal players have been selected: senior Raquel Kops-Jones and freshman Sasha Podkolzina. This will be Kops-Jones' third consecutive trip to the singles championship. The doubles team of Kops-Jones and fellow senior Jieun Jacobs will represent Cal in doubles competition. Last season, Kops-Jones teamed with former Golden Bear Christina Fusano to win the 2003 NCAA Doubles Championship. The singles and doubles championships will be held May 24-29 at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex in Athens, Ga.
Bears in the Rankings: Cal senior Raquel Kops-Jones is the No. 1-ranked women's player in college tennis -- again. Kops-Jones, who has been ranked among the top five players in the nation since ending last season ranked No. 5, climbed to No. 1 in the rankings on Mar. 9 this year and remained in the top spot for nearly a month before falling to No. 4 on Apr. 6. In the latest rankings, she is back at the No. 1 spot after blasting through the competition at the 2004 Pac-10 Individual Championships, recording five consecutive straight-set victories and taking home the first women's Pac-10 singles title in Cal history. Kops-Jones' overall singles record this season now stands at an impressive 27-6.
Singles Doubles No. 1 Raquel Kops-Jones No. 7 Raquel Kops-Jones / Jieun Jacobs No. 45 Sasha Podkolzina No. 47 Nicole Havlicek / Jody Scheldt No. 86 Jieun Jacobs No. 49 Raquel Kops-Jones / Sasha Podkolzina No. 124 Catherine Lynch
Cal's Superb Seniors Lead Team: Cal's five seniors, Raquel Kops-Jones (27-6), Jieun Jacobs (19-13), Nicole Havlicek (28-10), Catherine Lynch (23-13), and Jody Scheldt (15-11), together have amassed 112 match victories overall in singles play this season. In doubles competition, the No. 7-ranked senior duo of Kops-Jones and Jacobs is 17-6 overall and advanced to the doubles final of the Pac-10 championships before falling. The senior team of Havlicek and Scheldt, playing the No. 2 doubles spot, is 22-6 overall.
Havlicek's Stellar Play No Longer a Secret: Although unranked in the latest ITA rankings, Cal senior Nicole Havlicek has put together an impressive record this season. In singles competition, she owns a 28-10 overall record including an outstanding 19-5 mark in dual matches. Since the beginning of March, Havlicek has won 12-of-15 matches, and her record may have been even more impressive had she not retired due to injury in her loss to Arizona's Kelly Perry on April 10. Despite losing the final two dual matches of the regular season as a team, Havlicek won all four of her singles and doubles matches (teaming with fellow senior Jody Scheldt) at USC and at UCLA.
Jacobs Earns Postgraduate Scholarship Award: Cal senior Jieun Jacobs has been named a recipient of a $3,000 postgraduate scholarship awarded annually to Pac-10 student-athletes through the Pac-10 Postgraduate Scholarship Program. Two male and two female student-athletes at each Pac-10 school are given the award each year. Jacobs carries a 3.61 GPA as a history major, is currently ranked the No. 86 singles player in college tennis, and is part of the nation's No. 7-ranked doubles team alongside fellow senior Raquel Kops-Jones.
Dominant Victories and Narrow Margins of Defeat: The Golden Bears have collected 16 dual-match victories this season, and only one would be considered by a narrow margin. Fifteen of Cal's 16 dual-match victories this season have been by 5-2 scores or better. In fact, 10 of the victories have been by scores of 6-1 or better, and five have been 7-0 shutouts. Considering final team scores alone, the only close victory for the Bears this season was at Pepperdine, 4-3, on March 20. Conversely, three of the eight matches Cal has lost this season have been by a single point, including the 4-3 loss at No. 8 UCLA during the last weekend of the regular season.
Scouting Illinois State: The Illinois State Redbirds are making their second-straight appearance in the first round of the NCAA championships. Illinois State (18-3) earned an automatic bid to the NCAAs after winning the Missouri Valley Conference Championship on April 25. The Redbirds finished the regular season with a 9-0 record in conference play. Two of their three losses were against nationally ranked teams (No. 22 Illinois and No. 37 South Alabama). Last season, Illinois State lost in the first round of the NCAA championships to No. 9-ranked Virginia Commonwealth. Cal and Illinois State have never played each other.
Scouting Fresno State: The No. 16-ranked Fresno State Bulldogs are making their ninth consecutive NCAA postseason appearance. Fresno State (20-3) earned an automatic berth in the NCAAs after winning the Western Athletic Conference Tournament for the third straight time. The Bulldogs have been ranked as high as No. 10 during the year and spent nearly the entire season ranked among the Top 15 teams in the nation. Cal owns a 31-1 all-time record versus Fresno State, but the Bulldogs collected their first victory in the series this season when they defeated the Bears, 4-2, in Berkeley on Feb. 21.
Scouting Sacramento State: The No. 35-ranked Sacramento State Hornets are making their third consecutive NCAA postseason appearance. Sacramento State (23-3) earned an automatic bid to the NCAAs after winning the Big Sky Conference for the third year in a row. The Hornets enter the tournament with a program-best 18-match winning streak. All three of Sacramento State's losses have come to teams ranked in the Top 75. Cal defeated the Hornets, 5-2, in Berkeley on Jan. 30. Cal owns a 5-0 all-time record versus Sacramento State. The last time Cal played Sacramento State prior to this season was in 1977.