May 9, 2000
Berkeley, Calif. - With the postseason now here, the Cal women's tennis team (17-6 overall, 6-2 in Pac-10) begins its quest for a national title this week, hosting first-and second-round play of the NCAA regional tournament, at Hellman Tennis Center. Up first for the Bears on May 13 will be Pacific at 10 a.m. That match will be followed by Kentucky vs. Texas A&M at 2 p.m. The winner of each match advances to the second round, May 14 at 10 a.m..
NCAA REGIONAL BACKGROUND: The Bears are hosting one of 16 regional tournaments being held around the country this weekend. Sixty-four teams were selected for the tournament with the winners of each regional tournament advancing to the 2000 NCAA Division I Tennis Championships at Pepperdine University in Malibu, May 18-21. This is the second consecutive year the Bears have hosted a regional tournament.
CAL IN THE NCAA'S: Participating in the NCAA Tournament is familiar ground for the Bears as this is their 19th consecutive NCAA appearance. In fact, since the inception of the women's championships in 1982, Cal has advanced or earned an automatic berth in the Sweet 16, 17 of 18 years. The Bears have also made 11 quarterfinal appearances since 1983 and three Final Four appearances since 1985. This includes last year's run to the semifinals where the Bears were eliminated by eventual champion Stanford.
A QUICK SEASON IN REVIEW: The Bears opened the dual match season with six-consecutive victories, including back-to-back wins over then-No. 7 Duke and No. 9 Wake Forest. The Bears first loss of the year came at the hands of cross-bay rival Stanford in the final of the ITA Team Indoor Championships Feb. 20. Top-ranked Stanford continued to be a thorn in the side as the Cardinal defeated the Bears in all three meetings this year. Cal's other three losses came at a close margin of 5-4 and all at the hands of teams then ranked in the Top 10: No. 10 ASU, No. 4 Pepperdine and No. 8 UCLA. The Bears rounded out the season 17-6 overall and 6-2 in Pac-10 play, good enough for second in the conference.
A LOOK AT PACIFIC: The Bears face a familiar foe in the first round as they take on the Tigers of Pacific. Although the teams have not met since a 1997 9-0 Cal win, the Bears hold a commanding 27-0 edge in the overall series. The No. 71 Tigers enter Saturday's match 15-9 on the year and riding a four-match win streak. They are led by No. 99 sophomore Susanne Bertel, sophomore Christiane Barthel and freshman Anouk Sinnige. Sinnige has dominated the No. 3 spot for the Tigers at 14-2 and holds the team's best record at 18-5. Barthel has been equally as dominant, going 6-3 at No. 1 and 11-4 at No. 2. Bertel occupies the top spot for the Tigers, going 9-6 and 11-7 overall.
A LOOK AT KENTUCKY: The Wildcats come to Berkeley making their fourth straight NCAA appearance. At 12-10 on the year, the Wildcats will take on Texas A&M in their first round match. Cal and Kentucky have met twice before with the Bears taking both matches. This includes a 9-0 victory in the last meeting in 1996.
A LOOK AT TEXAS A&M: The Aggies enter their first round match against Kentucky having gone 14-9 on the year and boasting a No. 40 national ranking. The Bears and Aggies have also met twice before with Cal taking both matches, including a most recent 8-1 defeat of the Aggies in 1994.
BEARS ALSO QUALIFY INDIVIDUALS: In addition to their team tournament appearance, the Bears also have two singles players and two doubles teams set to participate in the individual portion of the NCAA Tournament. In singles, senior Amy Jensen will be making her second consecutive appearance while junior Anita Kurimay earned her first-ever invitation. Senior Claire Curran was named as an alternate. In doubles, Jensen will try to become the first woman ever to threepeat as NCAA doubles champion with partner Claire Curran, while Kurimay and her partner, senior Karoline Borgersen, will be seeing NCAA action for the first time.
BEARS DO IT WITH DOUBLES: It is rare to find one doubles team capable of winning a national title, but to find two on one team is simply amazing. With the doubles teams of Curran/Jensen and Borgersen/Kurimay ranked fifth and seventh in the nation, Cal is the only school to have two teams ranked in the Top 10. Although Borgersen and Kurimay sport the team's best record at 21-6, it was their fellow teammates Curran and Jensen who captured the prestigious ITA Rolex Indoor crown in February, the Bears first ever victory at the tournament. For their efforts, the duo was named ITA Doubles Team of the Month for February and was ranked the nation's top doubles duo during the month of February. As a team, the Bears are 44-17 in doubles during dual match play.
FRESHMEN MAKING IMPACT: As freshmen on one of the top teams in the nation, one would think Christina Fusano and Morisa Yang would be spending their inaugural campaign taking a backseat to their elder teammates. But as both Yang and Fusano have proven, they take a backseat to no one. Penciled into the lineup at No. 5 and No. 6, respectively, both have played huge parts in the Bears success during the 2000 season. Yang, despite some early up and downs, has settled into the lineup, winning eight of her last 13 matches. Fusano, perhaps the Bears most consistent player, posts the third-best record on the team at 25-10. After going 9-4 at No. 5 and 6-1 at No. 6, the frosh leads the team in win percentage at .714.
JENSEN TO LEAVE BEARS IN STYLE: Senior Amy Jensen will leave the Golden Bear, program this year as perhaps the most decorated player ever to don a Cal uniform. In her three years as a Bear the native of Brisbane, Australia, has captured two NCAA doubles titles, an ITA Rolex Indoors crown, has been named an All-American three times. And been a two-time US Open qualifier, all en route to amassing 101 career singles victories. Her three grand-slam titles ties her for a national record, while her 27-14 record is tops for wins on the Bears squad this season.
KURIMAY, BORGERSEN TOPS IN DUAL MATCH PLAY: With 17 wins apiece in dual match play, junior Anita Kurimay and senior Karoline Borgersen are large reason for the Bears recent success. Kurimay, ranked a season-high 18th in the nation, has split time at both Nos. 1 and 2 this year, proving to be effective in both spots. Having gone 9-4 at No. 1 and 8-1 at No. 2, her 17-5 dual match record is tops on the team. Borgersen, who checks in at a season-high 61st in the nation, has also been impressive this year, going 17-6 overall at the Nos. 3 and 4 spots. The senior has gone 7-3 at No. 3 and 11-3 at No. 4.
BROGAN WINNINGEST COACH IN CAL HISTORY: In the midst of her 22nd season at the helm of the Cal program, coach Jan Brogan is the most successful coach in Cal tennis history. With a 413-163 career record, Brogan reached a career milestone this season when on Feb. 16 the Bears defeated Wisconsin, 6-1, for her 400th career victory.