March 16, 2004
WHAT'S ON TAP: The No. 10 California women's tennis team travels south to take on Loyola Marymount and Pepperdine. The Bears are coming off a two week layoff in which they were able to rest, and hopefully get healthy, before starting a string of nine straight Pac-10 matches beginning next Thursday when the Bears travel to Washington.
A QUICK GLANCE AT THE BEARS' OPPONENT: After four straight Pac-10 match-ups, the Bears finally face two non-conference opponents. LMU enters the week after falling to Long Beach State last weekend, 4-3. The Lions are 3-7 on the season with wins over Marquette, Cal State Fullerton, and Temple. Pepperdine will host the Bears Saturday, with upset on their minds. The Waves were encouraged after almost defeating No. 5 North Carolina last weekend, falling 4-3. Pepperdine is led by No. 31 Natalie Braverman who defeated No. 16 Aniela Mjzis of UNC, 6-2, 6-2, last weekend.
KOPS-JONES NO. 1: Cal senior Raquel Kops-Jones was rewarded for her stellar play, becoming the No. 1 player in the nation by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association. Kops-Jones, who has been ranked No. 2 since the first poll of the year was unveiled Jan.13, moved to the top last week, after defeating three ranked opponents over a 10 day span, including No. 7 Daria Panova of Oregon and Stanford's Amber Lui. The native of Fresno, Calif., is 18-2 on the season, with five of those victories coming against athletes currently ranked in the ITA's Top 12. Her 18 wins, in just 20 matches places her ahead of the pace she set in 2003, where she finished, 44-15, good for a No. 4 ranking, nationally. Kops-Jones became the first African-American woman to win a major ITA singles title in the fall by defeating Stanford's Erin Burdette in the finals of the ITA All-American tournament Oct. 12. The senior also teamed with Christina Fusano last spring to capture the NCAA Doubles title.
LYNCH, JACOBS REACH 100 WIN MILESTONE: Catherine Lynch, who is tied for the team lead in victories (18), picked up her 100th career victory recently in a match against Arizona (Mar. 5). Her 6-1, 6-2 victory over Wildcat Kasia Jakowlew made her the second of the Bears six seniors to reach the 100 win plateau, the first behind Kops-Jones, who picked up her centennial victory in the round of 32 of the NCAA championships last season. Fellow senior Jieun Jacobs became the third Cal senior to hit the century mark, defeating Wendy Pilecka of Arizona State on March 6. Thanks to Jacobs 14-6 start, her career record currently stands at 100-44.
BACK ON THE COURT: Freshman Sasha Podkolzina, returned to action two weeks ago, after sitting out the previous three months with an assortment of ailments, including a bout with mononucleosis. Podkolzina has only played doubles, pairing with senior Nicole Havlicek, splitting four matches on court No. 2.
INJURY REPORT: As Podkolzina gets healthier, the Bears hope to mend two other big guns in their arsenal. Kops-Jones has been battling through a lower back injury since October, while 2003 team MVP Jody Scheldt has been sidelined with a right shoulder injury for the past three weeks. Getting Kops-Jones and Scheldt back to 100% is a crucial element in the Bears plans contend for the Pac-10 title.
BROGAN'S LEGACY: In her 25 years at Cal, Jan Brogan has molded the Golden Bear program into one of the best in the country, guiding the Bears to 22 NCAA appearances, three AIAW showings and 18 Top 10 finishes since 1982. Brogan has also produced four national champion doubles teams, 54 All-Americans, 15 first team All-Pac-10 selections and three conference player of the year honorees. She currently boasts a 470-187 (.715) dual match record, making her the fourth active winningest coach in NCAA history.