BERKELEY – Off since competing in the ITA National Women’s Team Indoor championships, fourth-ranked California returns to the courts to take on No. 2 UCLA at 1:30 p.m. on Friday and No. 9 USC at noon on Saturday in a pair of nonconference matches in Los Angeles. The Golden Bears bring a 5-1 record on the trip south.
The Bruins currently sport an 8-1 record and the Trojans held a 5-2 record before its Tuesday match with San Diego State.
Cal Ready for Its Close Up
The Cal at UCLA match will air on the Pac-12 Networks, with Paul Sunderland (play-by-play) and Justin Gimelstob (analyst) calling the action.
The Bears moved up from No. 8 to No. 4 in the Feb. 11 ITA team rankings. Eight of the 11 Pac-12 teams are ranked in the current ITA poll, with four – No. 2 UCLA, No. 3 Stanford, No. 4 Cal and No. 9 USC – ranked in the top 10. Arizona State is ranked No. 28, Washington is at No. 40, Utah is ranked No. 49 and Washington State is No. 59.
Scouting the Bears
Six Golden Bears are ranked in the ITA singles poll
Manasse had won eight straight before losing in her last singles match at ITA indoors
Sophomore Lynn Chi (15-7), from Weston, Fla., is ranked No.66
Sophomore Klara Fabikova (17-5) – who has won eight-straight matches, including going three for three at ITA indoor championships – re-enters the poll at No. 84
Fabikova was ranked No. 23 in the lone ITA singles poll of the fall
Former NCAA doubles champion and All-American Amanda Augustus is in her seventh season as head coach at her alma mater
Associate head coach Cordell Ho, another Cal alum, is in his 17th season on the Cal women’s staff
Jan Brogan, who retired in 2007 after serving 29 years as the Golden Bears’ head coach, is Cal’s volunteer assistant coach
Scouting the Bruins
UCLA hosts Pepperdine on Wednesday at 1:30 p.m.
Five Bruins are ranked in singles: No. 2 and four-time All-American Robin Anderson, No. 9 Chanelle Van Nguyen, No. 22 Jennifer Brady, No. 27 Kyle McPhillips and No. 44 Catherine Harrison
Three UCLA pairs are ranked in doubles: No. 2 Anderson/Brady, No. 19 Brady/Harrison and No. 29 Harrison/McPhillips
Stella Sampras Webster is in her 18th season as UCLA’s head coach
Scouting the Trojans
The ITA ranks five USC singles players: No. 26 Sabrina Santamaria, No. 50 Zoe Scandalis, tied for No. 99 Giuliana Olmos, No. 118 Brynn Boren and No. 123 Gabriella DeSimone
Three USC doubles teams are ranked: No. 4 Scandalis/Olmos, No. 8 Boren/Zoe Katz and No. 26 Santamaria/Kaitlyn Christian
The duo of Christian and Santamaria won the 2013 NCAA doubles title and captured the last two Pac-12 doubles championships
Richard Gallien is in his 19th year as head coach at USC
Another match at the ITA National Women’s Team Indoor Championships came down to the wire with California’s Maegan Manasse in the spotlight. In a Feb. 9 semifinal between two top-10 powerhouses, the freshman battled Duke’s Marianne Jodoin in a match tiebreaker on court six. Down one match point at 9-8, Manasse fought back for a 9-9 tie, but ultimately the Blue Devil prevailed, and Manasse fell, 1-6, 6-3, 1-0(9). Cal – suffering its first setback of the season – lost, 4-2.
The eight-ranked and sixth-seeded Bears’ record stood at 5-1. Tenth-ranked and seventh-seeded Duke (7-0) advanced to the ITA indoor final at the Boar’s Head Tennis Club.
Cal dropped the doubles point to Duke. First, the Blue Devils’ Ester Goldfeld and Alyssa Smith topped freshman Denise Starr and senior Kelly Chui, 6-3, on court two. But the Bears’ duo of senior Alice Duranteau and sophomore Lynn Chi captured the court-three match against Jodoin/Annie Mulholland, 7-5, putting the focus on court one. There, Cal’s top team of Manasse and senior Anett Schutting forced a tiebreaker against Beatrice Capra/Hanna Mar, but the Bears wound up dropping the match, 7-6(4).
In singles, 15th-ranked freshman Denise Starr – playing for the first time as a collegian on court one – faced the nation’s third-ranked player in Capra. The Blue Devil won, 6-2, 6-2, and Cal trailed, 2-0.
Four of the six singles contests went to match tiebreakers, including on court five, where Fabikova beat Rachel Kahan, 6-4, 3-6, 1-0(3), to give Cal its first point. Junior and 16th-ranked Zsofi Susanyi then knotted the overall match at 2-2 when she defeated Smith in straight sets, 6-2, 7-5, on court four.
Chi – ranked 95th – lost to the 49th-ranked Mar on court three, 6-3, 3-6, 1-0(4), and the Bears fell behind, 3-2. Both the remaining matches – the 31st-ranked Manasse vs. Jodoin on six and then the 26th-ranked Schutting vs. the 45th-ranked Goldfeld on court one – went to tiebreaks. After winning her first set, 6-3, and losing the second, 3-6, Schutting trailed 4-3 in the tiebreak, when court six decided the match.
Cal returns to Berkeley to host Stanford in a nonconference match on March 1 at noon.