BERKELEY – Pac-12 champion California continued its perfect attendance in the postseason when it earned a sixth seed in the NCAA Championship and the right to host first-round opponent Fairleigh Dickinson as well as Pepperdine and LSU in a regional at the Hellman Tennis Complex. The sixth-ranked Golden Bears have now been selected to all 33 team tournaments in NCAA history. They bring a record of 18-4 and a 12-match winning streak into Friday’s 1 p.m. PT match against the Knights (13-4).
Cal also hosts a first-round-match between 24th-ranked Pepperdine (18-4) and 40th-ranked LSU (14-13) at 10 a.m. PT on May 9 at Hellman. The winners of the two first-round matches meet in the second round at noon PT on May 10 at Hellman. After the second round, the NCAA team tournament shifts to the Dan Magill Tennis Complex in Athens, Georgia, where the University of Georgia will host the event from May 15-20.
“We’re honored to host the first two rounds of the NCAA Championship,” Cal head coach Amanda Augustus said. “It’s been something we’ve been fortunate enough to do consistently, but it takes a lot of work every year to make that happen. It’ll help our team a lot especially going into final exams. We’re happy to host a team like Pepperdine that we’re familiar with and FDU and LSU. It should be a great weekend of tennis next weekend.”
This marks the ninth consecutive year that Cal will host opening NCAA action, including the first and second rounds from 2008-14 and regionals from 2006-07.
Cal is one of six Pac-12 teams in the NCAA field, including fifth-seeded and top-ranked UCLA (21-2), 11th-seeded and ninth-ranked Stanford (16-2), 16th-seeded and 13th-ranked USC (16-7), 23rd-ranked Arizona (17-5) and 24th-ranked Arizona State (18-7).
Regarding tournament seeding, Augustus said, “There were some upsets in the ACC last weekend, so it’s hard to say how the computer sorted everything out. There are a lot of teams that have a shot to go all the way, and I think we’re in that mix. It’s one round at a time, and if you want to win the tournament, you’ve got to beat everybody else that’s in the tournament, so we’ll just prepare as we have – one match at a time. We’re excited at this opportunity. This is the postseason, and we’re ready to go.”
Cal has never played FDU in women’s tennis. The Bears have a 1-0 all-time record against LSU and a 29-6 all-time record against Pepperdine.
Tickets for the NCAA first- and second-round matches in Berkeley will cost $10 for adults as well as $5 for seniors 65 and older, youths high school age or younger, and students with valid ID from the four participating institutions. Tickets can be purchased (cash only) at the Stow Plaza gate at the Hellman Tennis Complex on the day of each match.
NCAA Singles and Doubles Championships
Emblematic of its depth and success this season, sixth-ranked Cal placed four Golden Bears in the NCAA singles championship field, the NCAA announced on Wednesday. Senior Anett Schutting, junior Zsofi Susanyi, sophomore Lynn Chi and freshman Denise Starr all earned at-large invitations to the 64-player tournament. Additionally, the NCAA announced that Maegan Manasse is a singles alternate and the pair of Schutting and Chi is an alternate for the 32-team NCAA doubles tournament.
The singles and doubles competitions will be conducted May 21-26 at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex in Athens, Georgia, following the conclusion of the NCAA team championship, which runs from May 15-20. Georgia will serve as host.
All matches shall be the best-of-three sets. Regular scoring and a 12-point tiebreaker at six- games-all will be used for all matches.
This is the third consecutive year that Schutting and Susanyi have received NCAA singles invitations. In the 2012 tournament, Susanyi, as a freshman, reached the semifinals, while Schutting fell in the round of 64. Last season, Schutting – as the eighth seed – suffered an upset in the opening round, while Susanyi advanced to the round of 16.
Schutting, who is Cal’s highest-ranked player in singles at No. 19, is one of eight players designated as Nos. 9-16 seeds in this year’s singles tournament. She brings a record of 27-11 into the postseason, which for Cal begins on May 9 against Fairleigh Dickinson in the first round of the NCAA team tournament in Berkeley. In her most recent action, Schutting reached the singles semifinals of the Pac-12 Championships’ main draw. Ranked 20th, Susanyi has compiled a 24-9 singles record.
Starr, who plays No. 1 singles for the Bears, has a singles mark of 20-10 and a ranking of 31st. She reached the quarterfinals of the singles main draw at Pac-12s. Chi has a No. 25 national ranking and a 31-9 singles record. Like her doubles partner, Chi reached the singles championship’s semis at the conference tournament. The 42nd-ranked team of Schutting and Chi – which currently has a 14-7 record – also advanced to the doubles championship semifinal round at Pac-12s and is fifth on the list of alternates.
Manasse also needs some luck to get into NCAA singles, as she is the third alternate in that tournament. The freshman is ranked 60th in singles and has a 32-5 record heading into the postseason. She reached the semifinals of the singles invitational at Pac-12s, falling to 85th-ranked sophomore teammate Klara Fabikova.
Scouting the Bears
The streaking Bears last loss on March 8 to Stanford, 5-2 at home
Cal avenged that setback on April 19 at Stanford in the regular-season finale with a 6-1 win that also clinched the Pac-12 crown
Ranked 87th, sophomore Klara Fabikova – the April 1 Pac-12 Player of the Week – has a record of 32-10
The tandem of Chi and Schutting (14-7) is ranked No. 41 this week
The pair of Manasse and Starr (10-1) – which suffered its first loss at Pac-12s – is ranked 47th in doubles
The duo of Schutting and Manasse (10-5) is ranked 52nd in doubles
Starr and Kelly Chui (4-4) are ranked 70th in doubles
The pair of Fabikova and Susanyi (4-2) is ranked 83rd
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 Knights
Fairleigh Dickinson (14-3, 4-0 NEC) repeated as NEC champion with a 4-0 win over LIU Brooklyn on April 19
The Knights are on an eight-match winning streak; they last lost on March 25 at then-No. 66 Princeton, 4-0
Freshman Ksenija Tihomirova – FDU’s court-one singles player – has a 17-10 singles record and has won four straight matches
Jonathan Buchman is in his second year as FDU’s head coach
Scouting the Tigers
LSU has a 14-13 overall record and 3-10 record in the Southeast Conference
The Tigers had a four-match winning streak ended in 4-0 loss to then-No. 6 Georgia on April 18 in the SEC Tournament quarterfinals
Freshman Joana Vale Costa, the Tigers’ top singles player, is ranked 74th in the ITA poll and has an 11-8 record
Julia Sell is in her second season as LSU’s head coach
Scouting the Waves
Pepperdine (18-4, 9-0 in the WCC) won the WCC championship by beating Saint Mary’s, 4-2, in the WCC Tournament final on April 26
The Waves are riding a 14-match winning streak; they last lost on Feb. 25 at Memphis (4-3)
Pepperdine’s ranked singles players are No. 26 Lorraine Guillermo, No. 88 Ale Granillo and No. 124 Matea Cutura
In doubles, the pair of Granillo and Guillermo is ranked 75th and the duo of Michaela Capannolo and Yuki Chiang is ranked 78th
Pepperdine’s Gualberto Escudero is in his 37th year as head coach
Last Year in the NCAA Team Tournament
Eighth-seeded California ended its run for the team title at the 2013 NCAA Championships when it dropped a 4-2 quarterfinal result to top-seeded Florida on May 19 at the Khan Outdoor Tennis Complex in Urbana, Ill. The Golden Bears trailed 3-2 in the waning moments of the match, with 70th-ranked freshman Lynn Chi leading the Gators' No. 89 Brianna Morgan (Florida) on court four, 0-6, 6-1, 4-1. But that match became moot when Cal senior Annie Goransson fell to 116th-ranked Caroline Hitimana, 6-3, 6-2, on court six to wrap up the contest.
The Bears ended their team season with a 19-6 record, while Florida improved to 26-2.
Last Year in NCAA Singles and Doubles
Under a sunny, Midwest sky, the season ended for Zsofi Susanyi and California, as the sophomore lost to Clemson’s Yana Koroleva, 7-5, 7-6(6), in the 2013 NCAA Women’s Tennis Singles Championship round of 16 on May 24 at the Khan Outdoor Tennis Complex/Atkins Tennis Center.
The fifth-ranked and fifth-seeded Golden Bear had won five consecutive matches before her run in with the Tigers’ Koroleva, who is ranked 16th by the ITA and seeded 9-16 at NCAA singles. Susanyi ends her sophomore season as an All-American in singles. She is now a two-time All-American, including last year, when Susanyi reached the semifinals of the NCAA Singles Championship.