There will be a flurry of activity at the Hellman Tennis Complex this weekend as Cal's men's and women's tennis teams host the ITA Kickoff Weekend.
The annual tournament is held at 15 sites across the country, with four schools competing at each venue. The winner of the two-day event at each site advances to the ITA National Team Indoor Championship.
The Bears are one of the host sites and seeded first on both the men's and women's side. The men's event goes first, with the No. 14 Bears hosting No. 38 Boise State Friday at 10 a.m. The following match will pit No. 20 Michigan against No. 35 Santa Clara. The championship and consolation matches will be played Saturday.
Then it will be the women's turn, with the No. 7 Bears taking on No. 59 Fresno State at 10 a.m. on Sunday. In the second match, No. 41 Saint Mary's will play No. 51 UNLV. The losers will meet in the consolation match Monday morning at 10 a.m. with the championship match to follow.
The women's draw will have some familiar faces, as both Fresno State and Saint Mary's took part in the Cal Winter Invitational last weekend. The Bears swept that competition, as sophomore Zsofi Susanyi won the singles title and teamed up with freshman Klara Fabikova to take the doubles event.
Susanyi enters the weekend as the No. 7 singles player in the country. Teammate Anett Schutting is ranked No. 9, giving the Bears two of the top-10 singles players nationally. Susanyi advanced to the NCAA semifinals last season as a freshman, and both her and Schutting made it to the semifinals of the USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships in New York during the fall season.
Cal has two other ranked singles players - freshman Lynn Chi at No. 109 and senior Annie Goransson at No. 110. But the Bears also lost 2011 NCAA singles champion Jana Juricova to graduation.
"Zsofi and Anett had a great fall. We have a strong returning group," Cal coach Amanda Augustus said. "We have two really good freshmen this year. They've really stepped up. I think we're going to have a deep team."
Although Schutting played No. 1 singles last weekend at the Cal Winter Invitational, Susanyi figures to assume that role for most of the season, including this weekend.
"Anett played a bit of No. 1 last weekend, but Zsofi will play No. 1 this weekend," Augustus said. "Zsofi has the experience. She played No. 1 last year for a bit when Jana was out hurt. She understands playing that position. She learned a lot from Jana. She's ready for it."
Augustus said while it looks like Susanyi and Schutting are set as the top two players, it's Nos. 3-6 that are still fluid. Doubles is still competitive too, and with promising freshmen like Chi and Fabikova in the mix, it may take a while to sort out the Bears' lineup.
"We may try a couple of different lineups," Augustus said. "This is the time of year to figure out what our strongest lineup is."