May 17, 2008
TULSA, Okla. -
The No. 8 California women's tennis team (20-5, 6-2 Pac-10) defeated No. 1 Northwestern (29-2, 10-0 Big Ten), 4-2, in a quarterfinal match at the 2008 NCAA Division I Women's Tennis Championship today at the Michael D. Case Tennis Center in Tulsa, Okla. The Golden Bears will advance to the NCAA semifinal for the seventh time in school history to face No. 5 Baylor (32-2) in a 10 a.m. (PT) match on Monday, May 19. Cal earned a spot as one of the final four teams in the championships for the second consecutive year by avenging an early-season loss to the Wildcats and breaking Northwestern's 23-match winning streak.
Cal senior Susie Babos made things official for the Bears with her three-set come-from-behind victory over No. 5 Maria Mosolova on the top court. Babos fell behind in the set count, losing 6-3 in the first, but came back to win both the second and the third sets by the same score. Right before Babos finished up, Northwestern's No. 11 Georgia Rose took out freshman No. 4 Marina Cossou on the second court to bring the Cats within a 3-2 striking distance. Two points, however, would be all Northwestern would get.
Babos said, "I told myself that whatever it takes, I can't get off the court before the team is in a position to clinch. I needed some luck to finish it, as I looked up at the score at one point and saw Claire (Ilcinkas) up 5-1 and 15-Love. I said to myself, 'Oh my God, I want to finish before her.'"
The upperclassmen led the way for the Bears today as junior No. 92 Bojana Bobusic kicked off the scoring with a 6-1, 6-3 win against Suzie Matzenauer on the sixth court. Bobusic's win tied the match score at a point a piece after the Bears lost out on the doubles point for the second match in a row. Senior Stephanie Kusano put her court-five match in the books with a 6-4, 6-2 defeat of Nazlie Ghazal to give Cal the 2-1 lead.
Senior No. 35 Cristina Visico put Cal up 3-1 with her 6-0, 6-3 win over No. 32 Samantha Murray on court three, to set Babos up for the team victory. With the match completed, junior Claire Ilcinkas' court-four match was suspended while she was up 5-1 in the third set.
California head coach Amanda Augustus said, "We knew it was going to be an unbelievable battle. I'm really proud of the girls and how hard they fought today."
For the second match in a row, the Bears overcame the loss of the doubles point to win their match. Cossou and Ilcinkas easily took out Matzenauer and Murray on the second doubles court, 8-2, to knot up the doubles point after No. 54 Bobusic and Visico fell in an 8-5 loss to Ghazal and Mosolova on the third court. But the Bears found themselves locked in a struggle to claim the go-ahead point as the top court went right down to the wire. However, No. 12 Babos and Kusano couldn't hold off No. 19 Lauren Lui and Rose, losing by an 8-5 score as well.
The Bears have faced Baylor one other time in history, falling by a 6-1 count in 2006. For complete scores and results from the 2008 NCAA Division I Men's and Women's Tennis Championships, please visit University of Tulsa's NCAA Tennis Tournament Central Page.
No. 8 California 4, No. 1 Northwestern 2