May 19, 2009
COLLEGE STATION, Texas -
The No. 9-ranked (eighth-seeded) California women's tennis team (22-5, 7-1 Pac-10) fell in a 4-0 defeat to No. 3 Duke (29-3, 11-1 ACC) in the 2009 NCAA Division I Women's Tennis Championship final Tuesday (May 19) at the George P. Mitchell Tennis Center. The Golden Bears complete their season as the national runner-up for the second consecutive year and will now turn their attention to the NCAA singles and doubles championships beginning Wednesday (May 20) with first round singles matches.
Cal knew it had a long road ahead of it as Duke seized the doubles point to open the match. Facing a 5-4 deficit at court three, senior Bojana Bobusic and freshman Stephany Chang were locked in their sixth deuce point with Ellah Nze and Reka Zsilinszka, but a couple of strong plays by the Blue Devil duo swung momentum Duke's way. The Devils eventually put the match away with an 8-4 win. At the top court, the No. 7-ranked tandem of sophomore Mari Andersson and freshman Jana Juricova had earned match point, up 7-5, but were unable to finish as the Devils completed an 8-5 win at No. 2 doubles. Andersson and Juricova were named to the all-tournament team for their performance at the top court throughout the championships.
Fighting to even the match at five-all, No. 35 sophomore Marina Cossou and senior Claire Ilcinkas hit a setback as Ilcinkas pulled up with a calf injury. After a short timeout, Ilcinkas returned to the court but the Bear duo fell back, 6-4. Even hobbled by the injury, the Bears took one more game off the No. 53-ranked team of Mallory Cecil and Jessi Robinson, but it was not enough as Duke came away with the 8-5 win and the doubles point.
The Devils took the upper hand in singles matches by winning the first set on all but one court. No. 30-ranked Zsilinszka notched the first point for Duke when she defeated No. 41 Andersson at the third singles court, 6-1, 6-2. Zsilinszka had a 5-1 lead in the second set but Andersson fought to earn a break before Zsilinszka was able to put the match away to give Duke a 2-0 lead.
With No. 54 Ilcinkas out after the injury, the Bears shifted the bottom half of the lineup to put No. 32 Bobusic on court four with Chang at court five. Senior Marion Ravelojaona was inserted at No. 6 singles and faced Robinson in her first match since April 26 in the Pac-10 Invitational Tournament. Robinson took a 6-2 win in the first set but Ravelojaona bounced back with a strong opening to the second set. Up 4-1, Ravelojaona allowed Robinson to earn several breaks to even the set at four-all. Robinson turned that momentum into a 6-4 finish to give the Blue Devils a commanding 3-0 lead in the match.
Almost simultaneous to the action on court six, Chang was fighting to come back from a one-set deficit to No. 122 Mang at court five. Chang was able to come up with three games before Mang tightened up to stop any chances of a Cal comeback as she finished off Chang in a 6-1, 6-3 win. In unfinished matches, No. 11 Juricova was down a set and 3-2 at the top court to No. 6 Cecil; No. 26 Cossou was up one set and down 4-2 in the second to No. 37 Nze; and No. 32 Bobusic had fought her way to a six-all tie in the second set after surrendering a 6-0 score in the first to No. 91 Granson.
The Bears will now look ahead to the 2009 NCAA Division I Women's Singles and Doubles Championships beginning with the first round of singles matches tomorrow (May 20) at the Mitchell courts. Five Bears were selected to compete in the singles tournament including one of the top seeds in Juricova. Joining Juricova are Cossou, Andersson, Ilcinkas and Bobusic. Juricova and Andersson will also be participating in the doubles tournament as will be Cossou and Ilcinkas. Please check CalBears.com for updates and information.
No. 3 Duke 4, No. 9 California 0
2009 NCAA Division I Women's Tennis Championship All-Tournament Team