The Cal women’s tennis team triumphed on Senior Day, blanking Fresno State 7-0 in the team’s last home match of the regular season. For the second time this season, the No. 10 Bears (17-5, 8-1 in the Pac-12) were flawless, capturing all three doubles matches and not dropping a set in six singles wins.
The Tuesday nonconference tussle at Hellman Tennis Complex was prefaced by a ceremony honoring the seniors – Jana Juricova, Stephany Chang and Catalina Visico – who were coach Amanda Augustus’s first full recruiting class as the Cal head coach. Emotions ran high among the few dozen spectators present.
“I thought I was going to cry,” Visico said. “I had four really amazing years here, so it was great.”
The Bears got off to a sluggish start in doubles, falling two games behind on the second and third courts. Anett Schutting, playing on the second court for Cal with Annie Goransson, facilitated a comeback in her doubles match, displaying well-honed craft at the net, including a pair of shots that helped Cal break serve and tie the match at 6. The pair won five of the final six games, taking the match 8-6 to give the Bears a 1-0 lead.
“I think they needed to work their way through it,” Augustus said of the early struggles. “Coaching wise, we stood back a little bit and let them sort it out.”
Once the singles matches began, there was no doubt that Cal would come out on top.
Juricova, ranked eighth in the nation, won the first nine points of her match against Marianne Jodoin and took the first set 6-1. The defending NCAA singles champion showcased her technique and versatility throughout the match and was on the verge of a major victory with a 5-2 lead in the second set.
Yet, Juricova stopped attacking late in the match, enabling her French-Canadian opponent to tie the set. The Slovakian senior rallied back, though, taking the final two games of the set to improve her record to 24-4.
“She can get into the match from any score,” Juricova said of Jodoin. “I should have been more assertive.”
Juricova’s late yips aside, the Bears overwhelmed the Bulldogs in all singles matches. Annie Goransson, the reigning Pac-12 player of the week, dominated in a 6-0, 6-2 victory on the fifth court.
Next to Juricova, freshman Zsofi Susanyi bounced back from a close loss to Danielle Lao of USC with a commanding 6-2, 6-2 win over Aishwarya Agrawal on the second court.
“She hit out on the ball more today, which is what she needed to do,” Augustus said.
The win over Fresno State (11-8, 3-0 in the WAC) gives Cal a winning streak going into its most important match of the season: a Saturday visit to the South Bay to take on Stanford. The Bears will earn a piece of the Pac-12 title with a victory, although the squad has not won at the Farm for over a decade.
The crucial matches could wait, though, as the Bears basked in the glory of a blowout victory under a luminescent Berkeley afternoon.