Anett Schutting solidified her place as the third option for the No. 8 Cal women’s tennis team, beating three top-20 players en route to a second-place finish in the Pac-12 singles championship. Schutting’s appearance in the final was a high water mark for the squad, which came away from Ojai, Calif. with inconsistent results in its last match before NCAA championships.
The arc of Schutting’s season has closely mirrored the Bears’ own fortunes, underscoring the sophomore’s importance to the team. After struggling in Cal’s losses in early February, Schutting went on a 10-match winning streak as Cal ran through the Pac-12. Earlier this month, she was not able to secure wins against USC and Stanford, two teams that won close matches against the Bears.
In the Pac-12 singles bracket, Schutting won two matches to earn a quarterfinal draw with Robin Anderson, a UCLA freshman ranked No. 2 in the nation. Schutting lost the first set before winning the second set at love; Anderson did not take the court for the third set, retiring to push Schutting into the semifinals.
Schutting’s biggest win came against Mallory Burdette, a Stanford junior who had posted a 4-0 record against Cal on the year. After dropping the first set to the No. 5-ranked All-American, Schutting roared back to take the match, 1-6, 6-3, 6-2.
Ultimately, Schutting was ousted in the final by Nicole Gibbs, the No. 1 seed in the tournament. Gibbs’s victory was part of a trend of Cardinal dominance: all five Bears in the singles championship were knocked out by their Stanford counterparts.
Jana Juricova was denied her first-ever Pac-12 title, losing in three sets to Stanford’s Stacey Tan in the round of 16. And for the second time in a week, Burdette beat freshman Zsofi Susanyi in straight sets, while Gibbs trumped Tayler Davis and Annie Goransson on the way to the championship.
Stanford’s success extended into the doubles championship, where Burdette and Gibbs beat Juricova and Susanyi 8-5 in the quarterfinals. Cal’s top doubles team of Goransson and Schutting fell in the semifinals to the eventual champion, Kaitlyn Christian and Sabrina Santamaria of USC.
In the doubles invitational, Davis paired with freshman Laura Posylkin in her first collegiate doubles matches to win the title. The unseeded duo snagged a pair of 9-7 victories in the final two rounds, giving Cal (17-6, 8-2 Pac-12) its only championship of the weekend.
Although Schutting fell short of giving Cal a marquee championship, there is no doubt that she undermined the notion that Juricova and Susanyi are requisite for the Bears’ success in the postseason, which begins in less than two weeks.
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