The No. 9 Cal women’s tennis team has swept all three of its opponents 4-0 thus far in the NCAA Championships. Cal coach Amanda Augustus does not expect a similar score for Saturday’s quarterfinal match against No. 1 UCLA.
“That’s almost near impossible … I’d be very surprised if it’s 4-0 in the next round,” Augustus said after the Bears blanked Georgia Tech on Thursday. “I’m pretty sure it will be 4-3 one way or the other.”
The top-seeded Bruins, who will face off with ninth-seeded Cal at 9 a.m. at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex in Athens, Ga., will surely be a tougher test than the Yellow Jackets (16-12). The Bears (20-6) scored early with two top-court doubles wins to take control of the match, which Augustus said was key.
“We knew we didn’t want to give Georgia Tech too much confidence, let them feel like they were getting some momentum,” she said. “We didn’t give them an opportunity to get into the match.”
Jana Juricova and Zsofi Susanyi anchored Cal’s lineup. The No. 15 pair triumphed 8-3 over the Yellow Jackets’ No. 23 tandem of Alex Anghelescu and Jillian O’Neill.
They’re very strong, especially up at the top of their lineup,” said Georgia Tech coach Bryan Shelton. “After we lost the doubles point, it was too much of a mountain for us to climb in the singles.”
Juricova, the senior ranked No. 8 in the country, knocked off O’Neill in singles too with a 6-2, 6-2 decision. Juricova went down two-love in the second set before rattling off six straight games to secure the win for the Bears.
Augustus was pleased to see Juricova clinch, as the senior has been steadily improving after a layoff due to injury. Susanyi, meanwhile, helped establish Cal’s momentum by snatching the squad’s first singles win and second point with a decisive victory.
The No. 13-ranked singles player crushed Caroline Lilley, 6-3, 6-0. It took a while to break Lilly’s powerful serve, but once the freshman did, there was no stopping her.
Anett Schutting also notched two wins on Thursday for the Bears. The sophomore teamed with Annie Goransson for an 8-4 doubles win. In singles, Schutting defeated Elizabeth Kilborn, 6-4, 6-1.
“The team’s goal today was to focus on their own court and try not to look at scoreboard and lose concentration,” Augustus said. “A win is a win. These matches are usually so tight, so the longer you can carry any momentum is better.”
Cal takes that momentum into another rematch with its Pac-12 rival. The squads have split their two meetings this season. On Feb. 24, UCLA (24-2) beat the Bears, 4-3, in Los Angeles — though Cal was missing Juricova. With the senior back in the lineup at Hellman Tennis Complex on April 13, the Bears got revenge with a 4-3 win over the No. 1 Bruins.
UCLA has likewise swept its three tournament opponents, the most recent victory over Rice on Thursday morning.
“We expect them to be prepared,” Augustus said. “We always have dragged out battles with them.”
Added Juricova, “the next team we’re going to play is going to be tougher, but I think we’re ready.
“Everyone is peaking right now.”