Cal women’s tennis prepares to host ITA Kick-Off Weekend

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After having secured titles at the Cal Winter Invitational last week, the No. 6 Cal women’s tennis team will look to prove that its awards could have been attained without shower forecasts spurring officials to cancel the rest of the event.

The Bears will have the opportunity to remind their adversaries that they are still a powerhouse, when they host the ITA Kick-Off Weekend on Friday and Saturday. Cal will begin its journey to the ITA National Women’s Team Indoor Championships on opening day by going up against Cal State Northridge. If Cal head coach Amanda Augustus’ squad beats the Matadors, the team will earn the opportunity to contest the championship match Saturday against the winner of the bout between Saint Mary’s and the University of Washington.

Having had less time on the court against other programs to prepare for the event, the Bears will hope to display a strong opening day performance. A victory will see the Bears head into the championship match with an edge of confidence.

Cal will be lead by junior Maegan Manasse, who is ranked fifth in the nation. Manasse has been in excellent shape this year, and she recently represented the United States at the Master’U BNP Paribas, where she won the doubles championship alongside Florida’s sophomore Brooke Austin. Manasse’s consistency on the court has paved the way for her to contest many semifinal rounds this season. The junior even won the singles title at the Cal Nike Fall Invitational back in October.

But her title haul at the fall tournament didn’t end there, as she also captured the doubles championship alongside junior Denise Starr. The No. 3 duo has established itself as one of the most formidable pairs in the nation, and should be expected to at least reach the championship match and put on a strong showing.

Senior Klara Fabikova can be counted on to put up a great match and notch some impressive results. During the fall campaign, Fabikova won the consolation singles title at the Oracle/ITA Masters. She capped off 2015 with the consolation singles title USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships.

While Fabikova will hope to continue her run of success in her final year with the program, freshman Olivia Hauger will look to resume her journey in becoming one of the next big names on the squad. Hauger teamed with Fabikova this past October at the USTA/ITA Northwest Regional Championships, where the pair made it to the doubles final.

Despite not having flexed its muscle very much this winter, Cal will head into the match as a favorite. In the meantime, Augustus’ team will attempt to remain unphased and work on their game in order to avoid any potential upsets early on in its spring campaign.

But if shower forecasts cause the ITA Kick-Off to be canceled as well, any potential awards for the Bears still wouldn’t make up for the valuable amount of experience that the squad would get out of a completing a tournament.

Contact Manny Flores at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter @manny_0.