No. 16 Cal women’s tennis prepares for Pac-12 championship

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Julian Kilchling/Staff

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Disappointment in sports is natural. When things don’t go one’s way, it is easy to become discouraged, forget past accomplishments and lose sight of bigger goals that may lie ahead. For the Bears, although they may not have won the regular season title, they must quickly regroup and prepare for the postseason.

Starting April 27, No. 16 Cal will be competing in Ojai, California, for the Pac-12 Tennis Championships. Cal comes in as the No. 2 seed and one of the favorites.

While Cal may be one of the stronger teams in the tournament, it will still have to lock in and concentrate. The Bears must not forget that there are plenty of other strong competitors who can pose a challenge to the team. For example, Cal will likely have to first play Washington and then either USC or Arizona State, all of which are formidable opponents. If the Bears can get past those teams, they will likely get another crack at No. 8 (first-seeded) Stanford, which they lost to in the regular season finale. But the bottom line is that the team must not look too far ahead and take each game one at a time.

Entering this tournament, one thing is clear: Cal is hitting its stride at precisely the right time. The team is consistently playing aggressively and looking to attack whenever possible. In singles, the Bears are serving better than ever and getting a higher percentage of their first serves in, something that Cal head coach Amanda Augustus has been asking of the team throughout the season. But Cal will still look to fine-tune a couple facets of their game.

“We don’t have a huge list of things to work on, but I think we can be a little more aggressive at the end of doubles,” Augustus said. “I think we have to clean that up a little and make a couple of tactical adjustments. I’m really excited to see what this team is going to do in the postseason.”

One thing that bodes well for the Bears heading into this competition is that they have competed in a lot of close matches. Whether it be their tight losses to Stanford and UCLA or their narrow victories over Oregon and USC, the team has plenty of experience in tense situations. This is something that should be beneficial for the team, as it will likely have to play a close match or two along the way.

With a lot of very talented teams in the competition, the Bears will have a great opportunity to gain confidence ahead of the NCAA tournament, the ultimate prize in college women’s tennis. But additionally, the Bears will also be looking forward to the possibility of playing Stanford again. Having lost to the Cardinal in such a heartbreaking fashion, Cal will want nothing more than to upset it. Considering that it was only a few points away from a win, the team will be determined to right the ship and make a strong statement to the rest of the country.

Praveen Kuruppu covers women’s tennis. Contact him at [email protected].

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