Cal takes down conference newcomers in weekend routs

There may be myriad of benefits of the Pac-12’s conference realignment, but parity in women’s tennis is surely not one of them.

The No. 10 Cal women’s tennis team gave a rough introduction to conference newcomers Colorado and Utah in two dominant victories, giving the Bears a 2-0 record in Pac-12 play.

Friday in Boulder, Cal (9-4) had the advantage of playing outdoors, a rarity in a city whose average March temperature is just over 40 degrees. However, the Bears came out hot against Colorado (6-6, 0-2 in the Pac-12), sweeping the doubles point and winning five of six singles matches in straight sets to guarantee victory. Anett Schutting won a third set tiebreak on court three to give Cal its first 7-0 win of the season.

The match at South Campus Tennis Complex was played at over 5,000 feet above sea level, adding an additional geographic element to the match.

“I thought they adapted really well,” coach Amanda Augustus said of the elevation. “I think we work really hard to teach them how to handle the elements because that’s what you need by the time you get to the NCAA Championships.”

After a day of travel, the Bears were back in action, again at altitude, against Utah (7-5, 0-2). Again, Cal won all three doubles matches, including an 8-4 win by Tayler Davis and Zsofi Susanyi on the second court. The tandem, which was cobbled together following the injury to Jana Juricova (who has missed six straight matches), has gone 5-1 in spite of the circumstances.

“It’s a pretty exciting partnership,” Augustus said. “They both really like to fight hard and compete hard.”

The singles game soon fell into place in Salt Lake City, where the home Utes had scrapped plans to play indoors, and rescheduled the match early Sunday morning to take place at Coach Mike’s Tennis Academy, near the university campus.

Freshmen Zsofi Susanyi beat defending Mountain West Conference Player of the Year Anastasia Putilina after the Bears’ Annie Goransson posted her second victory of the weekend, putting the Bears up 3-0. Goransson, playing on the fourth court, has posted a 10-2 record in duals matches.

“Annie has really learned how to manage her matches well,” Augustus said. “She learned how to start quickly in singles and not really open the door when a girl tries to make a run.”

Soon after, Alice Duranteau closed out the match by posting a victory on the sixth court. Duranteau had posted a 1-3 record in Cal’s recent stretch of four games against four ranked opponents, but secured two wins this weekend. Utah sophomore Sarah Pham knocked off Cal’s Tayler Davis, giving Utah its only point in a 6-1 drubbing.

The debut weekend of Pac-12 play for Colorado and Utah was further spoiled, as both squads lost to No. 5 Stanford, another conference power.

So while the Pac-12’s reach now extends farther east into the slopes and summits of the Rockies, the weekend proves that women’s tennis dominance is centered squarely along the Pacific.