Bears move on to face Yellow Jackets in NCAAs

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The No. 9 Cal women’s tennis team advanced to the round of 16 at NCAAs for the sixth consecutive year, easily taking down Pepperdine 4-0 in the second round on Saturday at Hellman Tennis Complex.

The Bears (19-6) will make a much farther trip than their upcoming opponents with a trip to the round of eight on the line. Cal will travel more than 2,000 miles to face Georgia Tech on Thursday, a school located just 60 miles from Athens, Ga. The Yellow Jackets (15-11) upset No. 8 Alabama earlier this week, becoming one of just two unseeded teams to advance to round of 16.

Neither of the teams Cal took down this weekend ever posed a serious threat.

The Bears didn’t concede a set in either their opening-round 4-0 win over Sacramento State on Friday or their second-round win the next day. Cal needed only the minimum number of points to clinch Friday victory, sealing the win when sophomore Alice Duranteau took down Andrea Gomez Carus 6-1, 6-3 on court six.

Jana Juricova, Anett Schutting and two Cal doubles teams also clinched victories against the Hornets (17-10), a squad Cal soundly thrashed 7-0 on Mar. 23.

Cal’s second win of the tournament was no more exhausting than its first. The last time Cal took on Pepperdine on Mar. 3, the Bears were coming off four straight losses to top-10 foes, and the Waves were ranked No. 24 in the country. Cal had to battle in a hard-fought 5-2 victory.

Saturday’s matchup was significantly easier.

The Bears clinched a victory over a tired Pepperdine squad with an array of straight-set wins, dropping just six games in six singles sets. Only the doubles point was close. Junior Annie Goransson and sophomore Anett Schutting sealed the point for Cal with an 8-6 win over Pepperdine’s Arianna Colffer and Ali Walters.

Duranteau clinched the Bears’ berth in the round of 16 with a 6-2, 6-2 win.

Cal has the potential to continue its season beyond this weekend. A win Thursday would likely pit Cal against No. 1 UCLA with a spot in the national semifinals at stake, assuming the Bruins overcome unseeded Rice. The Bears handed a heavily-favored UCLA squad its only loss of the season on Apr. 13, proving their ability to compete against the nation’s top teams.

Cal has yet to lose to an opponent ranked outside the top-10, its only loss outside the Pac-12 coming against No. 3 Duke on Feb. 12. The Bears have only lost twice in the last two months, each a one-match loss against a top-5 Pac-12 foe. Other than 4-3 losses to USC and Stanford on Apr. 14 and Apr. 21, the Bears have won 13 of their last 15 games.

The Bears have only faced Georgia Tech five times in their history, winning four of those matchups. The two teams squared off in the round of 16 in 2009, as Cal won 5-0 en route to an appearance in the national title game.