Once again, the Cal women’s tennis team had to compete without their top player in Zsofi Susanyi, who is missing time with a minor strain. And once again, it was a split weekend for the Bears.
On Friday, the Bears dominated Sacramento State in a 7-0 sweep, but was upset by rival Stanford, 6-1, the next day in Palo Alto.
The loss marks the seventh time in a row that the Bears fell to the Cardinal, dating back to April of 2009. With the loss, Cal falls to 5-4 as Stanford improves to 5-2 on the season.
With Pac-12 play not started yet, the game against Stanford will be a nonconference match and will not impact the conference standings.
But it will no doubt impact the ITA collegiate rankings. With the loss, No. 9 Cal will most likely drop out of the top 10.
Despite the disappointment, one of the bright spots of the weekend was the return of senior Annie Goransson, who has sat out so far during the season with a back injury.
“She looked great,” Cal Coach Amanda Augustus said. “She’s hitting the ball really well, I think that bodes well going forward.”
Goransson and her senior teammate Tayler Davis won both of their doubles matches, including the only doubles match the Cal won against Stanford.
“Next week hopefully, (Goransson) keeps progressing and we see her back in singles as well,” said Augustus.
Susanyi, however, was not able to make a return from her back injury. She sat out the doubles and singles on both matches. This marks four straight matches that Cal has had to compete without their top player. With wins over USC and Sacramento State, it looked like the Bears had found out how to win without Susanyi, until Stanford took advantage.
The Cardinal won the doubles point and set the tone early, putting Cal on the defensive.
“Once they won the doubles point they came out even stronger in the singles while we had to rebound from not winning the doubles point,” Augustus said.
From there on the Cardinal picked apart the Bears in singles and clinched the victory relatively quickly.
Susanyi’s absence definitely hurt Cal. However, Augustus didn’t blame injuries on Cal’s disappointing performance.
“That was definitely not the determining factor in this match,” Augustus said of Susanyi’s absence. “It’s definitely more challenging playing without our No. 1 player.”
Alice Duranteau provided Cal with its lone point against Stanford — winning her singles match on court six while recovering from an ankle injury.
“She’s been getting better each match,” Augustus said. “Once she was able to work out the right tactics to use in the second set she basically took control.”
Though the score looks one-sided, the Bears feel they can make adjustments and improve.
“All the matches on every court were competitive, singles and doubles,” Augustus said. “We’ll take this match, and it shows us where we’re at and what we need to work on.”
Riley McAtee covers women’s tennis. Contact him at [email protected].