The No. 5 Cal women’s tennis team will take on No. 46 Harvard in a nonconference regular season match Sunday at the Hellman Tennis Complex in Berkeley. Cal will be looking to continue its strong run in the last few weeks. Most recently, the team reached the semifinals of the ITA National Women’s Team Indoor Championship.
Cal heads into this match with a 4-1 record, and it is also undefeated at home with a record of 2-0. Harvard also has the same record and will also play No. 10 Stanford on Saturday before this clash.
After a strong showing at the indoor championships, the Bears seem to be confident ahead of this meeting.
“Everyone is really excited from the results we had at the indoors,” said junior Klara Fabikova. “I think we are ready to carry on with the momentum of having good matches. We played with a lot of energy and spirit. We’re ready to carry on in that mood.”
Harvard comes with a three-match win streak. The Crimson’s last encounter was with No. 70 North Texas, where Harvard came away with a hard-fought victory, 4-3.
There seem to be no fitness concerns for the Cal squad, especially a couple of hard weeks. The Bears played some intense matches at the indoors and have been working hard for the coming game. They might even have an advantage over their opponents, who may be tired after playing Stanford the day before the match.
All eyes will be on Cal’s star player, the recently ranked No. 1 Maegan Manasse, a sophomore who had a stellar showing at the indoor championships, where she did not lose a single match. Manasse beat No. 15 Sydney Campbell of Vanderbilt — 4-6, 6-0, 6-3 — and TCU’s Stefanie Tran — 6-3, 6-3. Manasse, who was named the Pac-12 women’s player of the week, most likely will play on court No. 1.
Head coach Amanda Augustus said the strongest lineup would generally play, with some slight variations maybe coming before the teams start the match, when lineups are released.
Augustus also stressed the importance of the match, saying that a win would add to the team’s positive showings early this season. She also remarked on the uncertainty of the match.
“You don’t know what the lineups of the opposing team are going to be like, especially with a team that we don’t face every year,” Augustus said.
The prospect of playing back at home — a week after playing in Virginia — will be an advantage for the Cal players. Senior Zsofi Susanyi said playing at home is always great for the team’s self-belief.
While Harvard might bring an element of surprise, Cal seems to be the favored team in this encounter. With six nationally ranked players, including the top singles player in the country, Cal should have no problems in obtaining the victory.
Devang Prasad covers women’s tennis. Contact him at [email protected].