Cal exits NCAA individuals in Orlando with 1 victory

Matt Gibson/Staff

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No. 18 Cal women’s tennis was only able to muster one sole triumph at the NCAA individual tournament, concluding its season after a lopsided two days of competition.

Three Bears competed in a total of four separate matches over Monday and Tuesday. Cal senior and co-captain No. 48 Olivia Hauger ended her stellar collegiate career in a loss to Michigan’s No. 50 Brienne Minor.

Hauger quickly bounced back to take a 4-1 lead in the second set after dropping the first set 6-1, but she could not contain Minor, losing the next five games to lose the match without winning a set. Hauger finished in the same manner last season: with a loss in the first round.

Cal sophomore No. 41 Julia Rosenqvist fared much better on Monday, swiftly knocking out UCF’s No. 40 Valeriya Zeleva, 6-0, 6-2. This was the first and only victory for any Bear at NCAA individuals in the past two seasons, and it was a noteworthy improvement from Rosenqvist’s three-set loss in the first round last postseason.

Fellow sophomore Hana Mraz joined Rosenqvist as Cal’s lone duo, ranked No. 20, to play in the doubles tournament, after the team sent no pairs in last year’s contest. The sophomores played a tight match against North Carolina State’s No. 7 Alana Smith and Anna Rogers, ultimately losing a third-set tiebreaker, 10-8.

Mraz and Rosenqvist won the first set, 7-6 (4), but missed an opportunity to seize control against their higher-ranked opponents in the second set, losing 6-3.

Cal bid farewell to two seniors and co-captains: Hauger and Maria Smith. Both rising senior Katerina Stloukalova and rising junior Anna Bright will have to take on a larger role on and off the courts with the loss of the graduates as Cal looks to maintain its status as a top-20 team nationally.

Dev Navani covers women’s tennis. Contact him at [email protected].