Bears survive thunderstorm but not Waves, fall to UCLA, Pepperdine

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The Cal women’s tennis team’s trip down to Southern California was cut short by rain showers and lightning in Malibu, bringing about a symbolic end to a 5-0 blowout loss to Pepperdine. Hail, lightning and gusts of wind caused officials to cancel Cal’s contest against Pepperdine before all six singles matches could be played out. It was the blue and gold’s second straight loss.

Feb. 22 started off with the Bears hungry for a victory and looking to repeat their success against Kansas at the ITA Kick-Off Weekend which, like their trip to Pepperdine, had also come after a loss. The day ended on a sour note, however, as the blue and gold lost the doubles point — and proceeded to lose four consecutive singles matches, before the danger of lightning strikes forced officials to end the contest prematurely.

Pepperdine pulled off a couple of upsets in singles, with No. 45 Anastasia Iamachkine toppling Cal’s No. 28 Valentina Ivanov and No. 53 Jessica Failla, preventing No. 13 Haley Giavara from putting Cal on the board.

Julia Rosenqvist put up a valiant effort against Pepperdine’s Ashley Lahey, the No. 2 NCAA Division I player who had recently lost her previous top spot to Florida’s Estela Perez-Somarriba.

The loss to Pepperdine dropped Cal to 1-3 for the season. The previous day’s singles matches against UCLA had gone in a similar fashion as each of Cal’s singles players dropped one by one. Valentina Ivanov and Katerina Stloukalova put up valiant efforts that ended with narrow 2-1 defeats, with Ivanov going 6-7 and Stloukalova going 5-7 in the final sets.

Coach Amanda Augustus trotted out new doubles lineups for both the UCLA and Pepperdine matches, placing Ivanov and Giavara — Cal’s two dynamic freshmen stars — together.

The move came in response to the Bears’ first two games of the season, where they lost the doubles point in both matches 2-1. Doubles stalwart Anna Bright was placed with senior Alexis Nelson, while juniors Julia Rosenqvist and Jasie Dunk were paired with one another in coach Augustus’ new lineup.

The move proved to be less effective than expected as the blue and gold dropped each and every one of their doubles matches. Cal’s exciting freshman duo were saved from defeat against the nation’s No. 1 doubles team in UCLA’s Elysia Bolton and Jada Hart, as their match failed to end before the other two Cal doubles pairs fell.

The Bears fared no better in doubles on Saturday, repeating the previous day’s events. Ivanov and Giavara managed to stay competitive in their match, but quick routs of Bright and Nelson, as well as Rosenqvist and Dunk, led to Cal giving up the doubles point for the fourth time in a row this year.

Coach Augustus attributed the losses to surprise at opponent lineups and a lack of playing experience for this year’s Bears.

“There were definitely some positives. Pepperdine came out with some different doubles teams, and we were in good position. I thought we played well on court one both days in doubles. In singles, Pepperdine was a little more seasoned as a team, having played more dual matches than we have at this point,” Augustus said in an interview with Cal Bears.

Teddy Park covers women’s tennis. Contact him at [email protected].