Cal women’s tennis maintains No. 19 rank as Pacific awaits

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Finally, with a set schedule in place for the first time in nearly a year, the Cal women’s tennis team (3-1) has a road map to the NCAA championship.

As a massive rematch against UCLA looms, the Bears will vie for their third straight victory in a match against Pacific at Hellman Tennis Complex on Friday.

Cal maintained its No. 19 position in the most recent Oracle/ITA rankings after a 7-0 drubbing of San Francisco in its last match. Cal sophomore Erin Richardson clinched the victory after a dominant 6-2, 6-2 victory over USF’s Arianna Capogrosso.

The Bears earned their second doubles point of the season in the match, an issue that head coach Amanda Augustus has underscored recently for her young squad.

“Because no one has played a ton of doubles, that’s been a focus for us the last couple of weeks,” Augustus said. “We are working on our skills and looking at the combinations we have out there.”

Pacific, a regular in Cal’s past fall and regional events, hasn’t faced the Bears in a dual match in recent history. But in a pandemic, any regional opponent will suffice for those with the ability to play safely.

The Tigers fell narrowly to Nevada in their first match of the season, losing 4-3. Pacific’s Maya Lopez took Nevada’s Milka Genkova to a third-set tiebreak but fell short in the singles decider match.

Pacific was 4-3 in 2020 before the COVID-19 pandemic cut its season short, and it hasn’t had a winning season in the last decade.

Preseason All-West Coast Conference team selection and No. 70-ranked Klara Kosan is poised to reverse the course this season for Pacific and surely poses a threat to Cal this Friday. Kosan came from behind to win her singles match over Nevada’s Anastasia Luneva and, along with Dohee Lee, fell just short of victory in her doubles match.

Cal’s Haley Giavara, the 2019-20 ITA Northwest Regional Rookie of the Year and the No. 18-ranked player in the country, is beginning to hit her stride in her sophomore season. She has the opportunity to earn her third straight singles victory against Pacific.

With two important, competitive matches against UCLA and UC Santa Barbara fast approaching, Augustus wants to see continuous improvement in doubles success against Pacific and insists that her team focus on the task at hand.

“Obviously the match on Friday is up next, and it’s most important,” Augustus said. “We have been trying to get physically stronger and faster each week. We have to take it one match at a time.”

The match starts at noon and can be viewed on Cal’s live stream.

Spencer Golanka covers men’s soccer and women’s tennis. Contact him at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter at @sgolanka.