National champion hopeful Cal out in quarter finals of indoor nationals

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Antonio Martin/Senior Staff

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You can be one of the most talented in the world. But without follow through, that means little.

Last weekend, No. 4 Cal women’s tennis struggled with the follow through in many of its matches and fell in the quarter finals of the national indoor championship.

“We are just going to need to work on a few individual things in each player’s game so that they’re a little more confident closing out points and sets,” said Cal head coach Amanda Augustus. “We were a few points on both days from really having the momentum back in our favor and closing out the matches.”

On Day 1 of the championship, the team played No. 8 Texas A&M. Despite having lost against Michigan indoors just days before nationals, Cal seemed confident going into the championship following some great wins earlier in the season, including a victory over then-No. 2 Pepperdine.

Playing their second indoor dual match of the season, the Bears started off slowly in doubles. Suffering two losses — and with one unfinished match ending at 5-2 — the three Cal teams seemed unable to bring the heat.

The doubles teams had been solidified for nationals after a reshuffling of the pairs brought the blue and gold their first doubles point of the season. Seasoned and talented team Haley Giavara and Valentina Ivanov won only one game, losing out to No. 23 Tatiana Makarova and Jayci Goldsmith 6-1. The freshly formed team of Erin Richardson and Julia Rosenqvist didn’t fare so well either, losing to its opponents 6-3.

In singles, Cal made a turnaround.

Coming away with four wins, the team managed to defeat its opponents 4-3 overall. The clinch came down to Hannah Viller Moeller, who played the only three-set match on court six. Falling in the first set 4-6, she managed to come back and take the next two 6-3, 7-6(5).

Day 2 proved to be much more challenging; Cal was playing No. 5 Pepperdine for the second time this season. However, Cal did come away with the doubles point, with the same two teams this time managing to overcome their opponents.

“Our goal is to have the three best teams to win the doubles point each time,” Augustus said about the doubles teams. “We’re getting closer, but we have some work to do.”

Tensions were high as one of Cal’s star freshmen, Jessica Alsola, played an epic tiebreak in set one, ending up at 16-14. In a very close matchup, both players showed a lot of emotion on the court. Alsola was unable to capitalize on several set points and eventually lost the first set, followed by a 1-6 loss in the second.

Rosenqvist, playing her Pepperdine opponent for the second time this season, struggled in the indoor setting. She beat Pepperdine’s Janice Tjen 6-2, 6-3 in January but lost out 7-5, 6-3 Saturday. The senior said she was able to use last time’s windy conditions to her advantage.

“This time she felt a little more confident in her shots — you could tell on her serve and forehand — and I just had trouble executing my tactics,” Rosenqvist said.

After their quarter-final loss, the Bears played a consolation match against No. 1 Texas. Cal held on to the doubles win here, too, with freshmen Alsola and Katja Wiersholm clinching the point. The two carried the momentum into singles, posting the only singles wins against Texas.

The Bears will get a chance to bite back against the No. 1 team later this month, but for now, their efforts are focused on matches against San Diego State and No. 19 UCLA on Sunday and Monday, respectively. Back in outside conditions, this will likely prove slightly easier for the Bears to regain their footing –– and with it, their winning streak.

Maria Kholodova covers women’s tennis. Contact her at [email protected].