Cal women’s tennis is set to take on yet another state, this time aiming to conquer Washington. Playing Washington State on Friday and Washington on Saturday, the team prepares for another weekend away from home.
Having played at their home, Hellman Tennis Complex, for their previous four Pac-12 matches before last weekend, the Bears began to venture outside of their home turf. Last week, they faced ASU and Arizona. Beaten by ASU — losing their 4-0 Pac-12 winning streak — but undefeated against Arizona with 7-0, the team faces a new state to mark as blue and gold territory.
“It’s a quick turnaround when you’re on the road two weekends in a row,” said Amanda Augustus, Cal’s head coach.
Cal’s performance in doubles will be something to watch out for: The team has been working on pairings as well as doubles in training to ensure Cal gets off to a strong start. The Bears have earned the doubles points at most of the matches played in spring.
The team of Erin Richardson and Julia Rosenqvist stands out especially, with a 12-4 winning record on court three. The doubles team made up of freshmen phenoms Jessica Alsola and Katja Wiersholm, too, is something to keep an eye on: The duo is yet to lose a doubles match. 8-0 between courts one and two, the team seems to be developing quite the dynamic.
“Every once in a while we have people that I’ve put together as freshmen, and then they end up playing together for four years and end up doing well. They have a lot of the making of that,” Augustus said. “They really enjoy playing together, and that’s important too.”
Augustus remarked that the coaching team is aiming to get some teams into nationals. This increases the importance of doubles wins, especially against ranked teams. Despite the loss at ASU, Cal was able to clinch the doubles point. With UCLA’s 6-1 triumph over the Bears in February too, Cal’s only point was the doubles.
Struggling with doubles early in the season, a reshuffling of the teams and hard work seems to have paid off as the team looks ahead to the Pac-12 and NCAA championships.
The upcoming matches will be challenging: Away matches seem to come tougher to the Bears. With a 7-1 home winning record, but only 4-3 away, it may be tough to take on a new state and two more Pac-12 schools this weekend.
Despite the recent loss, and the foregone Pac-12 winning streak that came with it, team morale seems to be high.
“I really think we’re ready,” said junior Valentina Ivanov ahead of the Washington matches. “The dynamic is awesome, and everyone’s grooving out there.”