Cal gears up for Pac-12 championships in Ojai

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Nora Povejsil/Staff

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With an 11-9 finish in the regular season behind it, Cal men’s tennis seeks to advance its season, as it heads down to Ojai, California, to compete in the Pac-12 championships.

Cal came into the season with four freshmen on its roster, making the team one of the more youthful squads in the NCAA. Despite this youth, the Bears were still able to achieve success this season.

“We had a pretty good season to be honest, no one expected too much. We showed that we can compete with the best,” said Cal head coach Kris Kwinta. “I’m just excited we have another chance, another crack at this season.”

Cal started off the year red-hot, at one point reaching a 10-3 record, before losing six of its last seven dual matches of the season, a trend that the team hopes to reverse before the postseason.

The Bears enter the tournament as the No. 7 seed, facing USC in the opening round. If they manage to win, they will advance to play the winner of No. 3 Stanford versus No. 6 Arizona State in the second round.

“Our outlook is no different than any other matches we’ve played this season: To me, competition is competition,” Kwinta said.

Cal has already become quite familiar with the Trojans this season, whom it has played already twice so far. Cal came up short, 2-4, both times, losing in Berkeley and in Los Angeles.

“Both times we had them on the ropes, and it came down to a couple of points,” Kwinta said. “The guys know them well, they know what to expect. Obviously, they are a good team, but they are nothing outside of our range.”

With the fate of the season on the line, Kwinta hopes the squad can bring it together to advance through the rest of the postseason.

“(Our key to success is) sticking together as a team. Just focusing on the little things that you can control. If you start looking at the bigger picture, then you get lost in that,” Kwinta said.

Ethan Preston covers men’s tennis. Contact him at [email protected].