Playing their fourth match in just 10 days, the Bears continue their action-packed season this coming Sunday. Currently ranked No. 37 with a 7-7 record, Cal hopes to add to its total season wins as it inches closer to postseason play, traveling to Eugene to face the Oregon Ducks on April 9.
Even with the cancellation of Cal’s match against the Pepperdine Waves, the Bears have been playing a tremendous amount of matches lately. From March 31 to April 2, the blue and gold competed in three consecutive dual matches, going 2-1 last weekend.
“Whether it’s the Pac 12 tournament or the NCAA tournament, you have to be prepared to play three or four matches in a row, so it’s nothing unusual really,” head coach Amanda Augustus said in regards to the increased activity of her team this past week, clearly unconcerned about the busy season ahead. “If you’re a good tennis player, you’re used to playing week-long events, so it’s kind of part of what the season looks like, and people actually usually feel better playing more than less, so it’s always good when we get to play a lot.”
Oregon, ranked just below Cal at No. 43, has a record of 11-5 this season and has gone 4-2 during in-conference play. Both teams are currently part of a three-way tie for third in the Pac-12 women’s tennis rankings along with USC, which makes this match particularly crucial.
The Ducks are highlighted by freshman Jo-Yee Chan, who has won eight of her last 10 singles matches, as well as sophomore Uxia Martinez Moral, who currently leads the team with 11 singles wins. Clinching the doubles point will be particularly important for the Bears on Sunday, as Oregon has done so in all 11 of their dual-match wins this spring.
There is a high likelihood of rain on Sunday, so the blue and gold must prepare for indoor matchplay this upcoming weekend. However, it is worth mentioning that the Bears have never lost against the Ducks in 23 all-time meetings.
Although the Bears have had a handful of downs this season, particularly in regards to weather complications and several tough losses, it is undeniable that many players have put on amazing performances this season. In particular, sophomore Jessica Alsola won her 14th consecutive singles match this season, bettering her ITA ranking position to No. 43.
Perhaps even more remarkably, throughout her winning streak, she has only dropped three sets, which is a testament to her dominance these past weeks. She has also excelled in doubles this year — as a doubles pair with sophomore Katja Wiersholm, she is ranked No. 4 overall in the country.
“Yeah, she’s really been developing during her time here so far at Cal,” Augustus said of Alsola’s growth as a member of the Bears’ program during the first two years of her collegiate career. “She’s doing a good job, she works hard every day, she has a great attitude, and is a great teammate, so we fully enjoy having her in the program.”
However, no matter what, Augustus makes it clear that her main focus is on the team and their overall success.
“Our goal is to win another Pac-12 championship and be seeded as high as we can in the NCAA national championship,” Augustus said, ahead of Cal’s Sunday contest.