Mar 31st, 2008, 11:41 AM
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Independent Isle
Re: The 2008 Season "Featured" Articles
I think they forgot the quotes around clay courts, haha. But definitely good insight on the slowness of the ASU courts which could have contributed to Stanford's loss.
Cal Repeats Wins Over Arizona and Arizona State
By JIMMY TRAN
Monday, March 31, 2008
Different location, different environment and different courts, but no matter because it was the same result for the No. 7 Cal women's tennis team this past weekend.
Having just defeated both Arizona and No. 15 Arizona State at home three weeks ago, the Bears (13-3, 4-0 in the Pac-10) traveled to the Southwest and came out with a 6-1 win over the Wildcats followed by a tough 5-2 victory over the Sun Devils. The scores were identical to the ones when Cal previously faced these two Pac-10 rivals.
"It was an important weekend for us and today especially was really a big stepping stone for us," coach Amanda Augustus said. "It's going to give us a huge confidence boost because ASU fought really hard. Every court was contested and everything was a battle."
The Bears knew going in about the severity of the contrast in the conditions of the venues, and adjusted its play for the matches.
"The courts are slower so it's more of an advantage for them, whereas at home we can hit it off the court easier and be more aggressive," Augustus said about ASU's clay courts. "It came down to more patience. Ordinarily you win a point in five or six balls at home and there it's more of an average of nine to 10."
In addition to the different surfaces and an extremely opposing crowd in the stands, Cal had to deal with 85 degree weather that has been rare to find in the Bay Area as of late.
"The heat is something we're not used to, and I was pleased to see our fitness level was where it needed to be, because there was no question whether we could stay out there long enough to get the wins," Augustus said.
On Friday against Arizona, the Bears came out strong and only dropped three sets the whole match. Two of them came in the team's only loss of the day-No. 16 Marina Cossou's 6-4, 0-6, 6-3 defeat to No. 55 Danielle Steinberg. The freshman rebounded the next day, though, and clinched the match for Cal with her 6-1, 4-6, 6-4 victory over Nadia Abdala.
The clash against the Sun Devils was more tightly contested and many matches were decided with tiebreakers or in the third set.
"These teams are tough and fought hard," senior Stephanie Kusano said. "It gives us confidence to know we can play in their element and beat them and shows how tough we are. We can put that in our reserves and when things get tough in the future we can draw on it and persevere through those hard times."
Saturday's win over the Sun Devils was the seventh victory in a row for the Bears and its 11th of the past 12 matches. The streak's momentum has translated into a sense of confidence that may bolster the team's chances at this year's NCAA championships.
"At the beginning we set the goal to win NCAAs, and we weren't sure if it was attainable, but we've worked really hard and at this point we're really solid," senior Cristina Visico said. "I definitely believe it. Our lineup is strong from one down to six and I feel like it is very attainable if we just believe in it."