With 18 overall matches played, nine of which were conference matches, there is just one match to go in the regular season: No. 27 Cal women’s tennis will face off against No. 7 Stanford at the Cardinal home courts on Friday to close out the regular season.
Despite facing challenges with the weather this season — with the traditional Cal Invitational Tournament alongside four nonconference matches being canceled due to rain, — the Bears have had a successful season, holding an 11-7 overall record.
Beginning the Pac-12 season ranked No. 55, Cal now sits in the No. 27 spot.
“Normally, our ranking sits up pretty high and we just maintain it, but this year, because of all the rain and the rainouts, our ranking basically fell off the computer and we’ve just had to slowly work our way back up,” said head coach Amanda Augustus. “We’re playing better every week … we just had to be resilient and we had to just really work through it.”
With a near-perfect record of 7-2 in matches, earlier in the week, the Bears took home two wins against Washington State and University of Washington with 6-1, both with just one singles loss. The Bears, who have won their last four matches by at least a 5-point margin, are set up to finish out their last Pac-12 match strong.
While the Bears will be coming into Taube Tennis Center with a four-match win streak, the Cardinal, who have yet to lose a conference match (9-0), will present a tough challenge for Cal.
Boasting four ranked players with No.16 Connie Ma, No. 24 Alexandra Yepifanova, No. 43 Angelica Blake and No.82 Alexis Blokhina, Stanford is home to a talented team. The Cardinal also have two ranked doubles duos: No. 20 Blake and Blokhina along with No. 88 Valencia Xu and Yepifanova.
Cal, on the other hand, is home to the powerhouse doubles team of No. 9 Jessica Alsola and Katja Wiersholm. Alsola is also ranked No. 48 in singles and carries an 18-game winning streak into Friday’s matchup.
Despite the imbalance of ranked duos and singles players, spectators should anticipate yet another competitive rivalry stint between the Bears and Cardinal.
Though the Cardinal may have the home court advantage, in its last stint against Stanford, albeit at the Bears’ home, the Cal team took home the win 5-2 — and with it, the regular-season Pac-12 championship.
“We are familiar with their courts, familiar with their players, so the better team that day is going to win,” Augustus said. “It’s always a fun match to play, it’ll be competitive. The pressure is really on them, they’re ranked a little bit higher than us. We’re just ready for a fun game.”
Holding an overall 17-2 and a 9-0 conference record, Stanford took home the regular-season Pac-12 championship this weekend in its match against Washington State, defeating the Cougars 4-1.
For the Bears, this upcoming match marks an important moment in the Bears’ season, as they hope to continue their momentum while proving themselves as top contenders in the Pac-12. A win against their rivals would not only boost team morale, but also improve their chances of taking home yet another championship, as everything is still to play for in the postseason Pac-12 championship.
“The (Pac-12) tournament will potentially help our seeding going into the NCAA tournament, hopefully we can win another conference championship because we have won the last two years,” Augustus said. “After that, it’s the fun time of the year, what we work so hard all season for, with the NCAA tournament.”