The Cal women’s tennis team heads into the postseason today with two leaders: one senior and one freshman.
The senior is Anita Kurimay, who was named second-team All-Pac-10 this week. Kurimay overcame leg surgery early in the season to post a 10-4 singles record. The team’s lone senior, she has provided a steadying influence for the team’s five freshman, regaining her top spot after her surgery.
The freshman is Raquel Kops-Jones, who held down the No. 1 spot during Kurimay’s six-match absence. Kops-Jones was also named to the conference’s second team, as well as taking home the freshman of the year award. She compiled a 27-14 record and made it to the finals of the Pac-10 singles tournament.
Cal head coach Jan Brogan said she was surprised how fast Kops-Jones adapted to the top spot.
“Raquel has really been a fast learner,” Borgan said. “She has professional aspirations, so she works very hard on her game, puts in a lot of extra time. When she came in, we knew she had a lot of talent, but was inconsistent. I've tried to bring out the consistency and mental edge she didn't have before.”
The two leaders, old and young, teamed up with their strong doubles teammates to earn the No. 9 seed in the country, and are the top seed in their regional this weekend. Cal takes on Loyola (Maryland) today at 2 p.m. at the Hellman Tennis Courts. The regional’s other matchup will be North Carolina against Iowa at 10 a.m., with the winners meeting Sunday at 10 a.m.
Cal’s doubles team of Catherine Lynch and Christina Fusano come into the weekend on a roll, having advanced to the final of the Pac-10 doubles tournament. And they aren’t the only Bear doubles team that has played well this year. Cal’s other duo of Kristen Case and Morisa Yang made it to the semifinal match before falling to Lynch and Fusano.
Case and Lynch are both freshmen, and Brogan has gone through the growing pains of playing five freshmen this year, along with Fusano and Yang being sophomores. All together, the Bears are the youngest team in the Pac-10.
“Five freshman have played for us all year,” Brogan said. “I don't think any other team in the country can say that.”