Berkeley loses playoff berth
The Berkeley High girls tennis team was denied an automatic berth into the North Coast Section team playoffs when Alameda High’s Erika Fong won the final set of her match with Berkeley’s Gail Nipitnorasete on Friday at Old Grove Park in Berkeley.
The match was postponed due to darkness Thursday evening with the team match tied 3-3. The two teams finished the ACCAL season 9-1 and split their matches, resulting in co-champion status. The playoff, which started at El Cerrito High, was played to determine which team would get the league’s automatic bid to the playoffs.
Each player had won a set on Thursday night, and a protracted battle over when and where to play the final set added drama to the event.
Nipitnorasete came out strong on Friday morning, taking a 5-4 game lead and serving for three set points. But Fong managed to fight off the points and forced a tiebreaker, which the Alameda freshman won 8-6.
Berkeley head coach Alex Kopel said he intends to apply for an at-large berth into the NCS playoffs, but isn’t holding out much hope.
“From what I’ve heard, I don’t think we have a very good chance,” Kopel said.
The NCS individual playoffs start on Monday at El Cerrito High. Berkeley’s Megan Sweeney, who was undefeated this season, is the top seed and has a first-round bye. Berkeley’s other entry, Clara Mattei, is the No. 4 seed and will play her first-round match at 12:15 p.m.
Bears win exhibition opener
Newcomer Timea Ivanyi scored a game-high 15 points as the Cal women’s basketball team defeated Team Concept, 69-57, Friday night at Haas Pavilion in its first exhibition of the 2002-03 season.
The Bears were in control most of the game and led by as many as 21 points in the fourth quarter before a late surge by Team Concept cut the margin to 12.
“I thought they played very well,” said Cal acting head coach Barb Smith. “We didn’t have every play in place for the year. We didn’t have every out of bounds play [in place]. We didn’t have every defensive thing that we’re going to do this year in place, but they played together, and they played hard. That made a difference.”
Smith, a first-year assistant coach at Cal, coached the Bears in place of Caren Horstmeyer, who gave birth to Kylie Joy on Monday, Oct. 28. Horstmeyer will rejoin the team next week.
Ivanyi, a junior center who transferred to Cal from Jefferson College, scored on a variety of nice moves in the paint. Cal’s sophomore point guard Kristin Iwanaga pitched in 13 points, six assists and four steals. Teammates Kiki Williams and Leigh Gregory each had 12 points. Gregory also led the Bears with nine rebounds.