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No. 16 Cal Hosts No. 57 UCSB In Home Opener

Feb 23, 2024
Freshman Mao Mushika will make her home dual-match debut on Sunday.

The 16th-ranked California women's tennis team plays its first home dual-match of the season when the Golden Bears host No. 57 UC Santa Barbara on Sunday at noon at the Hellman Tennis Complex.
 
The Bears, who hosted their annual fall and winter tournaments earlier this season, have a 4-2 dual-match record. The Gauchos are 3-3 ahead of a Saturday match at Stanford.
 
Match information
 
No. 16 Cal (4-2) vs. No. 57 UC Santa Barbara (3-3)
When: Sunday, Feb. 25, Noon PT
Where: Hellman Tennis Complex, Berkeley, Calif.
Watch: Livestream
Admission: Free
 
Last Time: Bears Beat SDSU
Cal defeated host San Diego State, 5-2, on Sunday at the Aztec Tennis Center, with junior Lan Mi clinching the victory.
 
Cal continued its strong doubles play in 2024 when the Bears claimed the doubles point against SDSU. The pair of Berta Passola Folch and Tiziana-Marie Schomburg posted a 6-3 win over Aztecs Gloria Alogo and Zoe Olmos on court three. But the Cal tandem of senior Valentina Ivanov and junior Jessica Alsola suffered its first dual-match loss of the season – a 6-3 setback against SDSU's Andjela Skrobonja and Andreea Velcea – leaving the Bears' Mao Mushika and Hannah Viller Moeller to secure the point with a 7-6(3) win over Yasmine Kabbaj and Myah Petchey on court one.
 
With Cal's nationally ranked Alsola and Katja Wiersholm unavailable for singles, newcomers Mi and Schomburg, a freshman, got the nod. Along with fellow new Bear Mushika, another freshman, and another underclassman in Passola Folch, a sophomore, they collected singles victories against SDSU. First, Mushika earned a win over Petchey, taking the first set 6-4 and prevailing when Petchey retired with an injury. After a Cal loss left the Bears with a 2-1 lead, Passola Folch bested Alogo, 6-2, 6-2, to give Cal a 3-1 advantage, and then Mi topped Velcea, 6-3, 6-3, to clinch the win with Cal leading 4-1.
 
The teams split the last two matches, with Schomburg beating Olmos 6-4, 2-6, 7-6(6) to complete the overall match and capture the first dual-match singles win of her career.
 
The Bears had been scheduled to play at UCLA on Monday, but the match was canceled due to rain.
 
Last Time Vs. UCSB
Cal routed UC Santa Barbara, 6-1, on Jan. 21, 2023, as Hannah Viller Moeller clinched victory in the Bears' dual-match and home opener at Hellman.
 
UCSB was shorthanded, which led to just two official doubles matches between the two teams and a forfeit win on court three for the Bears. Cal needed to win just one more match to collect the doubles point, but the Gauchos pushed the Bears, with Kira Reuter and Amelia Honer upsetting Cal's 15th-ranked Jessica Alsola and Katja Wiersholm, 6-1, on court one. The Bears captured the doubles point when Haley Giavara and Erin Richardson beat Marta Gonzalez-Ballbe and Camille Kiss, 6-3, on court two.
 
Cal took a 2-0 lead to start singles since UCSB didn't have a sixth singles player and had to forfeit court six. Wiersholm quickly gave Cal a 3-0 advantage when she bested Reuter, 6-1, 6-0, on court three. Passola Folch, who had just joined the Bears, had a chance to clinch a Cal victory in her first dual match – as a freshman Wiersholm did one year prior against the Gauchos. But Viller Moeller completed her match on court four first to give Cal a 4-0 lead, and then Passola Folch beat Valentina Khrebtova, 6-1, 6-2, on court five to make it a 5-0 margin.
 
After the 16th-ranked Alsola topped Kiss, 6-3, 6-3, on court two, UCSB's Honer – ranked 49th – edged Giavara on court one, 2-6, 6-1, 1-0(8), to make the final score 6-1.
 
Poll Position
Despite its win over SDSU, Cal dropped two spots to No. 16 in the Feb. 20 ITA team poll. In the individual ITA individual rankings, Bears collected six rankings – Doubles: No. 30 Hannah Viller Moeller and Mao Mushika. Singles: No. 28 Katja Wiersholm, No. 32 Hannah Viller Moeller, No. 35 Jessica Alsola, No. 51 Valentina Ivanov and No. 91 Lan Mi.
 
Scouting the Bears

  • Hannah Viller Moeller – who is 15-10 in singles – won the singles title in the ITA Northwest Regional Championships and built a 13-2 record to earn her No. 12 ranking in the fall
  • Viller Moeller capped the first half of the season by reaching the singles quarterfinals of the ITA National Fall Championships
  • Viller Moeller and Mao Mushika – who have a 20-4 doubles record – won the title of the ITA Northwest Regional Championships and reached the round of 16 in the ITA National Fall Championships
  • In the fall, Jessica Alsola (now 15-8) reached the consolation final of the ITA National Fall Championships, advanced through the qualifying rounds to the singles main draw of the ITA All-American Championships – in which she reached the quarterfinals – and reached the round of 16 in the ITA Northwest Regional Championships
  • Katja Wiersholm (15-3) had an impressive start to 2023-24, including winning the top-flight singles title at the Cal Fall Invitational and advancing to the quarterfinals at regionals
  • Valentina Ivanov – who has a singles record of 8-4 – opened her season 7-0 before suffering her first loss (to Julia Garcia Ruiz, 6-1, 6-2) in a 4-3 win at Oklahoma in the ITA Kickoff Weekend
  • Lan Mi (25-3), who has clinched two of Cal's four wins, posted a 16-match win streak in singles between mid-October and late January
  • A junior transfer from Cornell, Mi won the top-flight singles crown at the Saint Mary's Fall Invitational in October
  • A product of Barcelona, Spain, Berta Passola Folch has a 15-6 singles record
  • Cal Athletics Hall of Famer and two-time NCAA doubles champion Amanda Augustus – the 2021 Pac-12 Coach of the Year and five-time ITA Northwest Region Coach of the Year – is in her 17th year as head coach at her alma mater
  • Assistant coach and former Cal men's tennis player Sean Hill is in his second year on the Cal staff

Scouting the Gauchos

  • In their last two matches, the Gauchos lost to Texas Tech, 4-1, and Arizona, 4-2, in Santa Barbara
  • Amelia Honer is ranked 62nd in singles
  • In October, Honer upset USC's then-top-ranked Eryn Cayetano, 6-3, 1-6, 6-4, in the ITA Southwest Regional Championships round of 16
  • Honer and Kira Reuter are ranked 35th in doubles
  • Simon Thibodeau is in his 32nd season as UCSB's head coach

Next Time
Cal hits the road again, with the Bears beginning Pac-12 Conference play at No. 43 Arizona on March 8 and at No. 35 Arizona State on March 9.
 
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