March 20, 2006
Santa Clara, Calif. - Santa Clara's week out on the courts just got a bit busier. After its meeting with West Coast Conference rival Loyola Marymount got rained out two weeks ago, Santa Clara added No. 9 California to an already difficult schedule late last week to fill in the gap left by the cancelled match. The Broncos and Golden Bears will face off this Friday up in Berkeley, Calif. at 2:30 p.m. In addition, Santa Clara will travel to No. 49 Sacramento State the following day for a 9 a.m. contest and will close out a busy week by hosting Eastern Washington on Sunday at the Degheri Tennis Center. First serve is scheduled for 10:30 a.m.
California enters Friday's match-up sporting an overall mark of 10-4, with their latest outing being a 6-1 loss at the hands of No. 1 Stanford on March 11. The Golden Bears have a stacked team brimming with talent, as they boast five players ranked in the ITA Singles Top-100 Poll. Junior Suzi Fodor tops the list at No. 9, followed by a quartet of sophomores: Suzi Babos (No. 29), Cristina Visico (No. 77), Marion Ravelojoana (No. 79), and Stephanie Kusano (No. 115). In addition, Babos and Fodor check in as the 19th-best doubles team in the country. Jan Brogan is in her 28th season at the helm of the California women's tennis program and has compiled an overall record of 511-209.
"They have five players nationally ranked so I anticipate some high quality tennis," said head coach Damon Coupe. "They are an aggressive team with big groundstrokes. I expect them to try and take control of the point from the first shot."
Sacramento State is currently 8-5 on the year after splitting a pair of matches last weekend, beating Rice 4-3 on Saturday and dropping a 7-0 decision to Pepperdine on Sunday. Four freshmen dominate the Hornets singles line-up, as Karina Jarlkaganova, Joyce Martinez Gutierrez, Svetlana Pimenova, and Luba Schifris have all found themselves playing important roles this season. Margarita Karnaukhova is the lone senior on the squad and also is positioned at the No. 1 spot in the singles ladder. Bill Campbell is in his eighth season as the head coach of the Sacramento State women's tennis program.
"This is a team with some good talent but I think we can compete well with them. If we come out and play like I know we can, I think we have a shot at the upset," noted Coupe.
Eastern Washington has not played since early March, when a 4-3 setback to Montana State put their season record at 4-6. Junior Sayaka Yoshimoto is the Eagles' top player in singles and she has a great supporting cast consisting of junior Kerstyn Dolack, sophomore Kasey Knox, and freshman Rachel Berger. In his second year as the head coach for both the men's and women's tennis teams at Eastern Washington, Patrick Dreves guided the 2005 women's squad to an overall record of 4-17 in 2005.
"This is a team that I don't know a whole lot about, but I do know they have a good coach who gets his squad ready to play. They are definitely an up-and-coming team to keep an eye out for in the future," stated Coupe.