BERKELEY - Denise Starr earned entry into another national tournament in southern California this week, as the California senior will play in the second annual Oracle ITA Masters from Thursday through Sunday in Malibu, California. Starr, a Brooklyn, New York, native who also competed in the inaugural tournament in 2015, is competing to win a trip back to New York, as the main draw singles champion qualifies for the USTA/ITA National Indoor Intercollegiate Championships in New York.
The Malibu Racquet Club and Pepperdine University will host the Oracle ITA Masters.
First on Thursday, the Golden Bear will team up with USC's Nick Crystal to play in mixed doubles in Malibu, with the Pac-12 duo taking on the duo of Idaho's Marianna Petrei and Portland State's Nathan Boneil at 8 a.m. at Pepperdine. Starr, ranked 62nd in the Oracle ITA preseason rankings, then faces New Mexico State's Rimpledeep Kaur at 10:45 a.m. on Thursday in main draw singles at Pepperdine.
BERKELEY - California men's tennis will host the USTA/ITA Northwest Regional Championships from Thursday through Monday at the Hellman Tennis Complex, Channing Tennis Courts and Hearst Tennis Courts, with qualification to the fall's top national tournament as the prize for the field of over 100 singles players and over 50 doubles teams competing in Berkeley.
Players from 15 schools - Cal, Stanford, Oregon, Washington, Eastern Washington, Pacific, Gonzaga, San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, Fresno State, Saint Mary's, Sacramento State, Santa Clara and UC Davis - will compete in the regional. The singles and doubles draws are available here.
The 2016 Cal women's soccer team - competing in its 35th anniversary season - has a first-timer leading the way in senior forward Arielle Ship.
Over the course of their long history in Berkeley, the Golden Bears have produced their fair share of outstanding student-athletes: All-Americans and all-conference honorees, academic scholars and professional draft picks. The world even saw a pair of Bears and their national teams face each other to begin the Olympics tournament in Rio when the USA's Alex Morgan lined up opposite Betsy Hassett of New Zealand.
From a competitive standpoint, the level of individual achievement the program has produced goes along with how exceptional it has been since its inception. However, having a player earn conference player of the year was one award that was missing from the team's athletic résumé.
Until Ship filled that void last fall.
A native of Westlake Village, Calif., Ship etched her name in the Cal record books after a junior season in which she scored 14 times (including six game-winning goals) and tallied 34 total points (with her team-leading six assists included). As a result, she became the first Golden Bear to pace the league in points and goals since Laura Schott accomplished the feat nearly 15 years ago.
"Ari is truly a special talent on the field," head coach Neil McGuire said. "She is blessed with the innate ability to score goals and has been instrumental in our team's success. Her dedication to her personal soccer development has been apparent ever since I have known her. She is a fierce competitor and her desire to win is insatiable. She has faced the challenge of college athletics head on and has succeeded where others may have failed."
Ship's list of achievements - All-American, first-team All-Pac-12, several Player of the Week awards - is certainly impressive. But the path to those accomplishments took a number of twists along the way.
Dear seven-year-old Alex,
I know you're still really little, and that you're probably too busy kicking the soccer ball out in the yard to pay me much mind right now, but I want you to take a second to look around at what's happening at home every day.
If there was ever a perfect example of a family functioning as a team, it's Mom, Dad, and the three Morgan girls — Jenny, Jeri and little Alex.
Everyone is pitching in and doing their part right now.
Mom is the family's very own version of Wonder Woman. She just started taking night classes to earn her MBA so she can continue to help provide everything you and your sisters need. (Some nights, when she's not around to make dinner, Jenny, who is all of 13 years old, fills in ... and she's become a really great cook! You'll love her chicken enchiladas.) Mom has virtually no time off. Monday through Friday, she's either working or going to school. So her only breaks are on the weekends. But you know better than anyone that she's not using those days to sleep in or relax. She's sacrificing her Saturdays and Sundays so you and your sisters can participate in sports.
From the time you started playing soccer two years ago, she's always been the team mom. And not just any team mom — she is, like, the greatest team mom in the history of soccer.
It isn't only that she never misses a game. And it isn't just the orange slices and strawberries she brings for halftime. She's doing everything she can to make sure you and your teammates are having fun. In fact, Mom just finished making hair ties for everyone on your team — she even used glitter glue to put each girl's uniform number on her hair tie. How cool is that?
And while Mom is transitioning between homework and hair accessories, Dad has been busy learning everything he can about your sport.
He's always been a baseball guy; he didn't know the first thing about soccer. But when you told him a few months ago that you're really starting to love the game, and that it was important to you that he watch you play, he got serious. Fast.