The school year may be over and this is technically CGB's "offseason", but it's a busy busy next few days in the world of Cal Athletics. In a separate post for today, I will preview Cal Softball's games this weekend in the Tuscaloosa (Alabama) Regional. In a post for tomorrow, I will cover Cal Baseball's late season push to move up from the NCAA postseason bubble (this weekend's Utah series is huge in the sense that the Bears can actually create an extra at-large berth by knocking the Utes out of 1st place and that automatic berth). We have got exciting NCAA Women's Crew action coming up next weekend (top ranked Bears officially got word earlier this week that they have been selected as one of 22 schools to row at the NCAA championships).
In these next 3 weeks, the Golden Bears are probably the favorite to win 4 national championships (women's tennis, women's crew, men's crew, rugby 7s) with 2 more squads in position to surprise (men's tennis and men's golf). This is in addition to important Baseball, Softball, and Track (nope, didn't forget you guys this time) actions.
Let's get to the good stuff.
Cal Men's Golf advance to NCAA Championships (next weekend) thanks to late clutchness
It came down to the final two holes of the NCAA Regional (a 3 day events where 3 rounds were played) to decide whether the Golden Bears, including long-time head coach Steve Desimone's 37-year long Cal career, will continue beyond this past Wednesday.
Needing to remain in the top 5 to advance to the NCAA Championships, the Bears blew a 6 stroke lead that they had through the front 9 of Day 3. At a point when lesser mentally tough individuals/team may just give up, the Bears' 4 scoring players were able to get two clutch birdies in 17th and two more in 18th to fend off North Florida and Wake Forest (who along with Cal were fighting for two spots to advance) and punch their tickets to Eugene, Oregon next weekend for the NCAA Championships.
From CalBears.com recap:
KK Limbhasut and Shotaro Ban both had birdies on the par-four 17th with Limbhasut making a 35-footer, while Sebastian Crampton and Jamie Cheatham made par to move Cal within one shot of Wake Forest and into a tie with North Florida heading into the tournament's 54th and final hole.
Cal would pick up another shot on the final hole to secure the NCAA spot when Ban and Cheatham both birdied the par-four 18th and Limbhasut made par to help mitigate a Crampton bogey.
Fighting for that No.5 spot, the Bears actually managed to finish 4th in the Regional.
Coach Des was certainly pleased with the finish.
"It was one of the most clutch finishes in the history of this program," Desimone said. "It was magnificent to watch."
Here are the final scores from Marana, AZ for the Bears.
PLAYER LEADERBOARD – CAL INDIVIDUALS (after 3 of 3 days/3 of 3 rounds/54 of 54 holes)
T4. KK Limbhasut (68-73-69 – 210, -6)
T9. Shotaro Ban (70-73-70 – 213, -3)
T26. Collin Morikawa (76-70-73 – 219, +3)
T38. Sebastian Crampton (73-77-71 – 221, +5)
T59. Jamie Cheatham (79-77-72 – 228, +12)
Coach Des recaps the NCAA Tucson Regional:
Shotaro Ban recaps the last day:
KK Limbhasut talks about Day 3 of the Tucson regional:
Graduating senior Shataro Ban talks about his crazy schedule to make it back to Berkeley just in time for the commencement ceremony.
Bears will play at the Eugene Country Club from May 27th - June 1st in the NCAA Championships. The other qualified teams from the Tucson regional were the winner Stanford, Oregon, UAB, and Wake Forest.
FINAL TEAM LEADERBOARD (after 3 of 3 days/3 of 3 rounds/54 of 54 holes)
1. Stanford (274-284-275 – 833, -31)
2. Oregon (285-288-274 – 847, -17)
3. UAB (283-291-283 – 857, -7)
4. Cal (287-293-282 – 862, -2)
5. Wake Forest (286-295-282 – 863, -1)
HOLE ON YOU BEARS!
Cal Women's Tennis face Pepperdine on Saturday in Elite 8
From Tulsa, Oklahoma, top seed California Golden Bears rolled through yet another opponent in Round of 16 play on Thursday night when they defeated the 16th seed Texas Tech 4-0. Thursday saw 2nd seed Florida dropping a 4-3 decision to 15 seed Stanford (who eliminated the Bears in the Round of 16 for the past two years). 3rd seed (also on the opposite side of the bracket) North Carolina also fell victim to the upset bug when they lost to ACC rival Virginia by a 4-2 result. 5th seed Georgia also got knocked out by Oklahoma State. 4th seed Ohio State did survive a 4-2 challenge from Georgia Tech, however.
After a pair of 4-0 sweeps in 1st and 2nd round in Berkeley, Bears had little issue as well on Thursday night. After taking the doubles point by winning 6-2 in No.2 and No.3 doubles (while also ahead in No.1 doubles). All 6 Golden Bears won their 1st set in singles.
Bears then picked up easy straight set wins in courts 4 (Denise Starr), 3 (Lynn Chi), and 6 (Karla Popovic) to close out Texas Tech in dominant and easy fashion.
NCAA Championship Round of 16
 No. 1 California (22-1) defeated  No. 16 Texas Tech (25-6) – 4-0
May 19, 2016, in Tulsa, Okla.
Michael D. Case Tennis Center (indoors)
Cal won the doubles point
Order of Finish – 3, 2
1. No. 7 Maegan Manasse (Cal) vs. No. 93 Sarah Dvorak (Texas Tech) – 6-0, 3-5 Abandoned
2. No. 16 Klara Fabikova (Cal) vs. No. 109 Gabriela Talaba (Texas Tech) – 6-3, 2-4 Abandoned
3. No. 80 Lynn Chi (Cal) def. Alex Valenstein (Texas Tech) – 6-4, 6-0
4. No. 88 Denise Starr (Cal) def. Felicity Maltby (Texas Tech) –6-4, 6-2
5. Olivia Hauger (Cal) vs. Sabrina Federici (Texas Tech) – 6-1, 4-3 Abandoned
6. Karla Popovic (Cal) def. Katelyn Jackson (Texas Tech) – 6-3, 6-2
Order of Finish – 3, 4, 6
Bears will next face a familiar foe in Pepperdine Waves in the Elite 8 action on Saturday at 2 pm PT. Bears swept then No.5 Pepperdine 7-0 in a regular season matchup in mid-March. The Waves had a 4-0 sweep over Texas, the only non-seeded team in the Round of 16 of this Women's tournament.
Here is a recap of what happened in that meet. The Bears were overall quite dominant, only dropping two sets in singles. Of course, post season and regular season are two completely different beasts.
No. 1 California (13-0) def. No. 5 Pepperdine (9-2) – 7-0
March 19, 2016, in Berkeley, Calif.
Hellman Tennis Complex
Cal won the doubles point
Order of Finish – 3, 1*
*Clinched the doubles point
1. No. 12 Maegan Manasse (Cal) def. No. 2 Luisa Stefani (Pepperdine) – 6-3, 6-3
2. No. 11 Klara Fabikova (Cal) def. No. 97 Dzina Milovanic – 3-6, 6-2, 6-1
3. No. 60 Denise Starr (Cal) def. Laura Gulbe (Pepperdine) – 6-1, 6-4
4. No. 56 Lynn Chi (Cal) def. Matea Cutura (Pepperdine) – 6-2, 6-1
5. No. 77 Olivia Hauger (Cal) def. Apichaya Runglerdkriangkrai (Pepperdine) – 6-1, 4-6, 7-5
6. Karla Popovic (Cal) def. Michaela Capannolo (Pepperdine) – 6-1, 6-3
Order of Finish – 4, 3, 6*, 1, 2, 5
A quick comparison of the Waves' lineup on Thursday night shows a few changes: in No.3 doubles whre Dzina Milovanovic is now paired with Laura Guibe. Gulbe is also now playing as No.2 singles with Milovanovic sliding down to No.3 Runglerdkriangkrai (that's a hard name to type) is now playing as No.4 with Cutura sliding down to No.5. Of course, the Bears have also switched Chi and Starr in No.3 and No.4 spots. In short, for singles, there are potentially 4 different matchups than before, despite being the same 12 players.
All the Cal Tennis action from Tulsa (both the women and the men) are streamed online. You can access that stream via the link here.
Should the Bears tame the Waves, we will have separate gamethreads for the NCAA Semifinal (Monday, May 23rd at 10 AM PT) and potentially (and hopefully) Final (Tuesday, May 24th at 10 AM PT) here on CGB.
ROLL ON YOU BEARS!
Cal Men's Tennis face 4th seed TCU in Round of 16 today
No.13 Cal Men's Tennis had little issue rolling over their 1st and 2nd round opponents in Army and Ole Miss. They will face a much harder challenge on Friday morning against a tough TCU squad in the Round of 16. This Golden Medals article will be published a bit earlier than usual so it can serve as an open thread for Cal Men's Tennis.
This matchup is a rematch of earlier this year when the Bears upset then 2nd ranked squad by a 4-2 result from a neutral court in Austin, TX.
Here is the recap of what happened then:
No. 24 Cal (4-1) defeated No. 2 TCU (3-1) – 4-2
Feb. 7, 2016, in Austin, Texas
Weller Indoor Tennis Center
TCU won the doubles point
Order of finish – 2, 1, 3*
*Clinched the doubles point
1. No. 4 Cameron Norrie (TCU) def. No. 3 Andre Goransson (Cal) – 6-1, 6-3
2. No. 30 Florian Lakat (Cal) def. Alex Rybakov (TCU) – 6-2, 6-2
3. No. 39 Billy Griffith (Cal) def. No. 24 Guillermo Nunez (TCU) – 6-4, 6-4
4. No. 86 Filip Bergevi (Cal) def. No. 109 Jerry Lopez (TCU) – 6-1, 6-4
5. No. 54 Oskar Wikberg (Cal) vs. Eduardo Nava (TCU) – 4-6, 5-5 Abandoned
6. J.T. Nishimura (Cal) def. Reese Stalder (TCU) – 6-2, 7-6(5)
Order of Finish – 1, 2, 4, 3, 6*
For the Bears, the lineup has changed slightly since February. Senior Mads Engsted is paired with J.T. Nishimura to play No.3 doubles. Cal head coach Peter Wright has also elevated Florian Lakat to play at No.1 singles while sliding Andre Goransson to No.2.
TCU, of course, is claiming that they have learned a lot from that loss. In this local paper article, they said that they are so much more resilient now and will not fall in straight sets.
TCU won the doubles point against the Bears in Austin, and picked up a victory on the No. 1 singles court from sophomore Cameron Norrie. Cal, however, rallied to win four singles matches to clinch the victory.
"We were a little whiny in some spots," Roditi said. "We didn’t show the resilience to come back after losing the first set in four of those matches. We’ve proven that we learned from that against Oklahoma and Texas where we were able to come back from that kind of situation and win."
TCU defeated Texas after dropping the first set on four of the six singles courts. The same thing happened against the No. 10 Sooners in the first round of the Big 12 Championships on April 30.
Personally, I think it is a good sign that they have dropped some sets even lately. Of course, the Bears weren't able to turn first set wins into points in their Pac-12 championship loss to UCLA. Nevertheless, it is much better to be the one pressuring (especially as the underdogs) than the opposite. We shall see if the Bears can get upset TCU again.
The winner of TCU/Cal will face the winner between 5th seed Ohio State and Texas (who Cal has also beaten) in the Elite 8 round on Sunday, May 22nd.
ROLL ON YOU BEARS!
Marianne Li of Cal Women's Golf at NCAA Championships this weekend
Freshman Marianne Li will compete up at Eugene (same course as the men next weekend) this weekend in her first NCAA Championships.
Li finished in a three way tie for first in the Shoak Creek Regional.
Li hails from Bellevue, Washington; therefore, this trip to Eugene is a homecoming of sort. Li has a current scoring average of 74.07 which is on pace for the top score for a Cal freshman (74.5 for Pia Halbig is the record). The freshman has been very consistent all season long, her fall average of 74.08 and spring average of 74.05 are basically identical.
The NCAA gold format is such that everyone plays 3 rounds on May 20th-22nd. The top 15 teams and top 9 non-advancing individuals will play a 4th round on May 23rd (which is shown live on Golf Channel). That final round will determine the individual champions as well as the top 8 teams - where all the sudden the team has to switch gear from stroke play to match play (this was the main reason why the dominant Cal men's golf teams from early 2010's didn't win the NCAA team titles).