The regular season finales for both Cal Women’s and Men’s Tennis today will be big...as in they are Big Slams, the Big Games of the tennis courts. Pac-12 Networks will have all of today’s action on TV.
Cal Women’s Tennis will get the action started at noon PT when they go for the Pac-12 regular season title and the top seed in the Pac-12 tournament, which has finally ditched the singles/doubles format for the team format in 2017 (which also means that the automatic berth to the NCAA tournament is not at stake today, although both Cal and Stanford are locks to make the postseason).
At the top of the Pac-12 women’s tennis standings are the 8th ranked Stanford Cardinal (17-2, 9-0 in Pac-12). Right behind them are the 16th ranked California Golden Bears (15-3, 8-1 in Pac-12) whose rankings have slipped from that of the top 10 during the pre-conference play. A win by the Bears will make Cal and Stanford co-champs of the Pac, with the Bears getting the tiebreaker. Golden Bears started the Pac-12 play with a split down in LA, dropping a tight 4-3 decision to USC Trojans (that was also their last dual meet loss on the year) without top singles player Manasse.
Cal women celebrated their talented Senior class last week. No.1 player Maegan Manasse, No.3 player Denise Starr, and graduate transfer (and 2x NCAA doubles champion) from Alabama Maya Jansen will all be graduating along with sometimes doubles player Stephanie Lin. With Manasse and Starr, Bears captured the ITA Indoors national championship last year - the first team national title for the program. Even if their rankings has slipped a bit, this Cal team is perhaps the best group since the Golden Bears made a run to the NCAA finals (only to lose to UCLA and Duke) back in 2008 and 2009.
Despite being ranked behind Cal going into the postseason in the past few years (partially due to their top player then taking the preseason off to play in the WTA tour), Stanford Women’s Tennis actually won it all last year (Bears lost in the semifinal to the essential home team in Oklahoma State). Stanford also knocked the Bears out of the NCAA tournament in the Round of 16 in both 2014 and 2015.
Women’s Tentative Lineup: (Cal vs. Stanford)
No.51 Maegan Manasse/Maya Jansen vs. No. 67 Arbuthnott/Davidson
Olivia Hauger/Karla Popovic vs. No. 40 Doyle/Lord
Denise Starr/Alexis Nelson vs. Higuchi/Lampl
No.65 Maegan Manasse vs. No. 54 Caroline Doyle
No.12 Karla Popovic vs. No. 20 Melissa Lord
Denise Starr vs. No. 45 Taylor Davidson
No.104 Olivia Hauger vs. No. 68 Caroline Lampl
Maya Jansen vs. No. 108 Emily Arbuthnott
Maria Smith vs. No. 63 Emma Higuchi
Stanford may have the edge on paper (due to the rankings) but you throw all of that out in a rivalry match and with the expected big home court advantage for the Golden Bears. Let’s win that Pac-12 title today, Bears!
Coming up at 3:30 PM PT (but possibly later if the Women’s meet goes long), Cal Men’s Tennis will seek to avenge for the non-conference Big Slam 4-3 loss earlier on the year against rival Stanford. To sweeten the deal for the fans (the meets are free to see), Cal Men’s Tennis will give away free hamburgers at the meet.
No.11 Cal Men’s Tennis (17-6, 4-1 in Pac-12) will host No.15 Stanford (14-6, 4-2 in Pac-12) in the regular season finale. Cal’s match against UCLA was rained out (thus one less Pac-12 game). With UCLA and USC both undefeated in the conference, their meet today down in LA will determine the Pac-12 regular season champion. Nonetheless, Golden Bears, coming off a NCAA final four berth last year, are seeking some momentum heading to Pac-12 championships and NCAA tournament play. Bears also want to send their seniors, three of the top 4 players in singles and the top pair in doubles - Florian Lakat, Filip Bergevi, and Andre Goransson, out in style with a big rivalry win.
Like I mentioned earlier, Stanford came from behind to win the non-conference Big Slam from The Farm back on March 7th. Expect another exciting finish that may likely come down to the last match yet again. Bears are coming off road wins vs. Oregon and Washington. Stanford lost to Oregon in their last match.
Men’s Tentative Lineup: (Cal vs. Stanford)
No. 4 Florian Lakat/Filip Bergevi vs. No. 63 Fawcett/Yale Goldberg
No. 58 Andre Goransson/Billy Griffith vs. No. 81 Genender/Kumar
Bjorn Hoffmann/J.T. Nishimura vs. Sutter/Wilczynski
No. 15 Florian Lakat vs. No. 10 Tom Fawcett
No. 45 Andre Goransson vs. No. 120 Sameer Kumar
No. 88 Billy Griffith vs. David Wilczynski
Filip Bergevi vs. Brandon Sutter
J.T. Nishimura vs. William Genesen
Bjorn Hoffmann vs. Jack Barber
It should be an exciting afternoon from Hellman Tennis Complex. Go Bears! Beat Stanford!