BERKELEY - Senior Tayler Davis clinched eighth-seeded California's 4-0 win over No. 25 Auburn in the NCAA Championships' second round as well as in the last home match of her college career on Saturday at the Hellman Tennis Complex. Davis defeated Plamena Kurteva, 6-2, 6-3, on court five to book Cal's ticket to the round of 16 - for the seventh straight year - and a meeting with ninth-seeded Alabama.
Eighth-ranked Cal improved its record to 18-5, while the Tigers end their NCAA team tournament run with a 19-9 record.
Saturday's win was reminiscent of Senior Day - Cal's last regular-season home match on April 19, when the Bears beat Stanford. Davis scored Cal's third point on that day, while senior Annie Goransson secured the victory over the Cardinal. On Saturday, Goransson led Paulina Schippers 6-1, 5-2, on court six, but she just missed out on clinching the win over Auburn.
"It was nice," Davis said. "I just wanted to make sure I finished my match today, so Annie and I were kind of in a race down there to see who finished first. I'm excited. I haven't really thought about that this was the last time I played here."
Cal quickly took the doubles point. The team of Davis and junior Kelly Chui raced to an 8-1 win on court three over Schippers and Emily Flickinger in about 35 minutes on court three, before the 33rd-ranked team of freshman Lynn Chi and junior Anett Schutting bested the 10th-ranked tandem of Kurteva and Pleun Burgmans, 8-3, on court one to secure the point.
"On court three we just had a really, really good day," Cal head coach Amanda Augustus said. "I thought Kelly Chui played just amazing today, and Taylor, so that really got us off to a great start. I knew we'd figure it out at one and two, but it took a little getting used to a different style that we don't normally see."
Chi won Cal's first singles match with a dominant 6-0, 6-1, victory over Jackie Kasler on court four that made the score 2-0. The 43rd-ranked Fabikova followed with an almost as dominant 6-1, 6-1, triumph over Flickinger on court two that left Cal one point away from winning the match. Goransson, Davis and sophomore Zsofi Susanyi - who led Jen Pfeifler, 6-3, 4-2, on court three - vied for that honor, with Davis ultimately prevailing.
Cal plays Alabama in the NCAA round of 16 on Friday, May 17, at 10 a.m. CT/8 a.m. PT in Urbana, Ill.
"Going to the sweet 16 is a part of our culture on our team, so we'll work hard and prepare as we have all season," Augustus said. "We're definitely excited to go."