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Tale of the Tape: Golden Bears vs. Golden Gophers

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By Nicholas J. Walz

Naturally, the finale to crown a 2015 Tennis On Campus national champion here at the Cary Tennis Park in Cary, N.C. pairs together two appropriately named finalists from the Gold bracket: the UC Berkeley Golden Bears and the Minnesota Golden Gophers.

Beyond being nicknamed after golden-hued animals, the similarities between the two finalists are few.

UC Berkeley personifies west coast cool: a dynasty, having won three of the previous five Nationals and undefeated against their last 13 opponents on Tennis On Campus’ grandest stage. A win on Saturday night would put them one championship behind the Texas A&M Aggies – who own five – for most national titles in the 17-year history of the event.

Minnesota, meanwhile, has never appeared in a national final, let alone won one. They’ve been the undisputed stars of USTA Northern, winning Sectional after Sectional over the years including in 2015, but couldn’t carry over that dominance to Nationals. Not that that’s a failure – with 64 of the most talented teams facing off each season, good fortune is equally as important as great talent in emerging from pool play and staying perfect in the Gold bracket.

Here’s a look at how each team got to this point:

UC Berkeley Golden Bears / Pool A / Previous Titles: 2010, 2012, 2014

Teams Defeated: Sam Houston State, Alabama, Penn State, Cal Poly, Georgia, UCLA

Roster:
Kelsey Chong - Freshman
Sarah Dessouki - Junior
Joel Garcia - Senior
Diane Ji - Senior
James Kong - Senior
Riccardo Lemos - Junior
Ahdiv Nathan - Senior
Catinca Negru - Sophomore
Laura Posylkin - Senior
Manpreet Tiwana - Sophomore

Minnesota Golden Gophers / Pool P / Previous Titles: None

Teams Defeated: Boston College, Gonzaga, Carnegie Mellon, Miami, Texas A&M, North Carolina

Roster:
Jeffrey Adolf - Graduate
Salam Bachour - Sophomore
Giselle Beebe - Freshman
Laura Cattaneo - Freshman
Daniel Cooper - Graduate
Kelsey Frechette - Junior
Omar Shahed - Junior
Sofia Terzic - Freshman

Follow along on social media by using the hashtag: #TOCNationals for updates during the final.