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LADY LIONS TAKE VEGAS

Hey there tennis fans!

Can you believe it's March already? I know I always say that time flies in my blog but I can't help but realize it more than ever because I am a senior and deep into my final semester of my collegiate career. And everything I do or have done this year could be for the last time. Okay, it's too early on to get sappy, but I would be lying if I said I didn't think about it from time to time. Anytime my co-captain, Lisa and I bring up the thought of graduating, we have to stop ourselves... "Live in the present," as Coach Jamie would say.

Speaking of Jamie's classic quotes, we caught him revealing to The Loyolan (when he interviewed to celebrate his 40th year as head coach) that this year's squad is his favorite. However, we discovered that he likes us so much because it is part of his nature to enjoy everyone he surrounds himself with in that present moment. I guess we can consider ourselves special, right?

We focused this past week primarily on doubles because we have been struggling a little bit with our executions in matches. We have also been trying out different doubles teams. Additionally, we decided to have a team intervention about our slow start problem in our matches. Our energy tends to be lower than it should be especially with the ITA format shortening our matches significantly. With that said, we cannot really afford to start so slowly in our matches because it can be sometimes difficult to switch momentums when are starting from behind. Easy fix, let's avoid the slow starts, yeah?

This past weekend, we road tripped to Las Vegas to face two teams where we would try to change some things in our warm ups that could potentially help us with our slow start issue. And well, I would say it worked pretty well for us. After basic hitting and pattern play to get rhythm down in our warm ups, we decided to ad feed in drilling for certain doubles situations (whether it was two up two back, one up one back or even all four up at net). These drills really helped us with keeping our reflexes in tact, not to mention, it kept us light on our feet and it kept our energy high. 

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Once it came to our first match against University of Arizona on Saturday, I noticed that there was huge improvement in our doubles play. We were all so effective with hitting the right targets and closing out at the necessary times that we looked super sharp. Our positivity was on point as well. We ended up clinching the doubles point which was great for our confidence going into the singles matches. We battled some pretty tough conditions out there as well. The winds were harsh and gusty, and Coach Jamie reiterated to us that we needed to have that in our heads that we were going to play some "ugly" tennis. However, it was out of our control and we needed to do our best to keep moving forward in the match and not dwell when things were not going our way. Singles was tough for us but we stayed strong throughout giving the Wildcats a good run for their money. Shout out to Anna for a great win at 4. Our final score was 2-5.

Because we had an early match time of 10am, we had most of the afternoon off. We couldn't help but realize that the Strip happens to be in the neighborhood. You toss a ball to serve on the UNLV courts, (where our two matches were played), and you can catch a glimpse of the Hard Rock, Cosmopolitan, Venetian in your peripherals. Whoa. We decided to spend most of the afternoon and early in the evening walking around the strip, which is ridiculously entertaining. The city is truly amazing. The amount of crazy people walking around, the dedicated addictive gamblers and well the incredibly luxurious hotels and sites is unreal. It tires you out to take it all in, my gosh. But it was a great little trip and a great way to clear our heads from tennis a little bit. We had a nice team dinner at Yardhouse, followed by some Sprinkles cupcakes and headed back early for the night so we could gear up for our Sunday match against UNLV. 

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The UNLV Rebels are a competitive team and they were a perfect match for us. All three doubles team had super strong starts, however we slipped a little bit and the Rebels capitalized on some of our basic errors and we had trouble closing the matches out. The doubles point went to the Rebels, but it was super close. I am still impressed with how well we executed certain points. Things did not really go our way in singles and it cost us making a comeback and ending the day with a victory. Jessica played an amazing match at 1 where she won 0 and 1. So that was awesome. Overall, I think there were some positive takeaways from the weekend and we will carry this with us as we continue along into season and with conference matches right around the corner.

This coming Saturday, we are playing CSU Fullerton on their home turf. We hope to bring back a win for the Lady Lions!

That's all for now. GO LIONS!

Logan

LIVE IN THE PRESENT BUT ALWAYS MOVING FORWARD

Hey there tennis fans!

            Your lady lions were graced with Spring Break No. 1 this past Wednesday, which was much to our delight. Spring Break in February you might ask? Funky I know. We have a different break schedule for this spring semester than normal, and one of which happened to be this week. Coach Jamie gave us the day off on Wednesday, which was nice because we had absolutely no obligations to attend. We did not have to worry about rushing back for weights or practice from class. We could seize the day and give ourselves a full mental break from all our responsibilities. And it was smack-down in the middle of the week!

            Lisa, Ellie and I decided to go hiking in Malibu for the day. The day was warm with a little cloud cover and I researched a prime hiking trail overlooking the ocean as well as the Malibu hills that we could tackle. It was beautiful! After, we decided to go to that ever-trendy lunch spot, Malibu Farms, on the pier. Not surprisingly, it did not seize to disappoint. It was a day well spent. 

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        The rest of our team utilized that free-time appropriately and caught up on some homework while others went to the beach to enjoy that rare February sunshine. Julia was happy to spend some time with her family who traveled over from Sweden for a couple weeks. They used that free Wednesday to go to Disneyland. What a treat! 

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            We returned to practice mode full force on Thursday to gear up for our match against UCSB on Saturday. It is amazing what one-day of rest can to your mind and body. It was much needed. We traveled up to Santa Barbara Saturday morning. The Gauchos were looking strong right out of the gates, and it was tough to shift our momentum and play with reckless abandon. Anna had an awesome win at 5 but unfortunately we could not secure the win.

            We hang our heads high, however as we press on into this week. On Friday morning, we travel to the city of Sin, Las Vegas to take on University of Arizona and UNLV. It will not be your average Vegas adventure but we are excited for a little road trip and to keep working on our games so we can improve each and every match in order to best prepare us once the conference matches start.

Wish us luck as our season continues to roll on through. That's all for now! GO LIONS!

Logan

BIG WIN OVER CAL POLY

Hey there tennis fans!

This week was a good week for your lady lions. We finally got around to taking our team picture for the website. It's only one picture that we need, but of course (because we are girls) it almost seems virtually impossible to get the perfect picture and one that everyone will equally like or at least, tolerate. So it may not surprise you that a majority of us want to retake them this week. Girls will be girls, am I right?

The Loyolan came to interview Coach Jamie about celebrating his big 40th season as head coach. Not too long ago, you might remember that I actually wrote an almost identical article about Jamie for one of my journalism classes, which will also be featured in March's issue of Inside Tennis Magazine. So definitely check that out when that's released! In addition to Jamie's interview regarding his 40th anniversary, they requested that the two captains also be interviewed for the story. So Lisa and I had to string some nice thoughts to say about Jamie.

It was a struggle. Totally kidding....we can go on forever about some of the crazy endeavors he's experienced, the philosophical epiphanies, the corky jokes that come out on a daily basis but also about how great of a mentor, coach and father figure he has been to all of us and I imagine all of his former players over the past 40 years. Stay tuned for that article to be released in the Loyolan soon!

This past Saturday, which happened to be Valentines Day, we traveled up north to play the Cal Poly Mustangs. Our matches are always super tight with them year after year so we were mentally prepared for a heated battle. After a tough doubles go, we stepped it up big time in singles play and posted wins across the board except for one. This left us with a final match score of 5-2. Shout out to my lions for the big fight. It made that long 4 ½ or so hours or so drive worth it. Not to mention on a day celebrating love, we could walk away playing the sport we love with a victory. What can be better?

Entering our Spring Beak this week, we have yet another travel trip to play UCSB this coming Saturday. So we're looking forward to that.

That's all for now! GO LIONS!

Logan

TWO MATCHES AND GIVING BACK TO THE KIDS

Hey there tennis fans!

This week we had a pair of matches. The first team we battled was No. 74, UC Irvine at Ivine. Doubles looked a little rocky, so we were off to a slow start. But we managed to pull together solid singles play where our intensity was at a high level throughout. It was not enough to win the overall match (2-5) but it definitely was a test to the kind of performance we can deliver out there! And each time, it will get better and better and our execution will be there so we will be able to clinch those wins.

Our next match-up was against Long Beach this past Friday. Every year, our matches with them get super competitive and this year was no different. Our doubles looked a little weak and we had trouble keeping our confidence up going into our singles matches, which ultimately cost us the victory at the end. I think our loss was not due to any physical disadvantages but I think we struggled mentally. This struggle has led us to make several unforced errors in unfortunate situations. Considering the doubles matches are so quick now with the new 6-game pro-set format versus the previous 8-game pro-set, we cannot afford to make so many unforced errors. We can overcome this. I know we can. Losing these matches help us realize what we must not repeat and we will do everything we can to improve upon that and be best prepared for the next match!

On Saturday, our team helped out with a tennis clinic at the Stub Hub Center or more commonly known as the Home Depot Center. The athletic facilities were amazing. I have never been and I have always wanted to make a trip to see it at some point. On the soccer fields, we peered at the LA Galaxy soccer team having a practice.

 That was definitely cool to see. The kid turnout for the tennis clinic was great. We had about five rotations going of different stations of passionate tennis kids. I love seeing how excited the kids all get to hit the ball around because my teammates and me can call relate to how they feel when we were growing up and becoming so hooked on the sport. Not to mention, there were definitely some future tennis studs on the horizon that I observed. All in all, we had a blast!  

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Our next match is on Valentines Day actually against Cal Poly on their home courts! Why not spend the day of 'love' playing the sport we love?

That's all for now! GO LIONS!

Logan

 

INTENSITY IS HIGH AND WILL ONLY GET BETTER

Hey there tennis fans!

How about that super bowl, huh? It is amazing to see that no matter what the sport it is, the game is never really over until it's over. And the final two minutes can really make all the difference. Normally, I cheer on any team from Boston especially considering I am a die-hard Red Sox fan, however, I am not huge on the Patriots. So I decided to pull for the Seahawks but, wow what a brutal finish, am I right? Pete Carroll and the rest of Seattle are going to be bitter for a while. It was an incredible game nevertheless.

As for a tennis update: Fighting back from some minor injuries, we finally are looking like a fairly complete and healthy team. I was battling bicep tendonitis for a couple months, Julia had an ab strain and others had some ankle injuries here and there. What's important is that we took the necessary steps and proper care in order for us to bounce back on the court in a timely manner.

On Thursday, we took on No. 1 and last year's NCAA champs, UCLA. As we put their obvious reputation aside, we lady lions put up quite a fight against the Bruins. Jess had an amazing match at 1 and came close while the others gave everything they had. After all, we had nothing to lose and we are still testing out our strengths and weaknesses in these early season matches. I am really proud of the tenacity my team showed out there.

We celebrated my fellow team captain, Lisa's birthday on Friday. Our initial plan was to have a giant bonfire for her because we have always tried to plan that as one of our team bonding adventures, but naturally, Friday was the only day of the week that the rain gods decided to grace us with their presence. And it was not a light rain, mind you. It was a pour. So to our misfortune, a birthday bonfire was out of the picture. Our back-up plan: C&O's for some killer Italian cuisine. And it was a round 2 C&O's outing considering we went the previous year for her birthday. We know how much Lisa loves her pasta. It was a lot of fun!

This coming week, we have two matches scheduled. Our first one is up against UC Irvine on Tuesday away followed by CSU Long Beach at home on Friday. The grind is going. And we can use all the support we can get! As the reality of being a senior has really set in for me, I have this hard-core LMU spirit pumping through my veins. I don't want to graduate knowing that I missed out on showing some Lion love to all the other sport teams who work equally as hard to compete at such a high level and do our school proud.

Thus I decided to attend four sport games on Saturday. I first went to the guys tennis match, then the baseball game, followed by rugby and finally ice hockey. I have never been to a single LMU rugby or ice hockey game so that was a blast to watch. All of our teams ended up winning too, which was awesome. I am hoping that by showing my support at those games, perhaps some of those athletes will return the favor and come out to some of our tennis matches! I am going to make that a goal this semester. Count on it!

That's all for now! GO LIONS!

Logan

FIRST HOME MATCH WIN UNDER OUR BELTS

Hey there tennis fans!

The season is rolling and what a season we have ahead of us! We have been in the midst of formulating solid doubles team combinations as well as organizing a fearless singles line-up. Our very first home match took place on Thursday against UC Riverside. No matter what group of talent we face from a team, my teammates realize that we need to block out any preconceived notions and just play our games.

What's important is that we deliver OUR best performances on the court while staying true to our game styles. That means don't get caught up into our opponents game styles because that shift can lead us to lose our confidence, and fast. Coach Jamie and Ivan constantly reiterate that every match is beneficial for us because we can be exposed to all sorts of situations that simply aim to strengthen our experience as collegiate players. Getting exposed to different situations in these early season matches will be extremely beneficial for us as the season progresses and we play more and more matches.

Following our first match, Coach Jamie stressed that as much as wins are great and we should be happy when they come, we cannot get too comfortable. If we get too comfortable, then we start to lose our focus and discipline about the matches ahead. This means taking care of our bodies whether that means recovering from matches with a protein shake topped off with some ice or treatment or taking the time to get a good long stretch in.

Recovery is huge. We have matches roughly once a week from here until the end of the season in April. Not to mention, every match is different. Therefore, we must take care of ourselves and prepare for the next matches accordingly.

I personally am pumped about the road ahead and I love that I can have one of my best friends and fellow captains, Lisa by my side to help lead our team to our best season yet!

This Thursday, we play UCLA (last year's NCAA DI champs) on their home turf. This should be an awesome challenge for us and we are excited to get the opportunity to play our hearts out against these Bruin beasts especially because we have nothing to lose.

Come our and support your lady lions. That's all for now! GO LIONS!

Logan

THE SEASON OPENS FOR THE LIONS

Hey there tennis fans!

Happy New Year! We hope you all had a wonderful holiday season and are excited about what 2015 has in store for all of us, I know I am! Unfortunately, two members of our team, Laura and Audrey will not be returning to LMU due to some family complications. We will miss them and pray for them and their families and wish them the best of luck with their future endeavors. After a well-rested and relaxing Christmas break, The Lady Lions came back on campus a week early for some early training to gear up for our first match against USC who is ranked No. 14. It was great to get settled back in LA before schools gets back in session not to mention, get back our rhythm on the court and knock out the dreaded fitness testing.

We were all pretty surprised and impressed with our fitness testing results especially because we admittedly indulged in the fancy foods of the holidays. It was reassuring to have our fitness is in tact because it will be ultimately tested as we enter our long grueling matches when season starts up!

USC hosted our match at the Manhattan Country Club. The club had awesome facilities and we were so fortunate to play over there. We had to be on our best behavior! Because of USC's reputation, we knew we were in for a tough match, but it was a perfect opportunity for us to work on things and play with some of the highest caliber of players in the country. We had nothing to lose. 

Coach Jamie reiterates the importance of having confidence in ourselves no matter who we face. Sure we are going to play other more talented teams, but we can't become professionals over night. We have to use the game we have even if it is super crafty and maximize it to put on our best performances on the court. We did a lot of positive things in the match and Coach Jamie and Ivan were proud of our intensity throughout. We put up a solid fight for the 'fight on' squad.

This past weekend was the homecoming basketball game where we played Gonzaga. Some of our team including myself came out to support and contributed to an amazing turnout. 

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It's always good to root on the other teams who work equally as hard to make our school proud. It was also the annual athlete formal on Saturday night. Considering all of us student athletes are used to seeing each other sweaty from practice or from weights, it's nice to have an event where we all get dressed up. We can actually clean up pretty good and it's fun to see all of the athletes come together. It was a great time!

 This week, we are excited to host our first home match against UC Riverside at 1:30. We'd love to see you all out there.

That's all for now! GO LIONS!

Logan

TIS THE HOLIDAY SEASON

Hey there tennis fans!

Just like that, the first half of the year for the Lady Lions is over, which means the seniors, including myself, only have one more semester remaining, and the most important semester to look forward to, our regular season of matches. WOW!

Once our pre-season ended the week of Thanksgiving, it seemed like time was all a blur. That is definitely due to the dumping of schoolwork on us for which we had to complete for the semester. It always gets super heavy with final tests and papers in the homestretch, but once we get out of that last final, there almost seems like no better feeling in the world.

One of my personal final projects for my sports journalism class was to write a feature one someone that I admire in sports. When I think about people in the tennis industry that I truly admire, naturally I think of Coach Jamie Sanchez who has not been an amazing coach to me but a father figure, mentor and biggest cheerleader of everything I do both on and off the court. Considering we are celebrating the 40th year of the tennis team and the 40th year as the head coach of the first women's sports program ever at LMU, I thought Jamie would be the perfect person to choose for a great article! I had a ton of fun interviewing him as well as multiple close sources of him including former teammates, player, family members, colleagues etc. I think it's safe to say that my brain is pretty filled Jamie Sanchez knowledge, and he could possibly be one of the most interesting people I have ever gotten the pleasure to know.

Since I freelance write for Inside Tennis magazine, a regional tennis publication, I thought it would be perfect if I got permission to publish the article that I was originally just writing for my final class assignment. My boss at my magazine publication was thrilled with the idea! So look out soon for my article about Jamie in the magazine. I will also post it to the main LMU tennis website so you can all take a look!

We had a nice breakaway from our studies for our annual Cheesecake Factory Secret Santa fiasco with our whole team and coaches. What better way to take in some fuel for studying than some prime cheesecake, right? 

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It was really great to get everyone together one last time before we all leave in different directions for the holiday! The gift exchanges were super cute and people were so thoughtful with what they got each other. 

Our assistant coach, Ivan had me for Secret Santa and he got me Rafael Nadal's book, Rafa, that recently came out on New York's Bestseller list and Ivan knew that I have been dying to read that! I am so excited for my holiday read!

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On behalf of the LMU Women's Tennis team, I hope you all had a nice Christmas and are looking forward to a wonderful, happy and healthy 2015! Your Lady Lions return back to LMU for training on January 5th and our opening match of the season is against USC on January 14th.  

At your convenience, check out the goofy Lady Lions getting silly in our annual Christmas video which is posted on the tennis homepage. Our whole team talked about our Christmas traditions back home and what we are most excited about for the holidays. You can get a taste of our personalities.

That's all for now. GO LIONS!

Logan

TOURNAMENT FREE

Hey there tennis fans!

Inside, we lady lions are fist pumping to the fact that we are "tournament-free" from now until the end of the semester...which is what, 3 weeks or so? I know the workload is getting the absolute best of us with end of the semester group projects, papers, exams...It all seems never-ending. But with such a short semester left, we know we have to put our school games on over-drive. It's ultimate crunch time. And it's nice that we can utilize the remaining weekends (free of tennis) to stay on top of our work.

According to our 8 hour a week schedules, tennis is still set twice a week along with weights. We do have spin and pilates thrown in there as well. All of our regular activities are still in place but the tennis time is cut down. So with that limited time, my team and I make sure that we maximize our time and keep our focus on the court.

We made a team trip to the basketball game on Friday in their second game of the season as well as the final soccer game of the season on Saturday! Both teams played great and the Lions got a pair of wins back-to-back. I am super happy that our lions have made the efforts to support other lions because that's the LMU athletic community is all about. We're all a big family.

Countdown: 9 days until a little half-week break for thanksgiving. It will be nice go home and be with our families or just to breakaway from school (for those who are international and can't go home) and come back refreshed for the homestretch until finals and then our big holiday break. One day at a time. It's going to fly by so fast and we won't even know it

That's all for now. GO LIONS!

Logan

FALL TOURNAMENTS COMMENCE IN SAN DIEGO

Hey there tennis fans!

Our fall season is complete! Well as far as competition goes. Four of your Lady Lions (Julia, Audrey, Kylie and Anna) went to San Diego once again for our final tournament, the SDSU Fall Classic II. Among our team included Denver, Air Force, UC Irvine, Stanford, Missouri, Washington, UTEP, UC Santa Barbara and San Diego.

After having won a tournament this fall, Anna (one of our freshmen) reached her second final in her bracket against Missouri, which is so awesome! We all know as freshmen, it is quite a tough transition from junior tennis into high level DI college tennis. Anna has such an even-keeled aura on the court and always handles her body language and composure so well and maturely. That is so impressive for someone her age and I know we will be seeing great things to come from her as she continues her college career. And I am speaking as someone who has grown up playing with her. Her game has truly blossomed!

In addition to Anna's success in the tournament, Julia reached the back draw finals.. As a dubs team, Anna and Julia also reached the back draw finals! Kylie and Audrey won their doubles match on Sunday as well. And Kylie won her singles match on Sunday.

Three of the Lions who did not play in the tournament this weekend, (Lisa, Ellie and myself) participated in what is called an Electric Run. For those of you who are familiar with the 'Color Run,' it is very similar. It was a 5k (3 mile race) that took place on Saturday at Dodger Stadium. The running route was in the parking lot around the stadium. Here's the twist: the run was at 7 at night and was neon and glow themed. So Ellie, Lisa and I dressed up in white tops and neon tutus covered in glow necklaces and bracelets so we could 'light up' the path we ran! It was an absolute blast!

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The trail was all lit by fun bright colors and people got really into their costumes. We would see a lot of people with strings of actual lights looped around their bodies. It was impressive.

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 Next semester, we are hoping to round our whole team up to sign up for another run similar to that, possibly the color run because we know that's another fun and popular one to do!

As our tennis competition wraps up for the year, we head back into eight-hour weeks so we are cutting down on our practice time. I know a lot of us are a little relieved to hear that because these last few weeks of school before thanksgiving break gets extremely hectic with final papers/midterms/group projects. 

And then of course it is only week after thanksgiving break that we have to prepare for finals. Yikes! So it is very important that all of us stay on top of our studies with a little pressure off the tennis rigor.

As this semester wraps up, I am trying to encourage my teammates to attend some of the remaining conference games for all the sports teams like men's and women's soccer and water polo. We really try to encourage "lions supporting lions" as we are a tight-knit community at LMU. 

Basketball is also just starting up and there looks to be a brand new squad and a brand new coach, so I know I can count on my team to make it out to some games. For me and Lisa, Madison and Ana Lucia, especially as seniors, we want to try to go to as many games as possible because this is the last real semester and a quarter that we are a part of the LMU sports community.

That's all for now! GO LIONS!

Logan

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