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A PAIR OF TOUGH MATCHES OVER THE WEEKEND

Hey there tennis fans!

The grind is real. Not one match we have played has been an easy one. We are facing all ranked teams that are just as feisty and tenacious to win. No mercy, right? What sets us back a little bit is that we lack the confidence we need to stay strong and hang tough through every single match situation. When we start to lose that fire, we see this energy carry out into our other matches that follow and it becomes really difficult to bounce back and secure the wins.

We hosted our first home conference match of the season against Gonzaga. Although the result was not in our favor, we battled as best we could. San Diego State was our next opponent and they always have a strong squad so we could not afford to show any signs of weakness. Unfortunately we fell short as well and it seemed we felt both physically and emotionally defeated. It breaks my heart to see my team so bummed out.

We need to find it in ourselves to believe that we can beat any team we play. We don't lack the talent nor the passion. We have it! We just have to find it again. The season is still young. We are just getting into our conference matches and we have time to make a strong turn around. The results will come and it's important in these times that we stay motivated and support each other because although tennis is an individual sport and our results are based on the individual performances, we still are a team at the end of the day, and any sort of support we can get can only help us moving forward.

This coming weekend we start our spring break. So yay for the no classes! We do have quite a jam-packed match schedule however with three conference matches lined up the following week. So we must keep that focus strong and be ready to battle! To tip off Spring break weekend, we will travel down to San Diego to play USD. Wish us luck!

I love my team and I know we can get through this little speed bump. So let's go lady lions and lets embark on this comeback trail!

GO LIONS!

Logan

HECTIC WEEK FOR THE LIONS BUT SNAGGED A WIN OVER UTAH STATE

Hey there tennis fans!

We are well into the height of our season and things are heating up. Our bodies are getting stronger, more agile and somewhat more flexible but we would be lying if we said that our bodies aren't taking a beating from all of the matches we have played one after the other. As Division I players, we understand the discipline that is required, the caliber of tennis that we must compete against and the brutal travel schedule; it is simply the nature of the game. With this said, of course we are going to feel fatigued from time to time but because we know what is expected of us and what level so many aspiring junior tennis players out there aspire to be at, it is crucial that we recover and bounce back quick and as fresh as ever. Easier said then done sometimes, but hey, if tennis was easy, than everyone would do it!

On Thursday we ventured over to Logan, Utah for back-to-back matches. We had a huge first win on Thursday over the No. 69 ranked, Utah State. That was a major test of our tenacity and our "refuse to lose" mentality. We were right into every single match until the bitter end. They made me so proud out there! Special shout out to Kristine and Julia who had clutch wins at No. 4 and 5 singles to clinch our victory. BYU was our next match-up not to mention, our first conference match of the season. They were tough, no doubt about it. Ranked No. 52, BYU gave us some tough competition to work against but we held our own and fought as hard as we could. The match didn't go our way but we know we couldn't get too down because we had another match on the horizon.

With a day of practice in between, we were faced with yet another day of competition against No. 75, Sacramento State. The matches were tight, but Sac State pulled out the victory a little fresher and tougher than we did. A little mental and physical break from tennis is much needed after a crazy week that we went through.

We were thankful to get this past Monday off to regroup and catch up on sleep and schoolwork that all added up upon our absence in Utah followed by our match against Sac State on Sunday. That's three matches in four days! Yikes!

We are going to try to hang mentally and physically strong throughout this coming week so we are ready for our duel set of matches for Saturday: Gonzaga and San Diego State.

Wish us luck and GO LIONS!

Logan

TITLE IX WEEK AT LMU

Hey there tennis fans,

This past week was an extremely moving week at LMU to celebrate women. LMU hosted its first annual Title IX celebration. And I just happen to know someone who is a strong proponent of Title IX: my coach. Not only does Title IX hold a special place in his heart, but he basically started Title IX at our university by introducing the first ever women's sports team (tennis) and athletic scholarship on campus. He's a living legend I tell you.

Just as a refresher as to what this whole Title IX thing is about... 1972 marked the date when Title IX of the Education Amendment passed as a primary law barring sex discrimination in education, activities and sports programs. Since then, Title IX required schools and colleges to receive federal funds to give women and girls equal opportunities to compete in athletics as well as receive scholarships, equipment, coaching, facilities (all of which had been given to men and excluded from women before). It is fascinating to hear how impactful Title IX has been for female athletes. In fact, the number of female college athletes is nearly five times the pre-Title IX rate.

In order to honor and celebrate Title IX at LMU, ASLMU (Associated Students of LMU) organized a series of events throughout the week. The celebration opened up with a field day, (an open activity day during convo for both genders to play sports in a fun atmosphere), followed by an amazing speech, which was delivered by the incredibly admirable and poised former professional basketball player, Lisa Leslie. It was fascinating to listen to her experiences as a woman in professional sports. She was a perfect representation of what Title IX is all about. And hey, she was the first woman to ever dunk in basketball! Coach Jamie insisted I take a picture with her in the end. So I snagged this one (attached). She's pretty tall, eh? 

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Continuing the Title IX festivities, Mid way through the week, there was a "dinner and dialogue" event where female faculty and staff members discussed working in academia at a professional level as women. Lastly, ASLMU arranged a panel that discussed what college was like for women prior to Title IX and Coach Jamie was on it! The more times I hear about Jamie's journey at LMU from a student-athlete to a coach of both the men's and women's team to now professor and the copious amount of achievements made in between then, I will forever be in awe.

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It was an awesome week and we could tell how passionate Jamie was about each and every event that celebrated Title IX. Because of this, my team and I made sure we could come support him any and every chance we had.

Back to a tennis note, we had a tough loss (3-4) to CSU Fullerton on Saturday. We are battling some physical hick-ups from the squad which I think affected our overall performance. At this point, it is super important that we are taking care of our bodies (physically and mentally) so that we are ready for all of these conference matches that come one after the other. We need to stay as healthy as possible and prevent this fatigue that tends to happen the more matches we play so often. We now gear up for two matches in Utah this week. First, we play Utah State and BYU (our first conference match!)

That's all for now. GO LIONS!

Logan

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

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