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March 2015 Archives

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