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Part One

By Christian Alvarado


Our second day here in Costa Rica was pretty fun to say the least. After a great night's rest from all the traveling we woke up to a wonderful breakfast. We went to our practice and trained on a nice field. It wasn't like the fields we were used to back home, but it wasn't horrible either. We had a nice practice and came back for lunch. Our pregame meal was delicious. It was now time to get mentally prepared for the game. A couple hours later it was off to the game. We weren't sure what to expect from the team we were playing. They had a nice stadium, the team seemed fairly young, and the wind started to pick up before the game. From the start of the game you could'tell they were used to the field and the way the ball bounced. It the game was pretty good, we had chances to score, but unfortunately we ended up scoreless. The other team was very friendly after the game and they seemed very interested to come to the United States. We came back to the hotel after and the team hung out together in the casino. Its kind of weird that the team was bonding at the casino, but everyone seemed to be having fun there. Overall today was a great day and we are all looking forward to what else Costa Rica has in store for us. 


Part Two

By Akio Ohtake-Gordon


Today marked our first official day in Tico land.  We have enjoyed our stay so far, but it seemed that our thirst for the game was quenched today with a practice, and most importantly, a game at 5! The game was against a professional second division team, Liberia FC about and hour and a half bus drive away from our hotel.  The team got mentally prepared in the bus.

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(Connor Hunsicker and Jack McCracken listening to music and getting pumped up while looking "tico-suavè").


After the bus ride, the team got prepared in the locker room, changing into our game jerseys, and lacing the boots up. Warm up gave us the news that the field conditions would not be very comparable to Sullivan field, with the dry, hard surface underneath a thick bushel of crab grass. After stretching,  a few games of possession, and shots on goal, the whistle blew for kick off.

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(Estadio de Liberia F.C.)


I sat the bench for the first 40 minutes, anticipating the opportunity of being able to finally play on international soil.


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(Christian Alvarado game ready and Luc Brubaker candid photo extraordinaire)


While observing the game, I noticed the opposing Ticos were very technical, much like our team, but lacked one thing in their game against us, and that was physicality.  We dominated balls in the air and 50/50 balls were claimed as Lion territory.  Yet, our team was not able to adjust very well to the dry and crab-grass turf of the stadium, hitting the post twice consecutively in the same play. The opposing team did not seem as affected to the field conditions, as this was home soil to them, and strung some very good give and goes across different areas of the field.


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(Juan Sebastian De Rada made a big impact in the first half (don't worry coach Mennell I wasn't taking these photos).)


I got the chance to come into the game at around the 43-minute mark, and the whistle blew for half-time before I was able to make a great impact in the game.  My hunger was abstained until the next whistle.  Once the second whistle blew, I was flying, hungry on the right-wing and ambitious for any type of contribution to a goal, whether scoring or assisting.  Throughout the second half, I was able to distribute a few crosses, and attempts on goal.  One play particularly sticks out where I beat Liberia's left back with a quick step-over and slipped a quick ball to Trent Clifton.  His shot was unfortunately smacked over the goal, as well as many of our chances throughout the second half.  We created many openings to goal with great technique and bursts of great speed, but unfortunately the ball would not go in the back of the net. The game ended in a 0-0 tie.  This was a disappointing result for our team, because we had a good 70% of the ball possession throughout the game, and outshot our opponent but a vast amount. Yet, considering how this is our first game in a very different atmosphere, it is not a terrible loss. Reviewing my personal performance, I found that I made a positive impact on the game, but I probably could have made a greater one if I demanded the ball a little more from my teammates.  I need to get into some of my teammates, and show my passion and my tenacity for the ball is not to be taken for granted.  This is definitely something that I will do in our next game in two days.


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(Akio Ohtake-Gordon observing my next move;) )


After the game, we were able to express our gratitude for the opportunity to play the Liberian side, as well as get a picture with the team. The experience of meeting some of the opposing players even though they did not speak English was very humbling as they were very respectful of our culture, and even conveyed their intentions and ambitions of one day coming to our own country!


Part Three

By Bryce Bacic


Our second day in Costa Rica proved to be paradise. Now that we were somewhat recovered from travel, we could fully enjoy the day's activities.

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We started out today with an early breakfast at 9:00am. Everyone agrees that the food at our hotel, the Flamingo, is very good  After breakfast we left for a light training. The field we played at was about 30 minutes away and was slightly different than what we were used to due to the different type of grass and people burning their garbage in the corner of the field.

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In the early after afternoon we had some down time we were allowed to relax and enjoy some free time, but had to stay out of the sun so we were not tired for our game later that day.

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Around 4 we departed to play Liberia. The 1 hour drive took us into a part of Costa Rica that was much different than what we had seen. So far we have only been exposed to an area that is spread out, less developed, and has much vegetation. The stadium we played at was in the middle of a small city that reminded me of a smaller town in the United States, with smaller shops lining the streets and some venders on the street corner. Our game with Liberia was well played and ended with 0-0 being the result. Overall today was a good day and I look forward to tomorrow.

By Billy Thompson


Greetings Readers! Throughout this blog you will be given first hand accounts and photographs of the LMU Men's Soccer trip to Costa Rica provided by the players themselves.

 

We began our journey late on Sunday night with a 1:00am departure from LAX. As you can see, some of the older members of our party were not able to keep up with the more spirited youth.

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Photographed: Juan DeRada and Matthew Casana

Photo Credit: John McFarlin


We took the time during our layover to enjoy some muchneeded R&R during which many players took the opportunity to catch up on some much needed sleep from finals week.

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Photographed L to R: Bryce Bacic, Matthew Casana, Michael Erush, Billy Thompson (sleeping), Dillon Seedman, and Colleen Duff.

Photo Credit: John McFarlin

 

The second flight, from San Salvador, El Salvador to Guanacaste, Costa Rica, featured an aircraft that was less than accommodating for the larger members of the LMU Men's Soccer Team. However, it did provide members of the Nitti family the opportunity to bond over some quality family time:

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Photographed: Craig Nitti and Gary Nitti

Photo Credit: John McFarlin

 

After about a two hour nap on the bus ride from the airport, we arrived at our hotel; the Flamingo Beach Resort and Spa.  This is Paul, Vincent, and my view of the central pool from the balcony in our room.

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Photo Credit: Paul Blanchette


Here we have the infamous towel elephant claiming one of the two twin beds to be shared between three six-foot plus goalkeepers.

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Photo Credit: Paul Blanchette

 

The hotel provides great insight into the immense biodiversity that Costa Rica prides itself on. Costa Rica covers only 0.03% of the surface area of Earth yet accounts for 6% of the total biodiversity.

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Photographed: One of the numerous iguanas seen roaming around the facilities.

Photo credit: John McFarlin


The food accommodations thus far have been delicious. We are served buffet style meals for both lunch and dinner and can expect the same for the duration of our stay at the Flamingo Resort. 

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Photographed: Assorted members of the LMU Men's Soccer Team enjoying lunch together family style.

Photo Credit: Billy Thompson

 

As you can see, today was a very taxing day on all of us.

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Photographed: Paul Blanchette anxiously waiting the arrival of his partner for the evening to share the bed.

Photo Credit: Billy Thompson


Tomorrow is a big day and a big opportunity for the team. We are very excited as we get to showcase our abilities for the first time against a full Costa Rican side during our first game tomorrow afternoon!

The End of the Road for the Lady Lions

Hey there tennis fans!

"Survive and advance." -Jamie Sanchez

            The Lady Lions will roar no longer as our season came to an end this week during the second round of the Conference Championship Tournament at the Barnes Tennis Center in San Diego.

            We road tripped down two hours south with fire in our bellies and with the will to win. The week that we bring up on the first week of tennis in September and essentially what we think about all year finally came. We faced BYU in our first round, the competitors we had just lost to in our final regular season conference match. This time it was different. The Lions avenged and clinched a win to knock out BYU in the first round of the tournament. It was huge, and a big shout out to Tory Parravi on No. 2 for making that possible in that close final match.

In our second round match against Santa Clara, it looked as though our match could not have been predicted until the very end. Ironically, Santa Clara had us in the same position last year during the second round of the conference tournament Unfortunately this year, Santa Clara just won one more match that they needed to beat us for four total wins forcing the remaining match to stop.

 It's heartbreaking to see such a hardworking, dedicated and passionate team finish so abruptly, but by no means did we not put up a fight through and through. Like Jamie told us, "Survive and advance." We did not have to pull unbelievable stunts to win. We just needed to win the match or matches necessary to collectively claim the victory. Although the Lion's outcome wasn't in the way we wanted it, I am so incredibly proud of each and every one of my teammates. It's a long grueling season of long practice hours, strength training lifts, training room visits, and then factor in classes and homework and papers for days, but hey that's what student athletes are all about. Setting an example for the school as role-models is what I like to think of us as.

We all are going to miss our seniors, April and Adri so much! April, you have been such a tenacious fighter and have the best 'refuse to lose' mentality that I've ever seen in any competitor. It's no wonder when your match record speaks for itself. And Adri, despite your injuries, you have stayed with the utmost positivity that is so contagious and I admire your work ethic so much. It's as if a part of our family is leaving. We spend so much time together, it's hard to think that they won't be back with us. But I wish them the best of luck with their futures! They both shed a tearful goodbye at the final huddle following our match. Now go take on the world!

            It has been a pleasure blogging for you readers out there this season. I had a blast and I hope to continue it on next year as well. I wish you all a very relaxing and enjoyable summer.

Until next season!

Logan

             

 

Lions Wrap Up Regular Season

Hey there tennis fans!

"The past is history, the future is a mystery. Today is a gift that is why we call it the present." -Jamie Sanchez

            No, Coach Jamie didn't actually come up with that quote on his own...I admit that I was fooled for a second though. I was one of the only girls on the team who hadn't heard that quote before. The quote was definitely pertinent to our circumstances this past week both on and off the court.

            For our final home match of the season against the Pepperdine Waves on Wednesday, we tried to create the best and most supportive atmosphere that we could get! We created an event on facebook, made it all of our statuses on facebook, talked to everyone we knew and even didn't know even about our big match. As a Communications major here at LMU, I feel like this was a great way to practice my marketing skills. LMU students sometimes don't find out about sport games unless it's through 'word of mouth.' We also had free pizza and jamba juice at the match to help reel in a bigger crowd as well, which definitely worked to our benefit. I was pretty impressed with the turnout. There were definitely people that stayed longer than to just simply grab a piece of pizza. Some were genuinely interested in our match and wanted to rep some school spirit. Plus some wanted to know the rules of the game because it was all a pretty foreign concept to them. We really appreciated the support though. Thanks so much for everyone who came out! Jamie is also arranged for a radio host from "radiotennis.com" commentate our whole match. It was awesome! A few of the girls on our team, including myself got to make announcements every few games or so. That was a cool experience! I have never been on the radio before!

            Unfortunately the Lions battled tough losses this week against the Waves and BYU on Saturday. It's a bummer to lose but these teams were tough and it did not come down to our lack of talent, it was just execution. On any given day, we can beat any of the teams in our conference. But it just didn't go our way for some of the matches in the bottom half of our season. But we cannot dwell on the past. As the quote says, "The past is history." The only thing that we should channel our energy towards now is the Conference tournament. The future may be a mystery, but we must be positive and focused for what is to come because this is the part of the season that matters the most. And I believe in my team and the determination we have. Bring it on Conference! We're ready for you.

 

            On Tuesday, we head down to San Diego for the Conference tournament where we play at the nice facilities of the Barnes Tennis Center. Wish us the best of luck if you see any of Lady lions around campus! We hope to make you all proud and bring home the championship!

 

Until next time!

Logan

Impressive Losses to Boot

Hey there tennis fans!

"I wish I could understand women. . ." -Coach Jamie Sanchez

            That was the line that Coach Jamie said that stuck out and made our team laugh in our meeting on Monday when he went into telling one of his 'stories.' Gotta love those... After his 38th year coaching the women's tennis team here at LMU, you can say that Jamie has been predominantly surrounded by women his whole life. I have to give him major credit for that. The amount of nonsense that he has to put up with on the daily is beyond me! This sort of goes back to his notion about not understanding women, because in all honesty, no one does! But hey, he can't say that we don't provide him with endless amount of entertainment. We keep him youthful as he gets to stay hip with all the current college lingo, gossip and music and whatever other silly things us girls talk about.

            This is the third week in a row where we've maintained a spot in the rankings. Down to No. 71 this week! We are getting closer and closer to the end of the season and that means the big conference tournament! We had a crazy match-filled week this week.

On Wednesday, we played CSU Fullerton in a non-conference match where we posted a solid 5-2 score. Friday, we traveled to San Diego where we played 2012 defending conference champs, the USD Toreros. We barely lost 3-4 in by far one of our closest matches thus far this season. Every court, each girl was fought with such tenacity and heart. We really came together as a team for this match in that when certain match situations didn't go our way, other situations worked out as each of us had each others backs the whole way through. I am so incredibly proud of the efforts that we showed out there and I have no doubt that the next time we face them, that the outcome will be in our favor. Prior to the match, Jamie told all of us that at this point in the season, "We have to be ourselves." There is no other person or player that we need to strive to be or play like. We must play with the game and embrace the talent that we do possess because the best we can play is at our personal best. And this certainly applies to every day life situations as well.

Following our match in San Diego, we came right back to school to travel again the next day and this time to St. Mary's in Moraga on Saturday morning for a Sunday match. We fell just short with another 3-4 score. Have it be another day where we face them, we can beat them. That score is too close not to think it could have gone the other way. So next time, if we do in fact play St. Mary's we'll be prepared for the win to go our way, much like our logic with the USD match.

            This Wednesday, we play our biggest rival, Pepperdine at our final home match and then off to Utah for BYU on Saturday for our last conference match. The season is quickly coming to a close. We would really love all the support we can get. That being said, please please please come out to watch your fierce Lions against Pepperdine at 1:30. I promise you, it will be one match you will not want to miss!

 

Until next time!

Logan

2 Our Way this Time!

Tough Opening Conference Weekend

Hey there tennis fans!

"Instead of leaning back, lean in and lean on . . ." -Jamie Sanchez

            I hope you all had a nice Easter. In our weekly meeting, our coach, Jamie brought up to us that he cares a great deal for us and not in the way that he feels obliged to say that because he is our coach, but because he truly and genuinely cares about each and everyone of us. I know I speak on behalf of the team that that means the world to us. Each member of the team has a different role and we all have different personalities that make our team a whole. Sure we may be a handful at times and drive our coaches crazy, but they wouldn't want us any other way. We are leaving a memorable legacy for our years at LMU.

Being a part of a team that has great chemistry and are so tight-knit, we tend to 'lean in' and 'lean on' more than we 'lean back.' This can be as little as reminding each other what color we are supposed to wear for practice or match that day or just being that supportive cushion when someone is having a rough day. I think Jamie knows we do this but he just likes to make us aware that just these simple factors can contribute to our success in our matches.

            And our wins thus far this season hold true to this notion. We've jumped to No. 61 in the rankings last week in the rankings! So so proud of my Lions!

            After the conclusion of a successful pre-conference season, we finally started our conference matches this week. We opened with Santa Clara on Thursday, and I could tell going into the match that we all were a little nervous and anxious. I would say that those emotions toyed with our game play especially in the doubles. We started off a little slow, and didn't seem to capitalize with the games and mentalities that I know I we all possess.  A big shout out to April playing at 1 who upset the No. 28 ranked player in the nation, Katie Le. Similar situations seemed to have taken place. Similar unfortunate situations happened in our match against USF. The doubles point could have been ours with the difference of a game or two and that partly shifted our fired-up intensive energy into the singles. But all the singles matches were well fought and super close throughout.

A pair of 2-5 losses were not the results we wanted into our Easter weekend. It is difficult to take any conference loss match lightly because every conference match is crucial. This is when it really counts. But I have so much faith in our team! I really do. Like Jamie always says, "We may not have it all together, but together we have it all." I know that the passion and unconditional support that we all have for each other will help us get through the tough losses and bounce back for our next round of matches.

This week we have back to matches on Friday and Saturday. Friday we play Portland and Saturday, we play Gonzaga. I know everyone out there has busy lives, but if you could spare some time to support your LMU Women's Tennis Team, it would mean so much to us!

 

Until next time!

Logan

A Couple Ivy Wins for the Lions

Hey there tennis fans!

"Your destiny is in your hands."-Jamie Sanchez

Our team always jokes around that our coach, Jamie comes up with these captivating quotes that need to be documented in some way. My teammate, Miya thinks that his 'daily quotes' need to be written in those calendars where there's always an inspirational quote featured on the top of each page. Well at least for the sake of the blog, I am going to try to capture a memorable quote from Jamie throughout the week that I can use as my opening thought and could in fact inspire you readers as much as it does to my team and me. Some might even humor you as much as some do to us as well.

Our team mascot, Munchie (the squirrel) seems to have been M.I.A. these days...and it has started to worry us. It is no wonder, though,  when all we did was feed him a ridiculous amount of trail mix...How can he turn down an ample supply of the munchies? So he's clearly been overdosing on the nuts...I mean, it's normal for a squirrel to be nuts about 'nuts' but we may have taken it a little far. We'll definitely have to ease up on those generous donations of food to our beloved mascot.

Your LMU Lady Lions clinched a huge win over Princeton on Thursday against No. 62 ranked Princeton! After fluctuating in and out of the rankings, we jumped back into the No. 75 this week, and only to prove that we will continue to fight for a deserving spot in the top. After losing the doubles point, we knew we had to come out strong for the singles. It came down to Kristine's match on court 5, and she won so we claimed a 4-3 victory over the Tigers! On any given day, I know we can beat any team. That is just so 100% confident I am in my team. Not only do we have the talent to do so, but because we have the heart and determination. Jamie and Ivan always reiterate to us that are capable of beating any team we come across as long as we are disciplined enough to execute the games that each of us do have and that can really become effective for us as we get into the crucial part of the season.

I want to give a huge shout out to Kristine who is a perfect example of someone who put up a tenacious fight against Princeton this past week. She proved that she will do whatever it takes to win...to give every last bit of energy and drive to get there. She is such an inspiration!

The Lions continued the dominance into Saturday after our win over Dartmouth to cap off our Ivy League-filled weekend of competitors. Both of these teams played with strategic and tactical approaches that took a little time to adjust, but it was nothing that our Lady Lions couldn't handle. We played with patience and perseverance and it showed!

We are approaching Conference matches this coming week! Yeah, it's getting real. This is when it really counts! So we gotta keep that fired-up intensity. As we go into our Spring Break long weekend, we will get into two heated battles against University of San Francisco (USF) on Thursday and Santa Clara on Saturday.

Wish us luck! And have a Happy Easter!

Until next time!

Logan

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Back on the Grind

Hey there tennis fans!

            We found out that our coach is a celebrity this week...On our schedule for the week, Coach Jamie informed us that we would attend the baseball game on Tuesday against Long Beach which came as somewhat a surprise to us considering most baseball practices/games normally conflict with our tennis practices/games. Our initial thoughts were, "Cool, we can go out and support the baseball team since we rarely get to see them play" Jamie, however, had ulterior motives for our attendance of the game.

"Isn't anyone going to ask why we're going to the baseball game"? Jamie asked us. Little did we know that our very own coach would be throwing the first pitch in the game. Our faces all lit up when he told us. We are in the presence of a celebrity! We know how big of an impact Jamie has made to LMU, as an alum, coach and inspiration, so we should have realized that who better to throw out one of the first pitches for a baseball game than him. I mean, let's be real, he basically is an LMU celebrity...

            This week in strength training, Nick stressed how important it is for us to maintain our same workouts in the gym each week and to refrain from changing up the routine. This is so we will not feel fatigue from pushing too hard in weight on a particular exercise. I think that's a definitely a safe move considering we are in the middle of season and have matches on average at least once or twice a week. By sticking with the same exercises, we are challenging ourselves to peak in strength by progressively going up in weight each week. That's right, us Lady Lions got muscles! I know I can personally admit that I have not woken up the following day from lifting where I was so sore and couldn't move. So that's a plus for sure.

            This past Saturday, we faced New Mexico for an 11 am game time. We took care of business and ended up with a 5-2 victory. Despite some neck and neck battles, we came up on top, which gave us a little ego boost for working well with pressure situations. Getting through tough situations like these will help us be more prepared for Conference matches just around the corner, come the end of the month in fact.

            We have two matches this coming weekend. The Ivy schools are making their way to the 'west coast' aka the 'best coast' for some competitive matches. We play Princeton on Thursday and Dartmouth of Saturday. Come support the Lady Lions in their final matches before we get into Conference matches. We would really appreciate it! And spread the word!

 

Until next time!

Logan

Spring Break for the Lions!

Hey there tennis fans!

            First and foremost, I must announce that your LMU Women's Tennis team has just jumped into the rankings for the first time in 6 years! We have now captured the No. 72 spot, and are only moving up from here! This was great news to start off our Spring Break, that's for sure...

            While Cabo was on a lot of LMU students' agendas this Spring Break, our tennis team had other plans. I can finally cross 'hiking the Hollywood sign' off the bucket list because that has been a long-time goal of mine ever since I moved to LA to go to college. Than it was off to Palm Springs for the BNP Paribas Open. It was such a blast! Who needs Cabo when we are making unforgettable memories in the desert with the best team around?

The night we arrived, we unexpectedly ran into tons of pro's who were playing in the tournament. It seemed every time we would turn a corner, we would recognize someone, as if it was just an old friend, and not the fact that we are simply star-struck tennis fans. The adrenaline that was going through our heads at that point was through the roof. We were casually walking off our dinner in this outdoor mall and boom, tall, hunky tennis players galore. You can spot that tennis player's physique from a mile away!

It was a quick trip, but jam-packed nonetheless. Coach Jamie would get us up for an early 6:45 wake-up call so we can have a nice breakfast and than head out to the courts for some training. It's amazing how cold and windy the desert can be in the morning, which created quite the obstacle playing tennis in the early hours. But hey, it's good for practice.

            After we got our work done on the court, it was time to watch the pros in action! It's amazing to see how much more inspired we become to play better after watching the pros battle. Their athleticism and mental toughness is hard not to notice. I think our team enjoyed watching the pro's play on the practice courts so we could get an exclusive look to their warm-up and practice routines. And the best part about the practice sessions is that they spend quite a bit of time pleasing the fans with pictures and autographs. So naturally, the Lady Lions flocked to the front of the crowd to get close to the players any chance we got. And I must say that we got quite a few pictures with the big stars. You can say it easily made our lives to get that 3 second pose with the top players of the game. I think I can speak on behalf of my whole team that we would love to make an annual trip to the BNP because it conveniently falls during our Spring Break each year. Food for thought Jamie...

            I was working a lot of the time behind the scenes with Media because I landed an internship with "Inside Tennis" magazine as a journalist. I have been working with them since last November, and I have had the privilege of interviewing a lot of people in the professional tennis industry who I truly admire, so that's been an incredible honor. Specifically at the BNP, I had the opportunity to listen into press conferences and "take in" the daily routine of what a journalist goes through during the midst of such a great and credible tournament like the BNP Paribas Open. My boss, Bill Simons who is the Editor and Publisher of the magazine had faith in me to strike up a question during a press conference. My first thoughts were, "there's no way...I would be so nervous!" But I think eventually, I will have the guts to speak up and compose a question.

            Following the tournament, our coach went to Las Vegas to attend the WCC Hall of Honor Bruch of former athletes. One of his former players was being recognized in a huge honor. Edit Pakay was not just a star tennis player, but she also shined in cross-country as well. As a two-sport athlete, she set the bar so incredibly high for future athletes at LMU. She did cross-country in the fall and tennis in the spring. Wow! As a cross-country runner, one of Pakay's biggest accomplishments was winning the WCC Women's Cross Country Championship 5K. In tennis, Pakay led the Lady Lions to a victory over Pepperdine to win the 2002 WCC Women's Tennis Team Championships. She also managed to post a 63-41 singles record in her career which placed her ninth in the LMU record books for career winning percentage. That's awesome to know that such an accomplished athlete made her mark on the LMU grounds.

            The momentum of landing the No. 72 spot in the rankings has worked to our advantage as we managed to take the "W" over Cal Poly on Sunday 5-2. I am so proud of our team for finishing off our spring break with a solid win.

            This coming Saturday, we will face New Mexico at 11 AM. We would really love to see you all out there!

Until next time!
Logan

(check out some of the pictures from our trip)

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