March 4, 2013
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LOS ANGELES -- After six weeks away from the LMU Tennis Center, the Lions finally return home Tuesday for a dual match against the University of Hawaii. At 0-8, LMU is still desperately seeking its first win of the 2013 season.
The LMU men’s tennis team has had its share of struggles this season. The Lions (0-8) are still trying to turn their season around before conference play begins at the end of the month. After losing a close opening day match at home against Pacific, the Lions have played their previous seven games on the road. This long stretch away from home, combined with key injuries and difficult matchups, has LMU still looking for answers and their first team win.
Last week, a handful of teams traveled to San Diego for the annual La Jolla Doubles Tournament. Many of the teams play a dual match while in town before the tournament begins. Because of too many injuries, the Lions were forced to withdraw from the tournament, but were able to get a match in with Toledo at a neutral site in San Diego.
Against Toledo, all three doubles matches were close, with Toledo pulling away in two of the three to take the doubles point. In singles, Todd Volmari won his match on Court 4 and Sebastian Bustamante won his match on Court 5. But the Lions fell in the remaining four singles matches, despite three of them going to a final third set.
Hawaii will enter the match with LMU at 2-5 on the season and 1-1 in the Big West. The Warriors got off to a slow start to their season, opening up with a 7-0 loss to Duke and a 6-1 loss to Baylor. Then in one weekend, Hawaii evened up their record with two back-to-back wins against UC Irvine and Sacramento St., both with a score of 5-2. The Warriors then took three weeks off without any matches, losing all momentum, before losing their next three matches to bring them to their current 2-5 record.
Hawaii has played all seven of its matches at home thus far. The match with LMU will mark their first road test of the season to kick off a four-match trip to California. For LMU, it is quite the opposite as the Lions have played their last seven matches on the road and are playing their first match at home since January 19.
The Lions and Warriors have two mutual opponents so far this season. Both teams have lost to Pacific at home 3-4 and each team has battled UC Irvine, with Hawaii getting a 5-2 victory and LMU getting a 4-3 loss.
LATER THIS WEEK
After the home match Tuesday, the Lions will return to the road for the weekend. LMU will play Stetson at a neutral site in Rancho Palos Vereds, Calif. this Thursday. Then, the Lions will play at UC Riverside on Friday before competing in the Calabasas Futures Tournament in Calabasas, Calif. for the rest of the weekend.
LMU student-athletes are no strangers to giving back to the local community. LMU men’s tennis is continuing the athletics’ department’s outreach efforts by establishing “Kids Days” at four matches this upcoming season. In association with the United States Tennis Association and the Intercollegiate Tennis Association, LMU men’s tennis will create a fun, learning environment for the youth in celebration of tennis.
At LMU’s “Kids Days” matches, families are invited to attend a free collegiate men’s tennis match at the LMU Tennis Center. Free pizza and drinks will be provided and at the conclusion of the match, the LMU men’s tennis team will conduct a free kids clinic for those in attendance. This season’s “Kids Day” matches include Saturday, Match 24 versus Sacramento State; Saturday, April 13 versus Saint Mary’s; and Saturday, April 20 versus BYU. This Saturday’s match will begin at 12:00 p.m. while the other three matches will start at 1:30 p.m.
For more information about LMU “Kids Days” contact head coach Brad Sceney at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Loyola Marymount men’s tennis team are predicted to finish seventh in the West Coast Conference according to a poll of the conference’s coaches released earlier this season.
At LMULions.com, Lions’ All-Access continues its profile series, Inside the Lions Spotlight, with freshman Cristobal Rivera. In the video interview, Cristobal talks about his first collegiate season, the importance of his parents, and his great career at Santa Monica High. You can view the video at: http://www.lmulions.com/sports/m-tennis/spec-rel/012213aab.html
THIS YEAR’S SQUAD
The Lions are an experienced team this season. With eight returners and only two newcomers, LMU will field a veteran squad most matches. Senior Nicholas Bjerke returns to lead the Lions. The Oslo, Norway native earned honorable mention on the All-WCC team for singles play. Bjerke was named WCC player of the month in February after five consecutive singles wins in the month. Bjerke and playing partner junior Sebastian Bustamante went 7-4 at the number one spot in doubles and the pair was named the the All-WCC second team in doubles. Redshirt senior Jack Zapala returns after missing the 2011-12 season due to injury.
Junior Daniel Simko finished 12-13 in singles play at the number five and six spots in 2012 and posted an 11-16 record in doubles matches in 2012. Sophomores Todd Volmari, Felix Van Kann and Robin Kiyabu gained valuable experience and wins during their first campaigns.
Joining the team this year are sophomore transfer Othar Kordsachia from Denver University and freshman Cristobal Rivera. Kordsachia went 16-17 in singles matches at the number four, five, and six spots and went 16-18 in doubles matches in 2012 at Denver. Rivera had a distinguished high school career at Santa Monica High School where he was a four-year varsity letter winner and captained his team to three consecutive league titles and two-time CIF finals while also being a CIF individual runner-up and going undefeated during his senior year.
HEAD COACH Brad Sceney
Brad Sceney is in his sixth year as head coach of the Loyola Marymount men’s tennis team. Sceney came to the bluff after serving as the Director of Tennis at The Paseo Club in Valencia, Calif., and enjoying an All-American collegiate career at Pepperdine from 1995-98. An All-American while at Pepperdine, Sceney helped the Waves to a top-10 ranking each of his four seasons in Malibu. His mark of 85 career singles victories is still the Pepperdine record today.
Sceney has led the Lions to three straight fifth-place finishes in the WCC. Overall in the five years that Sceney has been at LMU, the Lions have finished 5th in 2012, 2011 and 2010, 6th in 2009 and 5th in 2008. The Lions were 10-14 overall and 3-4 in conference last season. An All-American while at Pepperdine, Sceney helped the Waves to a top-10 ranking each of his four seasons in Malibu. His mark of 85 career singles victories is still the Pepperdine record today. In 1996, Sceney won the All-American Doubles Championship.
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