Lions Hit the Road for Conference Play 

Freshman Cristobal Rivera has made a big impact in his first year with LMU Tennis.

March 26, 2013

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This week, conference play will finally be in full swing as LMU will head north on to take on WCC opponents Santa Clara and San Francisco. SCU has been nationally ranked most of the season but recently dropped out of the ITA rankings, while USF was the team that ended the Lions's season in the WCC tournament last year. The Lions are currently 2-13 overall and 0-1 in the WCC.

The Lions offically opened up conference play last week at No. 11 Pepperdine, where the team fell in a close 4-3 decision. The Lions will look to find some success on the road and improve their WCC record as their next four matches all come away from the LMU Tennis Center. LMU only has two wins on the season, but one of which came against conference foe Gonzaga. However, this technically counted as a non-conference match as the two teams will meet again later this season. The Lions have finished fifth in the WCC play for three consecutive seasons, but the team was predicted to finish seventh in the conference this year.

The Santa Clara Broncos are currently 11-6 on the year and 0-2 in conference play. They have already lost 4-3 to BYU and fell 5-2 to Saint Mary's, meaning both SCU and LMU will be seeking their first WCC win. The Broncos have been dominant at home this year, currently sitting on an 8-2 record in Santa Clara. They are 1-3 as the away team and 2-1 at neutral sites. The strong start to their season had the team in the ITA national rankings for much of the preseason before dropping out last week. Their highest ranking was at No. 36 early in the year. In the preseason WCC coaches' poll, the Broncos were predicted to finish third in the conference this year after finishing last year's regular season in second place. The team finished the 2012 season at No. 33 after setting a school record for wins and receiving the program's first ever birth to the NCAA tournament.



The San Francisco Dons are currently 7-4 overall and 0-1 in WCC play. The Dons have not played nearly as many matches as most of their opponents, but their season is starting to heat up fast. They are 4-1 at home this year, with some big non-conference wins. The team opened WCC play last week, when they fell 4-3 in a close match with BYU. In 2012, a string of injuries and bad luck lead the Dons to an eighth place finish in the WCC regular season. Their first match in the conference tournament came against the fifth seed LMU, whom the Dons upset in a 4-3 decision that ended the Lions' season. The Dons would then fall to BYU in the second round.

LMU student-athletes are no strangers to giving back to the local community. LMU men's ten- nis is continuing the athletics' department's outreach efforts by establishing "Kids Days" at four matches this season. In association with the United States Tennis Association and the Intercolle- giate 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. For more information about LMU "Kids Days" contact head coach Brad Sceney at bsceney@lmu. edu.

The Loyola Marymount men's tennis team are predicted to finish seventh in the West Coast Con- ference according to a poll of the conference's coaches released earlier this season. The Lions finished fifth in the conference the previous three seasons.

At, 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

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. Sopho- mores 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. In 1996, Sceney won the All-American Doubles Championship. 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.



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