April 21, 2002
Santa Clara, CA (April 21, 2002) - The Loyola Marymount University women's tennis team claimed its first ever West Coast Conference championship with a 4-2 upset over top seed Pepperdine in the finals of the conference tournament on Sunday afternoon at Santa Clara.
With the WCC Championship, the Lions receive the automatic bid to the NCAA Tournament that starts with the first and second round on the weekend of May 10. Pairings and first round match-ups will be announced on Thursday, May 2.
"We knew we could play with them," said Head Coach Jamie Sanchez, who in his 27th season at the helm of the women's tennis program won his first conference championship. "We played a great match all the way through. We came ready to play."
The Lions found themselves in a tough position early in the match as they lost a hard-fought doubles point. Andrea Lord and Angelina Zdorovytska paired to take the number one doubles match 8-1 over Charlotte Vernaz and Veronica Koksova. However, the Waves responded with 8-6 wins in both number two and number three doubles.
"The doubles point was a really tough loss for us. It is very difficult to come back after losing that doubles point," said Sanchez, whose Lions did not win a match all season after losing the doubles point. "Our team responded well by winning the championship with four wins in singles play."
After Pepperdine took a 1-0 lead with the doubles point, the Lions had to take four of the six single points for the championship. And they did.
First Zdorovytska would claim the Lions' first point of the day with a 6-4, 6-2 win over Aklsandra Kujawska in number four singles.
Freshman Georgina Dinham then earned the Lions' second point with a 6-2, 6-4 straight set win over Anna Anderson at number six singles to give the LMU a 2-1 lead in the match.
Pepperdine tied the match at 2-2 when Penka Fileva
fell to Monika Horvath at number three singles 6-3, 3-6, 6-4.
With the match tied, both the number one and number two single matches would go into the third set. Both Edit Pakay at the number one singles and Lord at number two singles found themselves down one set to start their matches.
However, both responded to tie the matches and one set each to establish a dramatic finish. Pakay, who won the second set in a tie-breaker, responded for a 6-2 win in the third to put the Lions one point from the championship.
As she has done all season, Lord would complete the Lions first title run with a 7-5 win in both the second and third set.
"We were talking about making history all week," said Sanchez. "It was the kind of stuff coaches talk about all the time in these situations, but it worked and we won. This team really learned a lot from the last time we played Pepperdine and I knew if we competed all the way through we could win."
The Lions lost to Pepperdine on Tuesday, 6-1 heading into the conference tournament.
"We played too nervous at the beginning and never got going," said Sanchez. "Because of the nervousness, we were not capable of playing the way we can play. It was the match before the tournament and we were too comfortable with the surrounding. However, we learned a lot and going through that experience help us prepare for this match."
- GO LIONS -