Lions to Play for WCC Title Sunday
#67 LMU, #13 Pepperdine to meet in WCC Finals at Santa Clara.
April 22, 2006
Santa Clara, Calif. - Loyola Marymount will play for its second West Coast Conference title in five years Sunday when the 67th-ranked Lions battle 13th-ranked Pepperdine in the WCC Finals at 3:00 p.m. at Santa Clara University. LMU (10-13) earned its way to the finals with a 4-2 win over 56th-ranked San Diego Saturday.
The 67th-ranked Lions avenged a regular season loss to San Diego with a 4-2 thriller in the WCC Semifinals Saturday.
LMU took a 1-0 lead after winning the doubles point. The Lions got wins at the No.1 spot when Pavla Mesterova and Robyn Baker topped USD's 44th-ranked duo of Murphy/Perl 8-5, and at the No.3 spot when Sladjana Kos and Maja Sundac defeated Reitz/Taylor 9-7. USD had taken a 7-6 lead in the No.3 match, but Kos and Sundac battled back for the 9-7 win.
"Winning the doubles point to take a 1-0 lead was huge for two reasons," LMU Head Coach Jamie Sanchez said. "First, we beat a ranked doubles team at the No.1 spot and second, we had Sladjana Kos in the lineup when she had not played on Friday. Having her back gave us the momentum we needed to clinch that doubles point with her and Maja's big win at No.3."
Erin Ivey and Sundac put the Lions up 3-0 with straight set wins at No.6 and No.5 singles respectively. For Ivey, the win avenged her singles loss to Sophia Vogt, who had defeated her in the dual action in late March.
"As a team, we have been talking about showing up ready to play," Sanchez said. "Erin Ivey came ready to play. It is especially significant for Ivey because she had a phenomenal season last year and then was not available at the 2005 WCC Championships due to illness. This season, she has had mixed results, but now here she is, 2-0 at the championships."
"And Maja did what Maja does," Sanchez continued, "and that's come through."
"I think San Diego was a little shocked to be down 3-0," Sanchez said, "but they were still rearing to go."
The Toreros then posted two singles win to keep things close at 3-2.
Junior Robyn Baker clinched the win for LMU with a win at No.2.
"One of the keys to today's match was our focus, no matter what the score is," Sanchez said. "The way the facility is set up, the players never know the score on the other courts, only that their teammates are still fighting. So they just kept their focus and did what they needed to do."
LMU last appeared in the WCC Finals in 2002, when the Lions topped Pepperdine to win their first conference crown. That WCC Championship was also hosted by Santa Clara.
The Lions and Waves will play for the title Sunday at 3:00 p.m.
Loyola Marymount 4, San Diego 2