March 3, 2008
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Coming off back-to-back victories at home, the Loyola Marymount women's tennis team travels to the Aloha State this week for a pair of matches. The Lions will spend their spring break facing host University of Hawai'i on Tuesday at 4:00 p.m., followed by a 10:00 a.m. match on Thursday against WCC rival, No. 18 Pepperdine.
LMU This Season
The Lions will be counting on 2007 WCC Player of the Year, senior Pavla Mesterova, and fifth-year senior Tamara Tanner for leadership this season. They also return four sophomores in Bliss Nixon, Audrey Bulkley, Audra Silman and Maria Garcia-Planas Albert, and two more seniors, Natalie Tejada and Shawnell Russell. In addition, head coach Jamie Sanchez also welcomes three freshmen, Jasmin Heckel, Caroline Nothnagel and Shauna Morgan, along with one transfer student, whose collegiate tennis experience could prove invaluable. Junior Tina Razloznik (University of Arizona) will bring two seasons of Division I experience to the Lions.
"The biggest plus is that we have a good player at the top of the line-up. Having that top player is an indication of any good Division I team. We also have a good amount of depth, which is the second ingredient of a good team," Sanchez said. "We are tough and strong going after the number one spot. The team feeds off of the tenacity and experience that players like Pavla, Tamara and Tina bring".
Over the course of the spring 2008 season, the Lions will face a total of 13 teams that appear in the national rankings.
Last Week Recap
The LMU women's tennis team went 2-0 this past weekend, narrowly defeating both Eastern Michigan and WCC opponent San Francisco, both by a score of 4-3.
72nd-ranked Loyola Marymount women's tennis played Eastern Michigan Thursday at the LMU Tennis Center. The Eagles secured the doubles point, but the Lions came back to win four singles matches, with senior Pavla Mesterova clinching the victory at the No. 1 position.
Seniors Tamara Tanner and Mesterova won their fourth consecutive match at No. 1 doubles, easily defeating Vanessa Frankowski and Catharina Bestehorn, 8-2. Unfortunately the Lions lost two close matches on courts two and three, giving the doubles point to the Eagles. At No. 2, junior Tina Razloznik and freshman Jasmin Heckel lost to Aleksandra Stankovic and Sandra Wikstrom, 9-7, while sophomore Audrey Bulkley and freshman Shauna Morgan fell to Eastern Michigan's Joanna Woo and Aditi Krishnam, 9-7.
In singles, Mesterova's endurance was tested as she faced Frankowski at the No. 1 slot. The last match to be finished, Mesterova, ranked No. 92 nationally, won the tie-breaker to pull off the win (6-3, 7-6) and secure the victory for the Lions. The Lions also earned wins at number three, four and six singles with Razloznik beating Wikstrom (6-3, 6-2), Heckel defeating Bestehorn in a close match (2-6, 6-2, 7-6), and Morgan winning her first collegiate singles match, defeating Joanna Woo (6-3, 6-1).
In other singles action, Tanner lost in three sets to Aditi Krishnan on court two (3-6, 6-3, 5-7), while Bulkley also fell in three sets to Stankovic at the No. 5 position (6-1, 4-6, 2-6).
LMU faced San Francisco in their first conference match Sunday afternoon at the LMU Tennis Center. The match once again came down to the wire, with freshman Jasmin Heckel pulling off the victory for the Lions, 4-3.
Starting off with doubles, the team of Pavla Mesterova and Tamara Tanner crusied to an 8-1 victory over Jennifer-Lee Heinser and Emma Taylor at the No. 1 spot. Heckel and Caroline Nothnagel secured the doubles point for the Lions as they defeated Jessy Mekpoh and Mylene Martin at No. 2, 8-5. Tina Razloznik and Shauna Morgan fell to Sarah Oudomvilay on court three, 9-7.
In singles, Mesterova fell at the No. 1 position to Heinser (7-6, 6-1), Tanner was defeated by Martin on court two (6-4, 6-3), while Razloznik came from behind to beat USF's Taylor in three sets (4-6, 6-2, 6-1).
At the bottom half of the singles lineup, Heckel earned the match point for the Lions as she also came from behind and beat Jenny Sperry in three sets (4-6, 7-5, 6-4). Audrey Bulkley defeated Sarah Oudomvilay at No. 5 (6-2, 6-1) and Morgan lost to Mekpoh on court six (7-6, 6-2).
The University of Hawai'i women's tennis team dropped a 7-0 decision to Big 10 and 21st-ranked Michigan, Thursday, at the UH Tennis Complex. The Rainbow Wahine fall to 0-6 on the year, five of those losses coming against ranked opponents.
The Wolverines won the doubles point by winning two of the three doubles match. However, the Hawai'i duo of sophomore Sophie Kobuch and senior Chloe Bihag won a thrilling, tight doubles match at the No. 1 court against the 24th-ranked team of Chisako Sugiyama and Tania Mahtani, 8-7(10). Kobuch and Bihag have won six straight doubles matches.
In singles play, the Wolverines won all six matches. Kobuch, ranked No. 67 in the latest ITA singles rankings, lost a tough 6-3, 6-4 decision to No. 55 Sugiyama at the No. 1 position. The Tournefeuille, France native, sports a 7-8 overall record, including a 4-2 mark in dual matches at the No. 1 position. Still, the sophomore has won six of her last nine singles matches.
Freshman Jennifer Goldman lost a close match to Kari Wig at the No. 6 court, 7-6(3), 6-3.
UH sophomore Sophie Kobuch was recognized by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association with a No. 67 singles ranking, in the latest rankings released Feb. 20. The ranking is her first during her two-year career. The Tournefeuille, France native, sports a 7-7 overall record, including a 4-1 mark in dual matches at the No. 1 position.
The Rainbow Wahine will be looking for revenge as the Lions defeated UH last season, 7-0.
Head coach Jun Hernandez, who returns for his third season
About #18 Pepperdine
18th-ranked Pepperdine women's tennis team posted a 6-1 win over San Francisco last Thursday in the Waves' second conference match of the season at the Ralphs-Straus Tennis Center.
The Waves remained perfect this season in capturing the doubles point, as all three teams posted easy wins. The eighth-ranked tandem of Sylvia Kosakowski and Bianca Dulgheru posted a quick 8-0 sweep, Anamika Bhargava and Jill Braverman notched an 8-3 win, and Tania Rice and Anete Bandere claimed an 8-1 victory.
In singles, Bandere won her match after her opponent retired (6-1, ret.), Alex Liles (Largo, Fla./Florida/Saddlebrook Prep) posted a 6-1, 6-0 win, Bhargava remained perfect in dual matches (9-0) and extended her winning streak to 13 matches with a 6-4, 6-2 win, Jill Braverman registered a 7-5, 6-0 victory and Rice claimed a tough 7-5, 5-7, 12-10 win that went into the super-tiebreaker since the match had already been decided. Kosakowski did not compete in singles, and Dulgheru dropped a tight 1-6, 6-4, 11-9 decision to Jenni Heinser in the super-tiebreaker.
The Waves won for the sixth time in its last seven matches with a tight 4-3 win over Furman on Friday afternoon at the Ralphs-Straus Tennis Center. The win improved Pepperdine to 7-3 (2-0 WCC), while Furman dropped to 5-4.
Pepperdine once again remained perfect in capturing the doubles point in dual matches, as each of the three tandems claimed wins. The eighth-ranked team of Sylvia Kosakowski (Downey, Calif./Warren HS) and Bianca Dulgheru (Bucharest, Romania/Theoretical Jean Monnet HS) posted a quick 8-1 win, Tania Rice (Burlington, Ont.,Canada/Robert Bateman HS) and Anete Bandere (Tukums, Latvia/Tukuma Raina Gimnazija) also recorded an 8-1 win, and Anamika Bhargava (Collierville, Tenn./Houston HS) and Jill Braverman (Newport Beach, Calif./Corona del Mar HS) claimed a narrow 8-6 decision.
In singles, the Waves dropped their matches at the top three positions, but Braverman notched a 6-3, 6-0 win, Alex Liles (Largo, Fla./Florida/Saddlebrook Prep) registered a 6-3, 6-1 victory, and Tania Rice posted a 7-5, 6-3 win.
Kosakowski, Bandere and Bhargava fell for the Waves in singles. Bhargava dropped her first match of the spring and had her 13 match winning-streak ended.
With the start of the 2007-08 season, Gualberto Escudero begins his 31st season at the helm of the Pepperdine women's tennis program. Escudero joined Pepperdine at the start of the 1977 season and has compiled a career record of 543-269 over 30 seasons.
Lions in the Rankings
Loyola Marymount women's tennis has been in the ITA National team rankings since the start of the 2007-08 spring season. Starting the year at 64th in the nation, the Lions have most recently placed 72nd out of the top-75 teams. Senior Pavla Mesterova's consistent play so far this season has earned her a spot in the ITA women's individual singles rankings. Mesterova sits at No. 92 out of the top-100 singles players in the country. She earns her spot with a record of 6-4 at No. 1 singles, while beating two nationally-ranked opponents, No. 36 Katrina Zheltova from Sacramento State and 71st-ranked Julia Trunk from San Diego State.
It has become an annual expectation for the Loyola Marymount women's tennis program. The Lions have been ranked No. 64 in the first poll of the spring 2008 season by the Fila Collegiate Tennis Rankings administered by the ITA. Since 2000, LMU has held a NCAA National Ranking in seven of the last nine years. The Lions are coming off a third place finish (tied with San Diego) in the 2007 season after rain dominated the WCC Championships and halted the match.
Mesterova Already Makes Her Mark
The Lions roster returns two players who earned All-WCC honors on either the singles or doubles side. Leading the way is senior Pavla Mesterova, who earned the 2007 WCC Player of the Year honor, working her way to a No. 40 preseason ranking entering the 2007-08 season. Last season, she led the Lions with a 27-6 record, going 19-3 in dual matches at No. 1 singles. The 27 wins rank fifth all-time in LMU history for victories in a single season, while her .818 winning percentage is the best in program history. She is currently ranked 14th in the West Region. Mesterova also earned first-team All-WCC honors in doubles with former teammate Robyn Baker.
Since the beginning of the 2007-08 women's tennis season, Mesterova has been on a roll, having been selected to compete in the Riviera All-American Tournament followed by the ITA National Indoor Championships. Her play in the ITA Regionals made her eligible for the at-large bid for the Indoor Championships. The ITA National Intercollegiate Indoor Championships is the second of three national tournaments for singles and doubles during the collegiate tennis season. The other two include the ITA All-American Championships in October and the NCAA Championships in May. Playing in the tournament marked a first for Mesterova and for LMU, since it is the first time in her career, and in school history that the Lions have had a representative selected to play in the Indoor National Tournament.
Tanner Is Back
Senior Tamara Tanner returns for her fifth and final year of eligibility for the Lions. After earning honorable mention All-WCC honors in doubles play last year, Tanner's experience and leadership will serve a key role in leading the Lions this season.
Head Coach Jamie Sanchez
Jamie Sanchez is in his 33rd season as head coach of the Loyola Marymount women's tennis program. Sanchez, the program's only coach since its inception, began coaching the team in 1975 and has posted a career record of 418-378. In 2002, Sanchez guided the Lions to their first ever WCC Championship with a 4-2 win over Pepperdine. For the first time in program history, Sanchez and the Lions advanced to the NCAA playoffs as a team, and were represented in the Individual NCAA playoffs with the doubles duo of Andrea Lord and Angelina Zdorovytska. He was named the WCC Coach of the Year for the second straight year in 2002, and in 2006 he earned his third honor.