CLAREMONT, Calif. -The eighth-ranked Pepperdine women’s tennis team became West Coast Conference Tournament Champions for the fourth-straight year this Saturday afternoon at the Biszantz Family Tennis Center, defeating third-seeded Saint Mary’s with a dominating 4-0 sweep to earn the title.
The Waves, now 2016 WCC regular season and tournament champions, began the day with a strong effort in doubles play, winning on courts one and two to head into singles with a 1-0 advantage. Then with all six courts in action, the Waves won five-of-six first sets en route to the sweep.
“It feels amazing to win,” said Head Coach Per Nilsson. “There is a lot of relief just because of what we are fighting for, being able to get a good seed for the NCAA tournament and I’m just happy to see that things are going well and we are heading in the right direction.”
In the 30-year history of WCC tennis, the Waves have captured the conference title on 25 occasions and are currently on a four-year streak of winning the crown after the victory today. All-time in WCC tournament play, Pepperdine has amassed an outstanding 59-3 overall record since 1995.
Junior Apichaya Runglerdkriangkrai and freshman Luisa Stefani earned WCC All-Tournament doubles for the number one position. Stefani and sophomore Laura Gulbe earned WCC All-Tournament singles for the one and two positions respectively.
On court one, Runglerdkriangkrai and Stefani took of business first for Pepperdine with a 6-4 victory over Clementine Clement and Emma Critser. Shortly after, the Gaels earned a win on court three to tie the match.
With a 4-4 tie on court two, senior Matea Cutura and junior Christine Maddox worked hard to gain the advantage, eventually winning the set 6-4 over Jamie Pawis and Jana McCord to put the Waves ahead by one.
In singles, Stefani was the first to finish on court one, dominating McCord 6-0 in the first set. The match was closer in the second as each competitor worked point-for-point, but Stefani eventually prevailed with a 6-4 victory to put the Waves up 2-0.
“Her [Stefani’s] attitude in training the last two weeks has been really good and it has been paying off,” Nilsson said. “She has been very sharp in the last two weeks and it’s showing.”
Almost simultaneously, Gulbe collected a 6-1, 6-1 win over Pawid to extend the Waves’ lead to 3-0 on the day with the last four courts still in action. Freshman Dzina Milovanovic was up to the task for the team and was feeling confident after a 6-4 first set victory. She clinched the overall win with a 6-1 in the second set to put down Clement and put the Waves up 4-0.
Doubles Play (Order of Finish 1,3,2)
Stefani/Runglerdkriangkrai (PEP) def. Clement/Critser (SMC) 6-4
Maddox/Cutura (PEP) def. McCord/Pawid (SMC) 6-4
Kaur/Manji (SMC) def. Gulbe/Milovanovic (PEP) 6-3
Luisa Stefani (PEP) def. Jana McCord (SMC) 6-0, 6-4
Laura Gulbe (PEP) def. Jamie Pawid (SMC) 6-1, 6-1
Dzina Milovanovic (PEP) def. Clementine Clement (SMC) 6-4, 6-1
Matea Cutura (PEP) vs Kareena Manji (SMC) 6-4, 3-1 unfinished
Jean Runglerdkriangkrai (PEP) vs Emma Critser (SMC) 6-0, 5-4 unfinished
Parminder Kaur (SMC) vs Michaela Caponnolo (PEP) 7-6, 0-1 unfinished
2016 WCC Women's Tennis All-Tournament Team
#1 Doubles – Luisa Stefani & Jean Runglerdkriangkrai, Pepperdine
#2 Doubles – Nicolette Poulson & Savanna Ware, BYU
#3 Doubles – Parminder Kaur & Kareena Manji, Saint Mary’s
#1 Singles – Luisa Stefani, Pepperdine
#2 Singles – Laura Gulbe, Pepperdine
#3 Singles – Clementine Clement, Saint Mary’s
#4 Singles – Nabila Farah, Santa Clara
#5 Singles – Emma Critser, Saint Mary’s
#6 Singles – Brittanie Eraso, BYU