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Lions Open Fall Campaign in Prestigous Tourneys

Oct. 9, 2006

Los Angeles, CA (Oct. 9) - The Loyola Marymount University women's tennis team opened the fall campaign of the 2006-07 season with early tests for the primarily young Lions' roster. For Junior Pavla Mesterova and senior Robyn Baker, ranked 29th as a doubles team with Mesterova ranked 51st as a single, that early test came at the 22nd Annual Riviera Women's All-American Tennis Championships.

The All-American championship is one of just three nationally recognized ITA championship events on the year. The Riviera Championships along with the ITA National Intercollegiate Indoor Championships Nov. 2-5 and the year-end NCAA Championships, are college tennis' three national championship events during the season.

On the doubles side, the Lions' duo was paired against Shadisha Robinson and Gabrielle Duch of South Florida. The 18th ranked duo broke one serve of Mesterova and Baker to tip the scale of a tightly played match in their favor. Robinson and Duch went on to claim an 8-5 win.

Mesterova also qualified as a singles player and played one of the seeded players in the Qualifying draw. Faced against No. 45 Carol Salge from Clemson University, the match came down to the first set. Salge pulled out a 7-6 tie breaker and then went on to win the match with a 6-2 win in the second.

"The difference in the match came in the first set," said Head Coach Jamie Sanchez. "Pavla had a few chances but could not cash in on them. Once the other player won the first set, her confidence increased and Pavla battled but could not make a break through."

Mesterova went on to play in the backdraw and fell to Marion Ravelijaona from Cal, 6-4 and 6-2.

"The caliber of this tournament, being one of the three national collegiate tennis championships this season and being the premier hard court event for the fall season, this was a tough first tournament to start the season. Pavla is one of the best players in the nation as a singles while she and Robyn are improving everyday as a doubles team. This will only make them both more determined to excel throughout the year."

While Baker and Mesterova played in the ITA event on Oct. 3-4, the majority of the roster played in the Cal State Fullerton Invitational on Oct. 6-8. Shawnell Russell, Vanessa Lunardi, Natalie Tejada, Audra Silman and Kellie Ammerman all made the trip for the Lions. Four of the five made their debut as Lions as Russell as a sophomore is the only returning player for the Lions who played at the Fullerton Invite.

It happened to be Russell who claimed a win in singles play, defeating Hannah Lane from UC Riverside in three sets, 6-3, 3-6 and 7-5. With little less than an hour in between matches, Russell then had to played the fields top seed Katy Williams from Long Beach State in the second round. Williams earned the 6-1, 6-2 win.

Also in singles play, Ammerman fell to Heidi Kaloi of UC Irvine 6-2, 6-1. Silman also lost to a UC Irvine player, Jessica Broadfoot, 6-0, 6-0. Lunaroi lost 6-0, 6-3 to Diane Filip of Cal Poly to round out the singles play.

In doubles, Tejada and Lunaroi where the No. 3 seed in the field and had a bye to the second round. They then fell to Amber Harper and Katcha Decker-Sadowski of USC, 8-1. Silman and Russell fell to Jessica Weeks and Nina Burgoon of Long Beach State, 8-0.

In the backdraw, Tejada fell in the second round 8-1 to Emmunvell Tabatruong of Long Beach State 8-1. Lunaroi fell to Lisa Shih of UC Irvine 8-0. Silman fell to Ashley Macias of Cal State Northridge 8-6. Ammerman once again earned a win to the second round, defeating Katie Barth of UC Irvine 8-6. She then fell in the second round 8-0 to Katcha Decker of USC.

In the doubles backdraw, Silman and Russell defeated a team from Cal State Fullerton 8-5 to reach the semifinals. They fell to a team from Fullerton, 8-1.

LMU will be back in action at the Saint Mary's Invitational this coming weekend, Oct. 13-15.