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Lions Open Fall Season

Oct. 10, 2007

The Loyola Marymount University women's tennis team opened the fall campaign of the 2007-08 season at the Riviera/ITA All-American Championships October 2-3. Seniors Pavla Mesterova and Tamara Tanner competed in the invite-only singles and doubles qualifying tournament held at the famous Riviera Tennis Club.

The first Intercollegiate Tennis Association national and singles and doubles championships of the 2007-08 season, the Riviera/ITA Women's All-American Championships is one of three national collegiate tennis championships this season. The Riviera/ITA Women's All-American Championships, the Nov. 1-4 ITA National Intercollegiate Indoor Championships, and the year-end NCAA Championships are college tennis' three national championship events during the season.

Mesterova, ranked 40th in singles by the ITA, played in the qualifying singles for the All-American Tournament. Losing 7-5, 7-5 to no. 62 Anna Sydorska from Texas Christian University, Mesterova then moved into the back draw of the qualifying tournament where she competed against No. 94 Melissa Saiontz from Princeton. Mesterova fell to Saiontz 5-7, 6-4, 6-4.

In the doubles prequalifying tournament Mesterova teamed up with Tamara Tanner and took on Florenta Hanish and Lenore Lazaroui from Wichita State. A strong team that appeared in the NCAA Tournament last season, Wichita State claimed the match over Mesterova and Tanner by a close margin of 8-6.

This is Mesterova's second invite to the prestigious Riviera/ITA All-American Championships. Ranked 51st last year by the ITA in singles, Mesterova faced no. 45 Carol Sage from Clemson University, losing the match 6-2. In the doubles qualifying tournament, the Lions duo of Mesterova and Robyn Baker, ranked 29th as a doubles team, were paired against no. 18 Shadisha Robinson and Gabrielle Duch of South Florida. Robinson and Duch claimed an 8-5 win.

While Mesterova and Tanner competed in the ITA tournament, a majority of their Lion teammates played in the Cal State Fullerton Intercollegiate Tennis Tournament on Oct. 5-7. Audra Bulkley, Bliss Nixon, Jasmin Heckel, Tina Razloznik, Shawnell Russell and Natalie Tejada all made the trip to Fullerton. LMU featured a young roster at the tournament with only two seniors in Russell and Tejada. Sophomores Bliss Nixon and Audrey Bulkley competed, along with newcomers Jasmin Heckel and Tina Razloznik who made their debut as Lions.

Audrey Bulkley was the most successful Lion in singles play. After losing the main draw 7-5, 6-3 to Whitney Peterson of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Bulkley moved into the back draw of the tournament winning four matches in a row to reach the back draw finals. She beat Nina Jaworoski of Cal State Northridge 8-5, Isabella Kasselstrand of Cal State Bakersfield 8-3 and Ali Welliver of UC Irvine 8-2. In the semifinals Bulkley faced Asagi Onaga of UCSB and won the match 8-3 putting her in the finals against Maria Malec of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. Bulkley played a close match but fell to Malec 9-7.

Also in singles play, Tina Razloznik played and defeated Miki Fukushima of UC Santa Barbara in the main draw of the tournament 6-2, 6-1. Razloznik then competed against Brooke Pletcher of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, taking the match 6-3, 6-4 before moving to the round of sixteen where she lost to Hanna Grady of Cal State Long Beach 6-1, 6-0.

To round out the singles play, Natalie Tejada and Jasmin Heckel both lost in the main draw of the tournament. Tejada falling to Nina Jaworowski from Cal State Northridge 6-0, 6-0, while Heckel to Jill Damion of UCSB in three sets, 6-3, 6-7 and 6-2. Both moved to the back draw of the tournament where Tejada lost to Brittany Kausen of UCSB 8-1 and Heckel to Asagi Onaga of UCSB 8-3.

In doubles, Tina Razloznik and Audrey Bulkley won the main draw 8-4 against Furuta and Porushkevich of Cal State Northridge. They then went on to beat Mosser and Giovanetti of UCSB 8-2 before falling to Weeks and Armstrong of Cal State Long Beach 8-0 in the round of eight.

Jasmin Heckel and Bliss Nixon teamed up to take on Peterson and Filip of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo but lost in the first round 8-4. In the back draw of the doubles tournament they beat Onishenko and Marcias from Cal State Nothridge 8-2, but fell in the semifinals to Jaworowski and Kukla of Cal State Northridge 8-6.

Up next, the Lions travel to the Saint Mary's Invitational this coming weekend, October 12-14.