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Lions Ranked in First Spring Poll

Jan. 10, 2008

Los Angeles, CA - 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 an NCAA National Ranking in seven of the last nine years, moving up four spots from last season.

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.

"The No. 64 ranking is an acknowledgement of the respect that LMU tennis has established over the last few years," said Head Coach Jamie Sanchez, who is in his 33rd year at the helm of the Lions. "We have established ourselves as one of the top 75 teams in the nation among the more than 300 teams in Division I tennis. While it is great to be acknowledged, we have not done anything yet. We still have to prove that we are worthy of the ranking".

For the Lions, the spring season will kick-off at No. 8 USC on January 16. They will play eight out of their first 10 dual matches against ranked opponents. The Lions, returning four seniors and three sophomores, are joined this season by three freshmen, Jasmin Heckel, Caroline Nothnagel, Shauna Morgan, and junior transfer Tina Razloznik from the University of Arizona.

"Our task ahead of us is to combine the chemistry of our experienced and inexperienced players and develop them into a seasoned team from the top of the line-up to the last position on the team," said Sanchez. "Our players such as Pavla, Tamara and Tina have experience at the top of the line-up. The new players will have to step-up and become seasoned Division I competitors as the year progresses."

The Lions will be led by the 2007 WCC Player of the Year, Pavla Mesterova. She has already been off to a fast start, participating this fall in two of the three major national tournaments held during the collegiate season. The added experience of fifth-year senior Tamara Tanner along with Razloznik will lead LMU into another loaded spring schedule.

According to the Jan. 8 rankings released by ITA, 13 of the Lions' dual opponents this spring are among the top-75, including two from the WCC. The Lions first dual meet of the season is on Jan. 16 at No. 8 USC. The Trojans are the second highest ranked opponent on the Lions' schedule, second only to No. 3 UCLA who they will face on Feb. 13 in Westwood. Three days after the season opener at USC, the Lions take a trip to Oklahoma to face two more ranked opponents, No. 46 University of Tulsa on Jan. 19, followed the next day by 59th ranked Oklahoma State.

The remaining nine ranked teams include at No. 48 San Diego State on Feb. 6, No. 63 Cal Poly at home Feb. 15, No. 37 UC Irvine at home on Feb. 22, WCC rivals No. 18 Pepperdine at home on March 6, No. 57 Saint Mary's at home on March 16, followed by No. 69 Cal State Northridge on the road on April 3, No. 41 Cal State Long Beach on the road April 11 and No. 14 Fresno State on the road April 13.

LMU will open play at the LMU Tennis Center on Feb. 8 against No. 56 Cal State Sacramento at 1:30 p.m. Last season saw the Lions fall to the Hornets at home, 4-3.