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Spring Break in the Bay

March 1, 2007

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Thanks to the rain the Loyola Marymount women's tennis team saw their eight-match road trip broken up with a rare date with UCLA at the LMU Tennis Center. The Lions will look to rebound from a tough setback to the No. 15 Bruins with a daunting five-match trip in the Bay Area over spring break. The Lions will start the trip with Saint Mary's on Friday, March 2 and then continue with USF (Mar. 4), Santa Clara (Mar. 7), San Jose State (Mar. 9) and No. 7 Cal will end the trip on March 11.

In The Polls
For the fifth straight week LMU earned a spot in the FILA Collegiate Tennis Rankings administered by the ITA. They are ranked 69th in this week's poll. The Lions saw their ranking peak at No. 64 on Feb. 21 following their win over San Diego, who was No. 60 at the time. The Lions have already played four matches against ranked opponents with six more on the horizon. The ITA ranks the top 75 each week.

Against This Week's Opponents
The Lions will start their week in the Bay Area with three straight West Coast Conference foes. The Lions will start with undefeated Saint Mary's, then head to San Francisco and close at Santa Clara. The Gaels are 7-0 to start the season with impressive wins over UC Santa Barbara (5-2), Cal Poly (4-2) and WCC foes Santa Clara (7-0) and Gonzaga (7-0). The Broncos are 2-2 and will not play until the Lions come calling on March 7. They have wins over Gonzaga (5-2) and USF (4-3) with losses to SMC and UCSB (6-1). San Francisco is 1-3 on the season with a win over Cal State Fullerton, 5-2.

Fast Start
The No. 1 doubles team of Pavla Mesterova and Tamara Tanner have settled in nicely as a tandem this season, going 4-1 to start the spring dual match season. Overall they are 8-2 on the year, going 4-1 this fall in tournament play. They won eight straight matches before falling to the 17th-ranked doubles team in the nation from UCLA, Riza Zalameda and Yasmin Schnack. Also 5-0 to start the spring season is newcomer Elrien de Villiers. The freshmen from South Africa is 6-2 since joining the Lions this January, going 5-1 in dual matches and 1-1 in the Cal State L.A. Tournament to start her career. She has gone 3-0 at No. 6 singles, moved to No. 5 singles and went 2-0 and then moved to No. 4 singles where she fell to No. 15 UCLA.

Last Time Out
Loyola Marymount junior Pavla Mesterova earned a three set win over UCLA's 46th-ranked Riza Zalameda at No. 1 singles on Tuesday afternoon, 6-4, 1-6 and 6-3. The 15th-ranked Bruins, however, claimed the overall win, defeating the Lions 6-1 at the LMU Tennis Center. Mesterova, who was ranked 51st in the preseason rankings in October, earned her biggest win of the season over Zalameda. The Czech Republic native earned a tight affair in the first set 6-4, but saw Zalameda run away in the second to send it to the third and final match. Mesterova took a 4-1 lead with two services breaks to earn the win. The Bruins earned a three match sweep at doubles to earn the first point of the match. They then clinched the match with consecutive wins at No. 2, No. 3, No. 4 and no. 6 singles. Along with No. 1 singles, Tamara Tanner pushed her match to three sets against Ana-Victoria Lind of UCLA. After getting swept in the opening set, Tanner won a grueling tie-break in the second to force a third set. The set was played in a pro tiebreaker as Lind won 10-5.

Head Coach
Jamie Sanchez is in his 32nd 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 1976 and has posted a career record of 406-363 in 31 seasons. In 2002, Sanchez guided the Lions to their first ever West Coast Conference Championship with a 4-2 win over Pepperdine. With the win, Sanchez and the Lions advanced to the NCAA playoffs as a team for the first time in program history. He was named the West Coast Conference Coach of the Year for the second straight year in 2002 and in 2006 he earned his third WCC Coach of the Year honor. In his 31 years at the helm of the Lions' program, Sanchez's teams have never finished lower than fourth in the WCC. The Lions finished 12-14 and in second place after reaching the WCC Championship in 2006. In November of 2004, Sanchez was honored with the US Tennis Association/Intercollegiate Tennis Association Campus Recreation Award as the sectional winner for all of Southern California. In its second year, the award honors an ITA coach who has done an outstanding job implementing recreational tennis programs on campus.