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Lions Begin Conference Play This Week

March 20, 2006

Briefly... The 75th-ranked Lions will get their first taste of conference play this Wednesday, March 22nd. They will face 14th-ranked Pepperdine on the road in Malibu, Calif. Then the Lions will face Cornell University on Friday, March 26th at the LMU Tennis Center.

A Look At the Waves... Pepperdine University comes into the Wednesday match with the Lions with a 12-2 overall record and a 1-0 record in conference play. 34th- ranked Biance Dulgheru, 93rd-ranked Sylvia Kosakowski and 125th-ranked Natalie Braverman are Pepperdines ranked singles players. The waves also have ranked doubles team in 17th-ranked Eva Dickes and Biance Dulgheru and 36th-ranked Merve Asimgil and Sylvia Kos.

Weekend of Challenging Play... Last Sunday the Lions traveled across town to the Balboa Bay Tennis Club to compete in a tournament with 42nd- ranked University of Nebraska, 57th-ranked Ohio State and 71st ranked Washington State. The Lions dropped their first match to Nebraska 4-0. later in the day the Lions took on Washington State and fell to the Cougars 4-0. LMU Head Coach Jamie Sanchez said, "this weekend was a good opportunity for us getting to play ranked teams at a neutral site. Playing two matches in one day was tough but it will prepare us for upcoming conference play."

Competitive Conference Play... Last week, the Lions were scheduled to open West Coast Conference play against Santa Clara, but the match was rescheduled due to forecasted rain in the Los Angeles area. The Lions and Broncos have not yet announced a date for the rescheduled match. For the second straight week, the WCC has four teams in the national rankings: 14th-ranked Pepperdine, 53rd-ranked San Diego, 75th-ranked LMU, and 75th-ranked Saint Mary's. The Lions and the Gaels share this week's 75th spot.

Sanchez Seeks 400... In his 32nd season at the helm of the women's tennis program at LMU, Head Coach Jamie Sanchez needs just one team victory to reach the 400 career win milestone. The 400 career wins would make him just the second coach in the history of the West Coast Conference to reach the milestone. The only other WCC coach to reach this mark is Pepperdine's Head Coach Gualberto Escudero. It would also make Sanchez one of two coaches in LMU history to reach the 400-mark. The other is current LMU softball coach Gary Ferrin, who earned his 400th career victory earlier this month in the Lions' home opener at the new Smith Field.

The Pavla Watch... Sophomore Pavla Mesterova is on pace to join an exclusive club this season. Already with 21 singles victories, she could become one of three players in LMU women's tennis history to reach the 30-win milestone in one season. There are already two members of the 30-wins-in-one-season club at LMU: Andrea Lord who set the record going 31-12 in 2000, and Julie Oshiro who went 30-8 in 1994.

Schedule Strength... The Lions face a tough schedule again this season, with 14 opponents currently ranked in the ITA February team rankings. After already facing UCLA (12th), SDSU (52nd), Long Beach State (47th), UC Irvine (68th), Boston College (63rd), Boise State (75th) Nebraska (42nd), and Washington State (71st , LMU will also take on Oregon (37th), Pepperdine (14th), Florida International (58th), Fresno State (27th), San Diego (53rd), and Saint Mary's (75th).Women's Tennis Celebrates 30 Years at LMU... 2006 will see the Lions celebrate 30 years of women's tennis at LMU. Head Coach Jamie Sanchez, who began the women's tennis program 30 years ago for the Lions, is spearheading the commemorative year. During the annual alumnae day last weekend, a committee met to begin the planning for the celebration to be held September 22-24. Alumnae involved on the planning committee include co-chairwomen Julie Hladik Reid '02 and Amy Okum Garrity '93, Peggy Reilly '80, Lia Bunker Green '98, Amy Labetich Lane '99, and Erin Sanchez '05. Other alumnae who returned for the festivities included Michelle Rizza '80, Sue Wise '81, and Theresa Holden Ilgunas '80.