March 27, 2007
Loyola Marymount women's tennis (8-8, 3-2) will put to end a grueling stretch of game when they host 50th-ranked Long Beach State on Wednesday, March 28 at the LMU Tennis Center. It will be the final home match of the season for the Lions, who have played six matches in the last 12 days. Long Beach State (10-6) is the Lions third ranked opponent in the last four matches.
In the Rankings
Loyola Marymount's Pavla Mesterova and Robyn Baker have been ranked together before. They have been noted for their play as a doubles team. However, for the first time the pair find themselves ranked as individuals at the same time. Mesterova, a junior who is 18-5 on the season, has been in the FILA Collegiate Tennis Rankings by ITA for the last month. She remains there with a ranking of 74. Joining her for the first time is senior Robyn Baker. The fourth-year player from Palm Desert has won seven straight matches, including a win over the then 16th-ranked player in the nation from Cal, Nina Henkel. She is ranked No. 100 in the poll that ranks the top 125 individuals in collegiate tennis.
Against This Week's Opponents
The Lions will play just the one game this week against Long Beach State. The two programs will be playing for the 26th consecutive year as they have played against each other every season since 1982. The 49ers have won the last six meetings with the last LMU win coming in 2000 by a score of 5-4. The 49ers are 10-6 on the season and are coming off a 5-2 win over ranked Princeton on March 22.
Pavla Mesterova and Robyn Baker have solidified the top of the Lions line-up this season, providing a potent one-two punch. The pair play at No. 1 and No. 2 singles, respectively and have combined to win 21 of their last 23 matches. In addition, the pair combine for the Lions' top duo at No. 1 doubles. Mesterova is 21-5 on the season and has won five straight and 12 of her last 13 matches, going 13-2 at No. 1 singles this season. Baker has won her last nine of her last 10 matches, including a win over the No. 16 players in the nation. She is 11-7 overall and 10-5 in No. 2 singles action. In doubles, they are 8-4 this season overall and 8-2 at No. 1 doubles in dual matches.
Last Time Out
Playing in their third match in four days and second straight in less than 17 hours, the Loyola Marymount women's tennis team saw their eighth match of the season go to a 4-3 decision, as they fell to 46th-ranked Sacramento State at the LMU Tennis Center on Sunday morning. After defeating Pacific 7-0 on Saturday in a match that concluded around 4:30 p.m., the Lions were back on the court at 9:30 a.m. to take on the Hornets. It was the Lions third match since Thursday, second of the three against a ranked opponent. With the setback, the Lions fall to 8-8 on the season while Pacific improves to 11-5. The Lions once again looked to take early control of the match with a doubles victory. Pavla Mesterova and Robyn Baker earned an 8-1 win at No. 1 doubles while Tamara Tanner and Serena Fermin took No. 2 doubles, 8-5 to earn the doubles points. LMU went up 2-0 on the match when Mesterova won yet another No. 1 singles dual, winning on retirement, up 6-4, 3-0. She improves to 21-5 on the year with her fifth straight win and 12th in her last 13 matches. Sacramento State then took control of the match with wins at No. 3, No. 6 and No. 4 singles to take the lead at 3-2. The match came down to No. 2 and No. 5 singles, both going to three sets. Baker earned a 4-6, 6-2, 6-3 win at No. 2 doubles. However, her win came too late as Elrien de Villiers fell at No. 5 singles, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2.
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 414-371 heading into the match against Nevada. 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.