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Two Home Matches This Week for Lions

March 28, 2006

Briefly... - Loyola Marymount women's tennis will host two home matches this week, as conference play continues. The Lions will first face UC Santa Barbara Wednesday at 1:30 p.m. Then, LMU will host Saint Mary's in the first match of a West Coast Conference tennis doubleheader at 10:00 a.m.

About this Week's Match-ups... The LMU Tennis Center will be the site of this week's competition, which will feature three programs that were all nationally ranked at some point this season. UC Santa Barbara (11-6) was ranked as high as 68th (February 14th), while Saint Mary's (7-5) was the nation's 56th ranking on March 7. That same day, LMU (6-10) earned its highest ranking of 2006, coming in at the 60th spot. The Lions and Gaels will play in the first match of the WCC doubleheader Saturday. The LMU men will then host Santa Clara at 2:00 p.m. at the LMU Tennis Center.

Gaucho Gossip... The Gauchos spent much of February in the rankings, but have dropped out recently. Like the Lions, they still have three ranked programs to face in 75th-ranked Pacific, 53rd-ranked UC Irvine, and 20th-ranked Long Beach State. UCSB is currently 4-1 in Big West Conference play.

Gael Gossip... The Gaels enter the week with an overall record of 7-5, but lead the conference after already posting a record of 4-0 in WCC play. Saint Mary's recorded wins over Santa Clara, San Francisco, Gonzaga, and Portland. SMC has seven matches left on its regular season schedule and four of the seven are against WCC teams, beginning with LMU on Saturday. Saint Mary's boasts one player currently in the national rankings in Aude Lambert (124th).

Last Time Out...LMU faced two WCC matches last week, with both matches coming against ranked opponents. The Lions pushed 49th-ranked San Diego to a 4-3 contest Saturday, just days after being points away from a 4-3 match with eighth-ranked Pepperdine. The tough WCC competition will continue this Saturday with Saint Mary's. LMU also picked up a win last week against Cornell. With the win, the Lions gave Head Coach Jamie Sanchez his 400th career win.

Sanchez Hits 400... In his 32nd year of coaching at LMU, Jamie Sanchez reached the 400 career victory mark with women's tennis. Win number 400 came March 24 against Cornell at the LMU Tennis Center. The 400 career wins make him just the second coach in the history of West Coast Conference tennis to reach the milestone. The only other WCC coach to reach this mark is Pepperdine's Head Coach Gualberto Escudero. It also makes 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 in March in the Lions' home opener at the new Smith Field.

The Pavla Watch... Sophomore Pavla Mesterova could join an exclusive club this season. Already with 22 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), Washington State (71st), Pepperdine (eighth), and San Diego (47th), LMU will also take on Oregon (35th), Florida International (38th), and Fresno State (29th).

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.-GO LIONS-