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No. 11 Women's Tennis Concludes Regular Season on Friday; Hosts No. 45 Florida International

April 6, 2006

Malibu, Calif. -

This Week: The nationally-ranked Pepperdine women's tennis team concludes its regular season on Friday, April 7 when it faces nationally-ranked Florida International at 1:30 p.m. at the Ralphs-Straus Tennis Center in Malibu, Calif.

The Waves are ranked at No. 11, while FIU enters the match with a national ranking of 45.

Pepperdine holds a record of 16-3, while the Golden Panthers are 15-2 on the season. FIU faces No. 23 Long Beach State on Thursday before taking on the Waves.

Seniors Natalie Braverman and Merve Asimgil will be recognized for their significant careers with the Waves.

Harvard Recap: Backed by a sweep of the doubles matches, the women's tennis team handed No. 19 Harvard a 5-2 defeat.

Pepperdine kicked off the match with an upset on court one with the No. 22 Wave duo of Merve Asimgil and Sylvia Kosakowski defeating No. 4 Melissa Anderson and Elsa O'Riain 8-6. Natalie Braverman and Caroline Raba clinched the doubles point with an 8-5 win at No. 3 over Preethi Mukundan and Laura Peterzan, while No. 25 Bianca Dulgheru and Eva Dickes defeated Eva Wang and Stephanie Schnitter 9-7 on court two to complete doubles play.

Dickes kicked off singles with a 6-0, 6-0 win over Mukundan at No. 5, while Raba defeated Peterzan 6-0, 6-4 at No. 3. The Crimson were still in the match with two victories on courts four and six, but the Waves took a 3-2 lead as No. 27 Dulgheru defeated Wang 6-4, 6-3 on court one. Kosakowski clinched the match for Pepperdine with a 7-6 (5), 6-3 win over No. 85 O'Riain.

Saint Mary's Recap: Recording its second win of the weekend, the women's tennis team rolled over Saint Mary's 7-0 in a West Coast Conference match on Sunday afternoon.

Pepperdine proved its strength in doubles by once again sweeping all three matches. No. 22 Merve Asimgil and Sylvia Kosakowski defeated Aude Lambert and Jessica Hoath 8-4, while No. 25 Eva Dickes and Bianca Dulgheru shut out Stef Ordoveza and Erin Young 8-0 on court two. Natalie Braverman and Caroline Raba also had no problem putting away their opponents, as they won 8-1 over Kate Harden and Feline Charlot.

The Waves were on a roll as they all knocked out the Gaels in straight sets. At No. 1, No. 27 Dulgheru handed No. 124 Lambert a 6-0, 6-1 loss, while Kosakowski defeated Hoath 6-1, 6-0 on court two. Raba picked up her second win of the weekend, defeating Harden 6-1, 6-1, while Dickes put away Young 6-4, 6-2 at No. 4. Lise Sissler recorded her first win playing at No. 5 with a 6-1, 6-2 victory over Kristin Kummer, while Jelena Jovic is 2-0 at No. 6 after beating Ordoveza 6-1, 6-1.

About Florida International: FIU closed out its home schedule with a 6-1 win over Brown, recording its 12th straight match. The Golden Panthers face Long Beach State before visiting Pepperdine on Friday. Junior Paula Zabala leads FIU with a No. 85 national ranking and teams up with Nikkita Fountain for a national ranking of 29 in doubles. Head Coach Ronni Bernstein is in the midst of her 10th season with the Golden Panthers.

Looking Ahead: The Waves look to win their fourth consecutive West Coast Conference Championship title when they travel to Santa Clara for the WCC Championships from April 21-23. The NCAA Regional Championships kick off May 12 at selected campus sites.

Senior Day: Friday's match will mark the final home collegiate appearance for two Waves. Merve Asimgil and Natalie Braverman will be recognized for their impressive careers with Pepperdine women's tennis. During their four years, the Waves have compiled an overall record to date of 59-36. The seniors have helped guide Pepperdine to three consecutive WCC Chamionships and led the Waves to the NCAA tournament three times. This season, the seniors helped lead Pepperdine into the Top 10 on March 21.

Double Trouble: Pepperdine is the only team that boasts two doubles teams that are ranked in the Top 25 in the most recent ITA Rankings (April 4). Leading the Waves is the duo of senior Merve Asimgil and sophomore Sylvia Kosakowski, who check in at No. 21, while sophomore Bianca Dulgheru and junior Eva Dickes are ranked at No. 22. The two teams have a combined record of 27-9, playing in the first and second positions.

Senior Natalie Braverman and junior Caroline Raba have also made a mark for the Waves going 10-1 at No. 3 and have won their last nine matches.

Success From All Around: One of the reasons for Pepperdine's solid succes is its depth in the line-up. Playing at No. 1 is sophomore Bianca Dulgheru who is ranked at No. 25 with a 16-3 record. Sylvia Kosakowski and Caroline Raba are solid competitors at No. 2 and No. 3, respectively. Natalie Braverman is having a stellar season going 10-3 at No. 4 and is 13-5 overall. Eva Dickes has only lost two matches and is 17-2 overall at No. 5, while Merve Asimgil has played at positions 4-6 and has a combined record of 10-8.

Head Coach Gualberto Escudero: Solidly established as a national Top 20 program since the late 1980's, Pepperdine head women's tennis coach Gualberto Escudero figures to field yet another strong team during the 2006 collegiate campaign.

Beginning his 29th season at the helm in Malibu, Escudero is the veteran member of the Pepperdine coaching staff, and he has compiled a cumulative career dual match record of 515-257 (.667) dating back to the start of the 1978 campaign. Escudero has directed 22 Pepperdine teams to a national Top 20 ranking, and Pepperdine's 1984, 1989, 1991, 1993, 1994, 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2006 squads each cracked the Top 10.

Escudero has led Pepperdine to post-season action 22 times in 28 seasons, and the Waves have advanced to the quarterfinal round at the NCAA Championships on four occasions since 1989. Additionally, Pepperdine has won 20 or more dual matches in a season 10 times, plus captured 16 West Coast Conference team championships dating back to 1988.

Escudero's hard work has not gone unnoticed by his peers, as he was tabbed the University's "Coach of the Year" in 1984 and 1989. In 1991, Escudero was selected the ITA's District 8 "Coach of the Year," as Pepperdine compiled a dual match record of 23-5 and was ranked No. 5 in the final ITA poll--the best-ever final national ranking for the program. Escudero was named the West Coast Conference "Coach of the Year" for the first time in 1999, and was tabbed the ITA District 8 "Coach of the Year" for a second time. Escudero was selected the league's "Coach of the Year" again in 2000.

Escudero obtained both his undergraduate and graduate degrees from Pepperdine. Escudero earned a bachelor's degree in science in 1972, and a master's degree in teacher education two years later.

Presently, Escudero teaches tennis courses for the University's physical education department, and his classes are annually among the most popular at the school. Pepperdine has continued to benefit from Escudero's solid recruiting efforts--attracting top-ranked players from the United States and foreign countries--thus allowing the Waves to establish themselves as a top contender for the NCAA team title.

Waves At Home: In the midst of the 2006 season, the Waves boast a 13-1 record when playing at the Ralphs-Straus Tennis Center on Pepperdine's campus. Beginning the season in victorious fashion, Pepperdine defeated Cal Poly, 6-1, in its season opener. The Waves have also edged then-No. 15 UCLA and No. 15 Baylor, 4-3, winning the always-important doubles point in both matches. Pepperdine lost its first match at home when No. 1 Stanford edged the Waves 4-3 on March 29.

Waves On The Road: On the road, Pepperdine is 3-2 on the season. The Waves' only two losses came at the hands of then-No. 10 Miami and then-No. 2 USC. Pepperdine picked up wins at San Diego State, UC Irvine and South Florida. The Waves travel to Santa Clara to compete in the WCC Championships from April 21-23.

Sports Information Hotline: For updated information concerning Pepperdine athletics, including results and a schedule of upcoming events, please contact the Pepperdine Sports Information Hotline at 310-506-7373. The hotline will be updated on a regular basis throughout the course of the 2005-06 school year.

On The Web: For updated information concerning Pepperdine athletics, including results and schedules of upcoming events, on the Internet, please bookmark the following web address: http://www.PepperdineSports.com

For More Information: For more information on the women's tennis program or to arrange interviews with coaches and players, please contact Jennifer Landes at the Pepperdine Sports Information office by calling (310) 506-4160.