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Pair of Top-50 Opponents Await Lions this Weekend

April 7, 2006

Briefly... - Loyola Marymount women's tennis will host 45th-ranked Florida International University on Saturday at the LMU Tennis Center at 11:00 a.m. Then the Lions (8-11, 1-2 WCC) will then travel Fresno, Calif. to 21st-ranked Fresno State to take on the Bulldogs at 10:00 a.m.

Weekend Preview... The Lions will take on two ranked teams this weekend. Both Florida International University and Fresno State boast ranked singles and doubles players. LMU will face No. 85 Paula Zabala of Florida International University in singles play and the 29th-ranked doubles duo of Zabala and Nikkita Fountain. Fresno State has two ranked singles players in 21st-ranked Melanie Gloria and 96th-ranked Katharina Winterhalter. In doubles, the team of 6th-ranked Winterhalter and Lucia Sainz will compete for the Bulldogs.

FIU Facts... Florida International has an overall record of 16-2 and 3-0 in the Sun Belt Conference. Recently in the rankings, FIU has bounced from being ranked 55th, 38th to its current 45 spot.

Bulldog Facts... Fresno State enters this weekend competition 11-6 and 0-0 in the Western Athletic Conference. Recently the Bulldogs defeated WCC competitor San Diego 5-2. Fresno State also defeated Long Beach State 5-2 on March 31st.

Sanchez Hits 400... In his 30th year of coaching women's tennis, Jamie Sanchez reached the 400 career victory mark. 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 23 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 (39th), Florida International (45th), and Fresno State (21st).

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.