April 10, 2007
Loyola Marymount women's tennis (10-9, 3-2) will play their final regular season matches on the week as they travel to No. 12 Fresno State on Saturday, April 14 and then head to Cal State Northridge on Monday, April 16. The Lions will then head to the West Coast Conference championships the following weekend in Malibu, Calif., April 21-23. The Lions moved up three spots in the rankings this past week to No. 65 as they hit the final stretch of the 2007 season.
After being out of FILA Collegiate Tennis Rankings administered by the ITA for over a month, the Lions returned for back-to-back weeks, ranking No. 65 in the April 10th poll. In addition, Pavla Mesterova remains at her highest in-season ranking of her career at #53 thanks to her eight-match win streak. Mesterova's highest ranking ever was at #51 in the preseason ranking in September of 2006.
Against This Week's Opponents
The Lions will two games this week, starting with 12th-ranked Fresno State at 10 a.m. on Saturday. Fresno State is 13-3 entering the week and features a pair of ranked singles players in No. 2 Melanie Gloria and No. 41 Renata Kucerkova. They also feature a pair of ranked doubles teams in the team of Rowe and Gloria at No. 26 and Kucerkova and Petukhova at No. 39. Fresno State has won three straight matches, including wins over No. 54 Sacramento State, No. 34 UC Irvine and No. 30 Colorado. As for Cal State Northridge, they are 9-5 on the season, winning their last four matches. Last year the Lions defeated CSUN 4-3 and fell to Fresno State 6-1.
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 22 of their last 26 matches. In addition, the pair combine for the Lions' top duo at No. 1 doubles. Mesterova is 24-5 on the season and has won eight straight and 15 of her last 16 matches, going 16-2 at No. 1 singles this season. Mesterova was named the WCC Player of the Month for March, going 10-1, winning her last six matches to close the month. She only lost three sets the entire month and got back into the national rankings, peaking at No. 56. Three of her wins came against conference opponents and five more against teams that were ranked in the top-75 nationally. Her only loss came to the 13th ranked player in the country from second-ranked Cal. Baker has won her last eight of her last 10 matches, including a win over the No. 16 players in the nation. She is 13-8 overall and 12-6 in No. 2 singles action. In doubles, they are 11-4 this season overall and 11-2 at No. 1 doubles in dual matches.
Last Time Out
For the 10th time this season the Loyola Marymount women's tennis team had yet another match decided by one point, falling in another heartbreaker, this time to 37th-ranked UC Irvine at the Anteater Tennis Center Thursday afternoon. The Lions, playing in her second straight match after defeating Hawaii 7-0 Wednesday, falls to 10-9 on the season while UCI goes to 18-3. The Lions fall to 5-5 in matches that are decided by one point as yet another match went down to the end. LMU earned another doubles point as both No.1 and No. 2 doubles claimed wins. Pavla Mesterova and Robyn Baker won for the fifth straight match and improved to 11-2 at No. 1 doubles with a 9-7 win to earn the doubles point. Serena Fermin and Tamara Tanner earned an 8-5 win at No. 2 doubles. They improved to 7-5 at No. 2 doubles on the season. Mestervova continued her hot streak as the 53rd-ranked player in the nation won her eighth straight at No. 1 singles 6-2, 6-0. She improves her record on the season to 24-5 and has now won 15 of her last 16. Her win gave the Lions a 2-1 lead in the overall match. The Anteaters won the next three points to take the match. Robyn Baker made the match 4-3 when she won a pro-set tiebreaker in the third, 6-4, 2-6, 1-0. She improves to 13-8 on the year and 12-6 at No. 2 singles.
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 417-374 heading into the match against Hawaii. 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.