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Third-Seeded Lions Open WCC Championships With Broncos

April 20, 2006

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Briefly - 67th-ranked Loyola Marymount women's tennis will seek its second title in five seasons this weekend at the West Coast Conference Championships. Earning the conference's third seed for the third straight season, the Lions will open the championships Friday at 3:00 p.m. against the sixth-seeded and host Santa Clara Broncos.

WCC First Round Action Women's tennis will be one of three LMU teams to face Santa Clara at 3:00 p.m. this Friday, as men's tennis and baseball will also take on the Broncos. The 67th-ranked Lions enter the match 10-13 overall and 1-2 in WCC play, while the Broncos sit at 6-11 and 2-3. LMU returned to the national rankings this week after a win over 44th-ranked Oregon. Santa Clara last cracked into the national spotlight as the 75th rank in March of 2005. The winner of Friday's first round match will take on the winner of second-seeded San Diego and seventh-seeded Portland Saturday at 3:00 p.m. in the semifinals.

LMU and the WCC Championships For LMU, 2006 marks the third straight year the Lions have earned the championship's third seed. LMU has never been seeded lower than three and has never finished lower than fourth at the WCC Championships.

Last Year at the WCCs Third-seeded Loyola Marymount women's tennis defeated fifth-seeded Saint Mary's in the battle for third place at the 2005 West Coast Conference Championships. The Lions came back after a doubles point loss to win five of the six singles matches to claim the 4-2 win. Then-senior Carla Arguelles was named first-team All-WCC in singles for the second straight season following the Championships.

LMU, Mesterova Earn National Rankings The Loyola Marymount women's tennis team is now ranked 67th in the nation after defeating 44th-ranked Oregon last week at the LMU Tennis Center. Sophomore Pavla Mesterova earned the team's first individual singles ranking of 2006 this week as well. LMU sits as the nation's 67th-best team, while Mesterova earned the 76th singles ranking. The Lions were last ranked 75th during the week of March 14th after topping Boston College.

The Pavla Watch 76th-ranked Pavla Mesterova has been the Lions' number one singles player all year. She has an overall record of 24-10 in singles action and has captured wins over six ranked singles players. Mesterova has also gained wins over players on six ranked teams, including now-top-30 teams Long Beach State, Oregon, and San Diego State. She received WCC Player of the Month honors for February after notching an undefeated 9-0 mark in dual match play. At the Saint Mary's Invitational earlier in the season, Mesterova earned both the singles and doubles titles. Mesterova defeated Bojan Bobusic of sixth-ranked Cal 6-2, 6-3 to claim the singles title. In doubles play Mesterova teamed with Tamara Tanner to defeat the tournament's top seed of Bobusic and Licinkas of Cal 9-8 (7-4).

Big Doubles Win The doubles tandem of Pavla Mesterova and Robyn Baker registered an impressive winagainst Fresno State on April 9, posting a 8-4 win at the No. 1 doubles spot againstthe then-6th-ranked Bulldog duo of Lucia Sainz and Katharina Winterhalter.

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.

Schedule Strength... The Lions faced a tough regular season schedule again this season, with 14 opponents ranked in the ITA team rankings. The Lions battled UCLA (12th), SDSU (52nd), Long Beach State (47th), UC Irvine (68th), Boston College (63rd), Boise State (75th) Nebraska (42nd), Washington State (71st), Pepperdine (eighth), San Diego (47th), Florida International (45th), Fresno State (21st), and Oregon (44th).

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.