May 9, 2007
Moraga, CA -- The No. 55 Saint Mary's women's tennis team is coming off of perhaps the most successful season in program history. The squad finished the season as the second place team in the West Coast Conference. The Gaels had a 17-4 record on the season and a 10-2 mark against conference opponents. The Gaels closed the season by earning eight conference honors. Head Coach Lisa Alipaz was named the WCC Coach of the Year after the team's success this season.
Saint Mary's jumped right out of the gate to start the season. The Gaels won their first 10 matches of the season. This is the best start for the women's tennis program.
"It's not so much how many matches we won, or winning the first 10" said Head Coach Lisa Alipaz, "It was the way in which be showed up for every match this season. We took care of business in all the matches we were supposed to win. It's not easy for a team to avoid slipping up and dropping a match they should win. It really shows the character of our girls and how they looked forward to every match."
The Gaels dropped their first match of the season against No. 40 Penn in a close 4-3 match. After this loss the team responded by winning their next four matches, including a 4-2 victory over ranked Nevada.
Saint Mary's would drop just three more competitions all season to top 40 teams, including two to No. 19 Pepperdine.
The Gaels had a very impressive showing at the WCC Championship Tournament. The Gaels earned a No. 2 seed going into the event. They opened the WCCs by blanking rival Santa Clara for the third time this season. On the second day of competition the Gaels were set to face LMU. The Gaels dropped the doubles point to the Lions. After the Gaels dropped the doubles point, they caught fire. They won four straight singles matches to win the competition by a score of 4-1.
"That was an unbelievable match" said Alipaz. "The way the girls played after the doubles point was amazing. That was the most dominate I have seen us play as a team. Every time we shot we went for the win. It was a great match to watch the girls play."
After defeating LMU the Gaels earned a spot in the championship match. In the championship match they fell in a close competition to No. 19 Pepperdine. The Gaels had earned the second spot in conference, their highest finish in program history.
The Gaels finished the season with an ITA Ranking of No. 55. This is the highest ranking that the program has been given in program history.
"We competed great all year" said Senior Aude Lambert. Lambert, who was named to the All-WCC First Team for Singles and Doubles, spoke about where the team is at. "We had a strong season, from beginning to start. I'm really excited for the girls next season. We were a young team this year and I have no doubt that they will start next season right where this one left off."
Help leading next years team will be Marah Calvo. Calvo came to Saint Mary's this season as a transfer from Indiana. Calvo made an immediate impression on the Gaels as she won 15 straight singles matches. Calvo's winning streaks was among the longest in the nation. She would finish the season with a 19-2 singles record. She was named to the All-WCC Second Team for Singles. Calvo had a 14-2 doubles record on the season.
"The support I got from the coaches and the team was a big part of my season" said Calvo. "With my team behind me it was easy to just go out and play tennis. I can't wait for the team to get out there next season."
The continuing theme of the women's tennis team is excitement for next season. "We really came together as a team this season" said Junior Stef Ordoveza. "I can only see us moving up from here."
Saint Mary's will begin next season in the fall of 2007. The Gaels will look to compete to earn the top spot in the WCC as well as a spot in the NCAA Tournament.