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LOOKING BACK: Third Place and Near Miss

July 30, 2007

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Loyola Marymount women's tennis (11-12, 4-3) finished the 2007 West Coast Conference Women's Tennis Championships in a tie for third with San Diego after rain dominated the tournament and halted the match. The Lions ranked 62nd in the final FILA Collegiate Tennis Rankings administered by ITA. The Lions spent most of the 2006-07 season in the weekly rankings, topping out as high as 58th.

The WCC Championships
For the 22nd time the Lions finished the WCC Championships in the top half, never finishing lower than fourth since the championship began in 1986. The Lions have now finished third or better for 20 consecutive seasons. They began the tournament with a 4-2 win over Portland in the opening round and then had to turn around several hours later to face No. 2 seed Saint Mary's. The Lions fell 4-1 after winning the doubles points. The match in the third place game between LMU and San Diego was halted due to the rain.

ITA Rankings/Player of the Year
The Loyola Marymount University women's tennis team finished the 2007 campaign tied for third in the West Coast Conference and ranked 62nd in the final FILA Collegiate Tennis Rankings administered by ITA. In addition, junior Pavla Mesterova finished the season ranked 60th as an individual as she earned the WCC's Player of the Year honor. She was named one of four alternates for the NCAA Individual Championship but did not make the final draw. Mesterova finished the season with a 27-6 record, going 19-3 in dual matches at No. 1 singles. The 27 wins ranks fifth all-time in LMU history for victories in a single season while her .818 winning percentage is the best in program history. In two seasons at LMU, Mesterova has a career record of 52-16. She needs 11 more wins to crack the top-10 for career victories and her career winning percentage of .764 is tops in program history.

One-Two Punch
Pavla Mesterova and Robyn Baker solidified the top of the Lions line-up this season, providing a potent one-two punch. Mesterova went 27-6 on the season and won 18 of her last 20 matches, going 19-3 at No. 1 singles this season. The 27 wins ranks her tied for fifth in LMU history and her 81.8 winning percentage is the best ever in program history. She now has 52-16 record in two seasons at LMU. Her 76.5 career winning percentage is also ranked the best ever at LMU. Baker has a win over the No. 16 players in the nation. She finishes her career with a 14-11 overall and 13-9 in No. 2 singles action. In doubles, they are 11-6 this season overall and 11-4 at No. 1 doubles in dual matches.

Record Setter
The NCAA Division I Women's Tennis Subcommittee selected Pavla Mesterova as the third alternate for the singles competition. Invitations were issued to the top 64 singles players and an additional eight alternates. If any of the original 64 players decline to participate, then the alternates are moved into the field of 64. Once the 64 spots have been filled, the draw for the tournament will be determined and released by the NCAA the week prior to the championship. Mesterova was the first Lion to earn an invitation but did not compete as they only used two alternates.

Joining Mesterova as All-WCC first-team in doubles was teammate and senior Robyn Baker. Baker and Mesterova went 13-6 on the season, going 13-4 at No. 1 doubles. They earned the All-WCC honor together a year ago. In addition to her doubles honor, Baker earned second-team All-WCC honors, posting a 14-10 record overall and 13-8 in dual match play at No. 2 singles. Baker's season was highlighted by a win over the 16th ranked player in the nation. Freshman Elrien de Villiers opened her collegiate career going 12-11 overall and earned honorable mention All-WCC honors. Joining her as an honorable mention selection was the doubles team of Serena Fermin and Tamara Tanner.

Head Coach
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 418-378. In 2002, Sanchez guided the Lions to their first ever WCC Championship with a 4-2 win over Pepperdine. Sanchez and the Lions advanced to the NCAA playoffs as a team for the first time in program history. He was named the WCC Coach of the Year for the second straight year in 2002 and in 2006 he earned his third honor.