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<b>RELIVE THE CUP</b>: Second Place Finish at WCCs Caps Anniversary Season

Aug. 8, 2006

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PART 13 - WCC COMMISSIONER'S CUP SERIES: Lion fans can relieve the 2005-06 West Coast Conference Commissioner's Cup all summer on www.LMULions.com as we look back on cup-clinching moments each week. In this 13th installment, we look at a team that returned to the WCC Championships for the third time in six years: women's tennis.

Loyola Marymount women's tennis made its 30th season a memorable one.The Lions finished the year ranked 65th in the nation as a team after a secondplace finish in the competitive West Coast Conference. Two Lions finishedamong the national rankings individually, and Head Coach Jamie Sanchezwas named the WCC's Co-Coach of the Year.

LMU entered the annual WCC Championships as the 67th-ranked team inthe nation, seeking its second title in five seasons. LMU has never beenseeded lower than three and has never finished lower than fourth at theWCC Championships. Earning the conference's third seed for the third straightseason, the Lions opened the championships against the sixth-seeded andhost Santa Clara Broncos. The Lions topped the Broncos, who had beennationally ranked earlier in the season, 4-1 to advance to the semifinals.There, the Lions faced second-seed and 56th-ranked San Diego. LMU avengedits regular season loss to the Toreros with a 4-2 win that eliminated USD andsent the third-seeded Lions to the WCC Finals. LMU took home secondplace in the WCC after a tough 4-0 loss to then-13th-ranked Pepperdine.

Following the second place finish in conference, LMU completed the seasonranked 65th in the national team rankings. Sophomore standout PavlaMesterova finished ranked 72nd in the nation in singles, while Mesterovaand partner Robyn Baker earned a final national ranking of 52nd. In thewest regional rankings, Mesterova came in 18th, while the doubles pairearned the 11th spot. As a team, the Lions finished as the 11-rank in theWest.

When the WCC released its list of 2006 all-conference honorees, the Lionswere all over it. Every player in Loyola Marymount's six-woman lineupreceived conference recognition in either singles or doubles. In the 30thseason of women's tennis at LMU, Head Coach Jamie Sanchez has been atthe helm of the program since its inception. For his efforts this season, hewas named WCC Co-Coach of the Year. He shared the honor withPepperdine's Gualberto Escudero. Pavla Mesterova was a first-team All-WCC selection after finishing the 2005-06 season 25-10 overall in singles. Indoubles, Mesterova and teammate Robyn Baker earned the first-team All-WCC selection after some big wins throughout the season. At the WCCChampionships, the duo topped the 36th-ranked doubles team from SanDiego to help the Lions advance to the title match. Earlier in the season,Mesterova and Baker defeated Fresno State's then-sixth ranked double team8-4. Baker also earned second-team All-WCC honors in singles, while teamcaptain Patrycia Hubl and freshmen Sladjana Kos and Maja Sundac receivedhonorable mention recognition. Hubl and teammate Erin Ivey were namedsecond-team All-WCC in doubles, while the duo of Kos and Sundac receivedthe honorable mention nod. The 2006 season marked the first timeWCC coaches voted on second-team selections.

In his 30th year of coaching women's tennis, Jamie Sanchez reachedthe 400 career victory mark. Win number 400 came March 24 againstCornell at the LMU Tennis Center. The 400 career wins make him justthe second coach in the history of WCC tennis to reach the milestone.The only other WCC coach to reach this mark is Pepperdine's currentHead Coach Gualberto Escudero. It also makes Sanchez one of twocoaches in LMU history to reach the 400-mark. The other is currentLMU softball coach Gary Ferrin, who earned his 400th career victoryearlier in March in the Lions' home opener at the new Smith Field.

Lion fans kept their eyes on sophomore standout Pavla Mesterova allseason, as she was on pace to be among LMU's all-time leaders insingle-season victories. She finished the year 25-10 overall in singles,tying her for ninth all-time. Completing the campaign ranked 72nd inthe nation in singles and 52nd in doubles, Mesterova was also namedLMU Co-Female Athlete of the Year and LMU Newcomer of theYear, as she transfered from Texas-Arlington in the fall. She was a 2006All-WCC first-team selection as well. She receivedWCC Player of the Month honors for February after notching anundefeated 9-0 mark in dual match play.

The doubles tandem of Pavla Mesterova and Robyn Baker registeredan impressive win against Fresno State on April 9, posting a 8-4 victoryat the No. 1 doubles spot against the then-6th-ranked Bulldog duo ofLucia Sainz and Katharina Winterhalter.

At the Saint Mary's Invitational in October, Pavla Mesterova earnedboth the singles and doubles titles. Mesterova defeated Bojan Bobusicof 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 topseed of Bobusic and Licinkas of Cal 9-8 (7-4).

The Lions faced a tough regular season schedule again this season. 14teams that LMU faced finished in the national rankings along with theLions. This includes three top-20 programs including Pepperdine, UCLA,and Fresno State.

2006 will see the Lions celebrate 30 years of women's tennis atLMU. Head Coach Jamie Sanchez, who began the women's tennis program30 years ago for the Lions, is spearheading the commemorative year. Duringthe annual alumnae day in January, a committee met to begin the planningfor the celebration to be held September 29-October 1. Alumnae involvedon the planning committee include co-chairwomen Julie Hladik Reid '02and Amy Okum Garrity '93, Peggy Reilly '80, Lia Bunker Green '98, AmyLabetich Lane '99, and Erin Sanchez '05. Other alumnae who returned forthe festivities included Michelle Rizza '80, Sue Wise '81, and Theresa HoldenIlgunas '80.