Aug. 8, 2006
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 second place finish in the competitive West Coast Conference. Two Lions finished among the national rankings individually, and Head Coach Jamie Sanchez was named the WCC's Co-Coach of the Year.
THE WCC CHAMPIONSHIPS
LMU entered the annual WCC Championships as the 67th-ranked team in the nation, seeking its second title in five seasons. LMU has never been seeded lower than three and has never finished lower than fourth at the WCC Championships. Earning the conference's third seed for the third straight season, the Lions opened the championships against the sixth-seeded and host Santa Clara Broncos. The Lions topped the Broncos, who had been nationally ranked earlier in the season, 4-1 to advance to the semifinals. There, the Lions faced second-seed and 56th-ranked San Diego. LMU avenged its regular season loss to the Toreros with a 4-2 win that eliminated USD and sent the third-seeded Lions to the WCC Finals. LMU took home second place in the WCC after a tough 4-0 loss to then-13th-ranked Pepperdine.
LMU, MESTEROVA, BAKER EARN NATIONAL RANKINGS
Following the second place finish in conference, LMU completed the season ranked 65th in the national team rankings. Sophomore standout Pavla Mesterova finished ranked 72nd in the nation in singles, while Mesterova and partner Robyn Baker earned a final national ranking of 52nd. In the west regional rankings, Mesterova came in 18th, while the doubles pair earned the 11th spot. As a team, the Lions finished as the 11-rank in the West.
LMU WELL-REPRESENTED IN ALL-WCC SELECTIONS
When the WCC released its list of 2006 all-conference honorees, the Lions were all over it. Every player in Loyola Marymount's six-woman lineup received conference recognition in either singles or doubles. In the 30th season of women's tennis at LMU, Head Coach Jamie Sanchez has been at the helm of the program since its inception. For his efforts this season, he was named WCC Co-Coach of the Year. He shared the honor with Pepperdine's Gualberto Escudero. Pavla Mesterova was a first-team All- WCC selection after finishing the 2005-06 season 25-10 overall in singles. In doubles, Mesterova and teammate Robyn Baker earned the first-team All- WCC selection after some big wins throughout the season. At the WCC Championships, the duo topped the 36th-ranked doubles team from San Diego to help the Lions advance to the title match. Earlier in the season, Mesterova and Baker defeated Fresno State's then-sixth ranked double team 8-4. Baker also earned second-team All-WCC honors in singles, while team captain Patrycia Hubl and freshmen Sladjana Kos and Maja Sundac received honorable mention recognition. Hubl and teammate Erin Ivey were named second-team All-WCC in doubles, while the duo of Kos and Sundac received the honorable mention nod. The 2006 season marked the first time WCC coaches voted on second-team selections.
SANCHEZ REACHES 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 WCC tennis to reach the milestone. The only other WCC coach to reach this mark is Pepperdine's current 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.
THE PAVLA WATCH
Lion fans kept their eyes on sophomore standout Pavla Mesterova all season, as she was on pace to be among LMU's all-time leaders in single-season victories. She finished the year 25-10 overall in singles, tying her for ninth all-time. Completing the campaign ranked 72nd in the nation in singles and 52nd in doubles, Mesterova was also named LMU Co-Female Athlete of the Year and LMU Newcomer of the Year, as she transfered from Texas-Arlington in the fall. She was a 2006 All-WCC first-team selection as well. She received WCC Player of the Month honors for February after notching an undefeated 9-0 mark in dual match play.
BIG DOUBLES WIN
The doubles tandem of Pavla Mesterova and Robyn Baker registered an impressive win against Fresno State on April 9, posting a 8-4 victory at the No. 1 doubles spot against the then-6th-ranked Bulldog duo of Lucia Sainz and Katharina Winterhalter.
MESTEROVA A BIG WINNER AT SMC FALL INVITE
At the Saint Mary's Invitational in October, Pavla 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).
The Lions faced a tough regular season schedule again this season. 14 teams that LMU faced finished in the national rankings along with the Lions. This includes three top-20 programs including Pepperdine, UCLA, and Fresno State.
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 in January, a committee met to begin the planning for the celebration to be held September 29-October 1. 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.