Feb. 7, 2006
Santa Clara, Calif. - After suffering a disappointing loss to No. 69 UC Santa Barbara last Saturday, the Santa Clara women's tennis team is on a mission. Despite the seemingly lopsided 5-1 defeat, three of the contests went to three sets, with the Gauchos pulling out the victories. The Broncos were upset in their performance against their nationally-ranked rivals, but a tough road trip has forced them to put it behind them. Head coach Damon Coupe expects his squad to bounce back when they travel to Washington to take on Washington State on Friday and West Coast Conference foe Gonzaga the following day. Game times are set for 2 p.m. and noon, respectively.
"After the tough loss to UC Santa Barbara, I expect our team to respond fiercely. We had a little gut check playing a ranked team that was beatable," said Coupe.
The Cougars enter Friday's showdown with the Broncos with a record of 3-2 after splitting two matches last week. Washington State blanked in-state rival Gonzaga 7-0, though dropped a close 4-3 decision to No. 41 Colorado the following day. Leading the way for WSU will be a pair of ranked players in sophomore Ekaterina Burdelli (No. 59) and junior Marjolein van de Ven (No. 81). In addition, junior Amy Toth and freshmen Maria Ring and Aleksandra Cekic give Washington State depth in the singles and doubles line-up. Head coach Lisa Hart is in her third year at the helm of the program.
"Washington State is a team that should be ranked and is very good. We had a tough battle with them last year and I expect the same this year," stated Coupe. "They have a tough No. 1 who is ranked very high nationally and they also have some big hitters down the line-up."
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Gonzaga is currently 0-5 in 2006, having lost to No. 41 Colorado (7-0) and Washington State (7-0) last weekend. The Bulldogs are a young squad, with underclassmen dominating the line-up. Sophomores Emily Anderson, Erin Humphrey and Erica Moldenhauer and freshmen Katie Colton, Courtney Lau, and Carrie Schofield will compete for spots in the singles line-up, along with junior Allie Hause. D.J. Gurule is in his second season as the head coach of the women's tennis program.
"Gonzaga is improving at a rapid rate. They compete hard and playing them indoors will give them an advantage," commented Coupe. "Being a conference team, there is going to be some added pressure. We will definitely have to earn a victory from them."