March 7, 2006
Santa Clara, Calif. - The Rivalry Series continues this week with points in women's tennis up for grabs and Santa Clara is determined to add those three points to the collective total. The Rivalry Series is a year long competition among Santa Clara and San Jose State's 13 varsity sports and this Thursday, the Broncos will get their shot at the Spartans. Game time is set for 2 p.m. at the Los Gatos Swim & Racquet Club. Two days later, Santa Clara travels down to Los Angeles, Calif. to take on No. 60 Loyola Marymont in a key West Coast Conference match-up. Match time is set for 10 a.m.
The Spartans enter Thursday showdown sporting an overall record of 3-3 after beating Sonoma State 6-1 on February 15. Junior Courtney Koenigsfeld occupies the top spot of the singles ladder, but is also helped in the line-up by a trio of underclassmen: sophomore Ashley Tavita and freshmen Amber Silverstone and Silvana Dukic. Elke Harms is the lone senior in the starting line-up and her experience is a valuable tool for her teammates to draw upon. Ahn-Dao Nguyen is in her 14th season as the head coach of San Jose State and carries with her an overall record of 116-179 at San Jose State.
"We know San Jose State is going to come out and play hard. They have some talented players that are crafty and tough to play. For us, we are taking each match with our full focus looking to get back on the winning track," noted head coach Damon Coupe. "It's always nice to get a win for the Rivalry Series. This year, we are not thinking as much about that as just playing hard and smart to get the victory."
With four teams ranked in the ITA Top 100 Poll, the WCC has asserted itself as one of the top conferences in the country. No. 17 Pepperdine leads the way, followed by San Diego (No. 44), Saint Mary's (No. 56), and Loyola Marymount (No. 60). This Saturday, the Broncos will attempt to upset the Lions, who enter the match with a 5-5 record in 2006. Led by WCC Player of the Month Pavla Mesterova, Loyola Marymount is a deep team in both singles and doubles. Mesterova went 9-0 at the No. 1 spot to garner the league's monthly honor and she has support from three upperclassmen: Robyn Baker, Patrycia Hubl, and Erin Ivey. Freshmen Sladiana Kos and Maja Sundac have made an impact in the starting line-up this year as well. Jamie Sanchez is in his 32nd year as the head coach of the Lions and has posted an overall record of 394-348.
"We are excited to play LMU because we know it's going to be a tough high quality match. We had a great match with them last year and I expect the same this year," said Coupe. "They are really strong and aggressive in doubles. They fight hard but, if we compete well we feel confident about our chances."