April 11, 2006
Santa Clara, Calif. - Tuning up for next week's West Coast Conference Championships at the Degheri Tennis Center, the Santa Clara women's tennis team will compete against two nationally ranked programs this Friday and Saturday. UC Santa Cruz, ranked No. 16 in the latest Division III polls, will travel to the Mission Campus to make up a match with Santa Clara (6-9) that was postponed earlier in the month due to weather conditions, while No. 24 Fresno State will host Santa Clara the following day. Game times are slated for 2 p.m. and 9 a.m., respectively. The contest against the Banana Slugs will also be the Broncos final home match of the season, although they will be hosting the conference tournament the following weekend.
UC Santa Cruz enters Friday's showdown with Santa Clara sporting an overall record of 5-4. Junior Angelizen Zabala occupies the top spot for UC Santa Cruz, though a trio of sophomores makes up the bulk of the singles line-up. Megan Sweeney, Jessica Ruth, and Majorie Youn have all contributed in their second year at the collegiate level. Dave Muldawer is in his eighth season as the head coach of the Banana Slugs women's program.
"This is a team that is a Division III powerhouse. We are excited about this match and are entering it prepared and ready to play," said head coach Damon Coupe. "If we can stay aggressive and get on top of them early, I think we will be fine."
Last weekend, Fresno State took out West Coast Conference member Loyola Marymount 6-1 to improve its overall record to 14-6 on the year. Leading the way in singles is freshman Melanie Gloria, who currently checks in at No. 21 on the ITA Top-125 Singles Poll. Senior Katharina Winterhalter is also ranked among the country's top singles players, topping out at No. 96 according to the latest polls. Senior Lucia Sainz is an experienced player who brings depth to the line-up and together with Winterhalter, forms the sixth-best doubles team in the nation. Gloria teams up with Jacqui Haskett in doubles play and they are ranked No. 51 heading into Saturday's match.
"They are ranked No. 24 in the country and are extremely deep. They play tremendous doubles. We need to come into this match without thinking about who they are and focus on being relaxed and allow ourselves to get into our game plan," stated Coupe.