April 20, 2006
San Bruno, Calif. - The journey into the NCAA Tournament begins this weekend, as the West Coast Conference Women's Tennis Championships will open up play Friday morning. The winner of the three-day tournament receives an automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament. Host Santa Clara received the sixth seed and will face third-seeded Loyola Marymount at 3 p.m. on the courts of the Degheri Tennis Center. Pepperdine, ranked No. 6 in the country, was given the top seed, followed by San Diego (No. 2), San Francisco (No. 4), Saint Mary's (No. 5), Portland (No. 7) and Gonzaga (No. 8).
Juniors Kelly Leathers and Casey Knutson have been the anchors of the Broncos line-up, as Leathers has occupied the No. 1 position for much of the season, while Knutson has provided depth for head coach Damon Coupe, playing anywhere from the No. 2 to No. 5 spot. Freshman Stephanie Galainena has been a big addition to the SCU line-up, as her all-court game has earned her a spot in the upper half of the singles ladder.
No. 67 Loyola Marymount currently sports an overall record of 10-13, with its latest outing being a 4-3 victory over visiting Cal State Northridge. Pavla Mesterova, who was named the February WCC Player of the Month after going 9-0, leads the Lions attack and boasts an overall record of 25-10. She is the only ranked player on the LMU squad, checking in at No. 76 according to the latest ITA Top-125 Poll. Supporting the talented sophomore are 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 404-361.
"Loyola is playing extremely tough, after recently beating the University of Oregon. Their line-up is really strong at the top," stated Coupe. "We are playing well and I am confident it will be a hard-fought match."
West Coast Conference Championships Schedule - Day 1
Santa Clara, Calif.
No. 1 Pepperdine vs. No. 8 Gonzaga, 9 a.m.
No. 4 San Francisco vs. No. 5 Saint Mary's, 11 a.m.
No. 2 San Diego vs. No. 7 Portland, 1 p.m.
No. 3 Loyola Marymount vs. No. 6 Santa Clara, 3 p.m.