SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The Santa Clara women's tennis team had quite the standout season this year, finishing with a 14-7 overall record, and a fourth-place finish in the West Coast Conference. More recently, all four freshmen on the team were recognized by the WCC for their accomplishments this season.
"I'm really happy with how this year turned out, especially since we are such a young team," said Bronco head coach Ben Cabell. "I'm very proud of the team and I'm also very proud of the direction that our program is going. We're only going to get better as the years continue."
By the mid-point of the season, Santa Clara's 7-3 record (including two major wins over UC Santa Barbara and Loyola Marymount) proved to the tennis world that this was not the same team that finished seventh place in the WCC last season.
The Broncos would go on to win seven matches in a row from Mar. 1 to Apr. 1 before falling to Idaho on Apr. 2 but not before the team would receive a No. 74 national ranking on Mar. 23 for the second time in school history.
"The day we found out about the national ranking was huge," said sophomore captain Kacie Wagner. "We're very proud of it because it's solid recognition for our hard work."
Although Santa Clara fell out of the rankings the next week, the team continued to rack up wins during the rest of the season to finish with a 14-7 regular season record and 4-2 record in the WCC. With such a strong WCC record, the Broncos received the fourth seed for the WCC tournament, which was one of the team's goals for the year.
"Our pre-tournament standing in the conference is huge, so it was really important to us to get a seed in the top half of the conference," said Cabell.
Santa Clara started the WCC tournament on the right foot with a big 4-2 win over No. 5 seed (and local rival) San Francisco on the first day of the tournament to guarantee a top-four finish in the conference. "We knew that it was going to be a close match but the girls played fantastic today," said Cabell after the win.
Although the Broncos lost to eventual WCC Champions Saint Mary's and runner-up San Diego to end the tournament with a fourth place finish, the team is still very proud of their accomplishment, especially in such a competitive conference. "The WCC is definitely getting stronger," said Cabell. "There have been a few other teams that have been in the national rankings and the level of play has been pretty impressive all around."
The Broncos' fourth place finish is the highest WCC tournament finish that the team has had since 2004, which is quite a feat for such a young team.
The impressive performances by the young members on the team did not go unnoticed by the WCC, with all four freshmen receiving post-season honors. Alex Zaniewski was named to the All-WCC Second Team for singles play, and also received an Honorable Mention with her doubles partner, Jessica Agra. Kelly Lamble received an Honorable Mention for her singles performance and was also recognized with an Honorable Mention in doubles with her partner Maggie McGeorge.
With such a great season under their belts, it appears that the Broncos will only continue to improve. "We have a tough schedule next year, but having such a young team do so well during their first year together is huge for us as a team," said Cabell. "We've got a lot to look forward to."