September 27, 2012

Women's Tennis Kicks Off Season With Four Seniors Setting High Goals

Click here to find Cal Invitational Results

Click here for Riviera/ITA Women's All-American Championships 

SANTA CLARA, Calif. – The Santa Clara University women's tennis team has begun preparing for another great season after the Broncos tied for third at the West Coast Conference (WCC) Championship in 2012.  The team will play its first tournament at the Cal Invitational on Sept. 28 -30 while a number of players will be participating at the ITA All-American Championship Qualifying in Los Angeles Sept. 29 - Oct. 7 as well.

The Broncos started practice on Sept. 13 and in addition to a lot of time on the courts, they are staying on top of their strength and conditioning with coach Sherman Trigg

"The team is really ready to go. I have been happy with how we started. They came back prepared," said Bronco head coach Ben Cabell, who returns to his sixth year as a head coach. "They all came back ready to go and they are looking forward to playing in the tournaments this fall to get ready for the season in spring. We have set high goals this year based on what we did the last couple of years."
The Broncos will have a strong team this season as they have four returning seniors in Maggie McGeorge, Alex Zaniewski, Kelly Lamble and Jessica Agra (featured in the photo to the right). 
Playing No. 1 for the Broncos, junior Katie Le, who was named the 2012 WCC Player of the Year and was ranked No. 41 in the ITA's pre-season poll this month.  In 2012 Le was also named to the All-WCC First Team in singles, to the WCC All-Academic Team and a First-Team All District Academic All-American. 

"We would like to make the NCAA tournament and compete for the conference championship this season and we feel we have the right combination with a strong senior class," said Cabell.  "We think we can do that. We have gotten better every year and we have gotten close to it every year. I think this team is ready. We have all the pieces. They want it and they are ready to do it."

The players have been training over summer and Le had a great experience playing in a professional tournament. It is a great accomplishment for Le who now holds both an NCAA ranking and a WTA world ranking of No. 872.

"Katie played her first professional-level tournament and did incredibly well," said Cabell. "She won two rounds of qualifying and also won two rounds including against the No. 2 seed of the main draw. Her opponent was ranked No. 188 in the world and Katie won, which is really impressive for her. She loved the experience. It was a great confidence builder for her."

"I honestly believe that based on what she has been able to do she can compete for an NCAA title. She is one of 10-20 people nationally that can win it.  She is playing really well," said Cabell.  "First, she will have to stay healthy and do well at the All-American Tournament in Los Angeles.  Second, she will have to do what she has done the last couple of years and continue to beat top players throughout the season to get back to the NCAAs." 

Agra and Le have been selected to play in the All-Americans in doubles. Agra earned All-WCC First Team honors in 2012 at the No. 1 doubles spot with her partner Katie Le.  Lamble and McGeorge will also play in the qualifying rounds of the ITA All-Americans.

Cabell is also expecting McGeorge and Zaniewski will have strong seasons as they are injury-free. McGeorge was only able to play the first half of the season in 2011-12 due to an injury and Zaniewski was also injured at the end of the season.

"We are excited Maggie and Alex are healthy," said Cabell. "It has been our top priority and is the most important thing to me because they are both seniors. We want them to have their best season."

Lamble is returning as one of the captains along with McGeorge. "Both of them will do really well in that role and will provide excellent leadership for the team," said Cabell.

Sophomore Stephanie Skaras posted a 7-3 dual singles record at the No. 5 and 6 spots last season and competed at the No. 3 doubles position posting a 5-7 doubles record with her partner.

The Broncos will add freshman Chelby Cooke to the roster as the only addition for the 2012-13 season. Cooke graduated from Bakersfield Christian High School in Bakersfield, Calif.

Go Broncos!