Santa Clara, Calif.— The Broncos open up the 2013 spring season with the Cal Winter Invite on Fri., Jan. 18 in Berkeley, Calif. They then return to the Degheri Tennis Center to host their first home match on Sat., Jan. 26th at 12 p.m. against UC Santa Cruz.
The Broncos are coming off of their highest national ranking in program history last season, reaching No. 51 by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association. After competing and finding success in four preseason tournaments in fall 2012, the squad is still working towards a national ranking for the 2013 spring season. With two new freshmen added and a junior coming back from a semester abroad, the Broncos are continuing to prepare for an intense spring schedule.
"Right now in this point of the season, we are just trying to get ourselves in match shape and to do so we need to play a lot of matches," said Bronco head coach Ben Cabell. "That is why we are starting the season off with multiple tough matches in a row at the Cal Invite in Berkeley over the three-day weekend. It does not matter who we are playing—Cal, Fresno State, or Saint Mary's—we are going to get a bunch of good matches. So our focus this early in the season is to get the girls ready to compete."
Everyone's eyes will be on Milipitas, Calif. native Katie Le with her No. 26 national singles ranking and other remarkable preseason feats. The junior was not only named the WCC Player of the Month for November, but she also was selected to compete in the Intercollegiate Association's Indoor Championships where she knocked off then-No. 26 Zoe Dubrucker of North Carolina in the first round but fell to then-No. 35 Hanna Mar of Duke in the second round.
Le continues to rack up the accolades off the Mission campus as well. Over the summer, she upset the then-No. 188 player in the world at the USTA Oak River Rehab Challenger—Le's first ever professional tournament. But now all her attention is turned to the ever-present regular spring season on the Mission Campus.
"My goal is to be in the Top 25, which is not too far away. Also, I want to maintain my No. 1 player spot in the West Coast Conference for singles," said Le. "Of course I want to go to the NCAA Tournament again in May, and if that happens, which I have a good chance of getting a bid, I want to win a round this time."
With three juniors and three seniors, this Bronco team looks to play to their strength of experience this season, especially when it comes to competing against ranked teams like USD, Saint Mary's, Pepperdine—all teams in the WCC.
Senior Alex Zaniewski is looking forward to the tough competition during her last season as a Bronco.
"I've been concentrating on match fitness so I can get match fit and my backhand, which isn't my strongest point right now. For my goals during my last season here at Santa Clara, the team and I really want to do well in the WCC Championships and hopefully win. We would love to beat St. Mary's on Senior Day too," said Zaniewski.
With a busy February, March and April, the team is being put to the test mentally and physically. Cabell is confident in his team, emphasizing on the team's ability to anticipate the hard work that is needed to come out on top and be successful in league play and the WCC Championships.
"We have been playing a lot of sets and doubles in practice to get ourselves ready. With a more older and experienced squad this year, there aren't many secrets to it; they know what to expect," said Cabell. "It's just a matter of fitness, getting ourselves in shape and mentally prepared. They know what to expect. They've done this before. They know what to do. It's just a matter of putting in the work."
Be sure to check back to SantaClaraBroncos.com for more on the beginning of the women's tennis team's 2013 campaign.