Jan. 29, 2014
MALIBU, Calif. - The #44-ranked Pepperdine women’s tennis team opens the 2014 dual campaign tomorrow, Jan. 30, with a 3 p.m. match at #6 USC. Opening week continues with a visit to #38 UC Irvine on Saturday.
WAVES’ SOCIAL CIRCLE - Stay informed with up-to-the-minute coverage by following the women’s tennis team on Twitter @PeppWTEN ... Like us on Facebook by searching for Pepperdine Women’s Tennis ... Tag us in Instragram photos at PepperdineWaves.
COVERAGE - Recaps to both matches will be posted at PepperdineSports.com ... Any available updates during the match can be followed on Twitter @PeppWTEN.
OPPONENT NOTES - #6 USC is 2-0 on the year after shutting out North Texas and Saint Mary’s in ITA Kick-Off Weekend action ... Four players are ranked in singles for the Trojans including Sabrina Santamaria (#13), Giuliana Olmos (#60), Gabriella DeSimone (#80) and Brynn Boren (#96) ... Three doubles combinations are ranked but only one has appeared in the dual lineup thus far in #33 Kaitlin Christian and Santamaria ... UC Irvine is 1-1 after falling to TCU but beating San Diego at the ITA Kick-Off Weekend event hosted at UCLA.
RANKINGS - Pepperdine boasts five student-athletes in the singles rankings to go along with two ranked doubles pairs ... Leading the way is Lorraine Guillermo at #19 followed by Matea Cutura (#79), Ale Granillo (#93), Michaela Capannolo (#112) and Yuki Chiang (#117). In doubles, Granillo and Guillermo are listed at #39 followed by Capannolo and Chiang at #40.
LOOKING AHEAD - The Waves’ home opener is scheduled for next week Saturday, Feb. 8 with a 1 p.m. dual vs. San Diego State.
2014 ROSTER - After battling a few growing pains in 2013, the 2014 squad boasts much more experience and depth ... 2012 All-American Lorraine Guillermo is expected to resume her role as the No. 1 singles player, while transfer Matea Cutura is a likely candidate to play at No. 2 ... Cutura played No. 1 last season for DePaul and was named the BIG EAST Freshman of the Year ... Ale Granillo, Pepperdine’s lone senior, is expected to lead from the No. 3 position, while sophomores Michaela Capannolo and Danielle Feneridis also return with a year’s worth of experience ... Four freshmen are also vying for spots in the lineup led by Yuki Chiang, whose successful fall translated into a #117 singles ranking ... Other rookies include Apichaya “Jean” Runglerdkriangkrai, Pattaraporn “PT” Salirathavibhaga and January addition Christine Maddox.
WCC PRESEASON POLL - The Waves landed at No. 2 in the West Coast Conference Preseason Poll, edged out by Saint Mary’s by just two points. Pepperdine picked up four first-place votes in a poll of the league’s coaches for a total of 76 points. The Gaels, currently the highest ranked team in the WCC, took the remaining six first-place bids and 78 points. Pepperdine was the only team to place two players on the all-conference preseason team in Lorraine Guillermo and Ale Granillo.
2013 RECAP - With a young squad, the Waves opened the 2013 season 0-9 before making a tremendous surge forward to end the season on a high note. Pepperdine won 12 of the next 14 duals including a 4-0 upset win over Saint Mary’s in the WCC Tournament finals. Pepperdine finished the season with a 12-12 record after making its 30th appearance at the NCAA Tournament.
DID YOU KNOW ... That head coach Gualberto Escudero ranks second among all women’s tennis coaches -- active and inactive -- with 632 career wins? Escudero, now in his 37th year at the helm, is just one of three coaches to have reached the 600 wins milestone. Lin Loring, who has been a head coach at both Indiana and UC Santa Barbara for a combined 40 seasons, ranks #1 with almost 800 wins, while Georgia’s head coach Jeff Wallace hit the 600-win mark in 2013 after 28 seasons.
Gualberto Escudero - Now in his 37th season at the helm of the program, Gualberto Escudero enters the 2013-14 campaign with a career record of 632-329 (.657). He took over as head coach in 1977-78 after a decorated career as a student-athlete at Pepperdine. On the court, he was a finalist at the 1969 WCAC singles tournament and won the doubles title with John Lovelace. Pepperdine won conference titles in 1969 and 1970 and finished second the next two seasons. His transition from player to coach was a successful one as Escudero has tutored 31 All-Americans, and was honored as WCC Coach of the Year on four occasions. Escudero was inducted into the Pepperdine Athletics Hall of Fame in a ceremony on Oct. 20.
ABOUT PEPPERDINE - Pepperdine boasts a one-of-a-kind athletic department with unprecedented success for a school of its size. The Waves have won NCAA Division I championships in five different men’s sports – one of just 16 schools to have accomplished this feat – and nine overall. Of this elite group, Pepperdine has the smallest undergraduate enrollment and is the only school not affiliated with a BCS-level conference. The Waves have earned the Division I-AAA All-Sports Trophy, an award based on postseason success that’s given to the top non-football school, three times (most recently in 2011-12). Located in scenic Malibu, Calif., the university overlooks the Pacific Ocean and its campus and athletic facilities are regularly voted among the nation’s most beautiful. Pepperdine, which is affiliated with the Church of Christ, ranks #57 overall on U.S. News and World Report’s list of America’s best colleges.