Aug. 29, 2011
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MALIBU, Calif. – Another challenging schedule awaits the 2011-12 edition of the Pepperdine women’s tennis team. Head coach Gualberto Escudero announced the year’s slate, which includes five fall tournaments and 11 home dual dates.
The Waves, who return eight letterwinners and add one freshman, start the year at the Racquet Club Collegiate Invitational in Midland, Texas on Sept. 16-18.
“The tournament is so early in the year, and we understand that our student-athletes won’t be as prepared as we’d like them to be,” said Escudero, now in his 35th season at the helm of the program, “But this is a great team-building trip. We get to stay with host families and experience that great Texas hospitality.”
Escudero says that he expects to take the majority of his team to the tournament in Midland, Texas, but that he anticipates only sending a handful to the remaining four tournaments.
“Fall is the time to prepare, both on and off the tennis court,” explained Escudero, who is once again assisted by Scott Doerner. “We will compete, but we will also work hard on conditioning and getting into the best possible shape for the spring dual season.”
“We want everyone to gain as much experience as possible in the fall, but we also want to make sure they are ready and prepared before entering them into a tournament.”
Besides the Racquet Club Collegiate Invitational, the fall schedule also includes the ITA/Riviera All-American Championships (Oct. 1-9), the USTA/ITA Southwest Regional (Oct. 20-24), the Jack Kramer Invitational (Oct. 28-30) and the Desert Classic (Nov. 4-6).
The dual season opens on Jan. 25, when the Waves host the first of 11 home matches. San Diego State tangles with Pepperdine at 1:30 p.m. inside the Ralphs-Straus Tennis Center.
The month of February opens at home with a contest versus Cal State Northridge on Feb. 1, followed by four challenging road matches. The Waves test their strength against USC, Florida, Stanford and UC Irvine. The Gators edged the Cardinal, 4-3, to claim their fifth NCAA Championship title last May.
Boise State and Arizona State make trips to Malibu on Feb. and Feb. 26, respectively, to conclude the month’s action.
Non-conference matches with California, Florida State, UCLA and Fresno State keep Pepperdine busy in March, in addition to league trysts with Loyola Marymount, Santa Clara and San Francisco.
The WCC schedule continues in April, as the Waves host Saint Mary’s, San Diego and conference newcomer BYU, while traveling to Portland and Gonzaga. Pepperdine’s final non-conference match is schedule on April 20 versus Long Beach State.
The Waves look to defend their 2011 WCC title at the league tournament on April 27-29 inside the Barnes Tennis Center in San Diego, Calif.
The pinnacle of the season, the NCAA Championships, begins on May 11 when various campus sites will host the first and second rounds. The remainder of the team championships, as well as the singles and doubles tournament, will be played out in Athens, Ga. on May 17-28.
The Waves finished last season 15-8, and advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament. After picking up the program’s 22nd WCC title, six student-athletes including Anamika Bhargava (Collierville, Tenn./Houston HS), Arianna Colffer (Corona, Calif./Buena Vista), Ale Granillo (Pachuca, Mexico/Instituto Hidalgo), Khunpak Issara (Bangkok, Thailand/World Study Centre), Andrea Oates (Pretoria, South Africa/Pretoria HS) and Marie Zalameda (Los Angeles, Calif./Beverly Hill HS) were voted to the all-conference team.