Sept. 13, 2004
By Kelley Johnson
Media Relations Assistant
SANTA CLARA, Calif.-- In 2004-05, the Santa Clara University women's tennis team will face six top-75 finishers from 2004 and participate in the highly-tabbed ITA All-American Championships, head coach Damon Coupe recently announced.
The University of San Diego will host the West Coast Conference Championships at the end of April, where the Broncos look to make their mark en route to finishing as a ranked team.
"This year is going to be a lot different than it has been in the past. I'm going to prepare our team to go out and play with nothing to lose. The other WCC teams... those are schools I expect to beat this year," Coupe said.
On Sept. 24, the Broncos will begin their quest to a national ranking with an appearance in the Bulldog Classic, hosted by Fresno State. The following week four pre-qualified Broncos will start competition at the ITA All-American Championships in Los Angeles, which is the toughest fall season tournament. The fall season will round out with play in the Palm Desert Classic in the middle of November.
Upon return to the courts in mid January, Santa Clara will travel to San Luis Obispo where it will face Cal State Fullerton and Cal Poly, who finished with a No. 57 national ranking in 2004. Five days later, the Broncos will return to Fresno, where they will face the Bulldogs, who finished 2004 ranked 13th.
February keeps the Broncos at home, as they will face Hawaii on the 16th, whom return after a rain out last year and being edged by the Broncos 4-3 in 2003.
Washington State, who finished 2004 with a No. 65 ranking, makes their highly-anticipated debut Feb. 1.
"It's extremely exciting for us to have Washington State come here to play because once you get on a team's schedule, you tend to stay there, You have to take baby steps, which will help take the program to the next level which is where we're going to go," Coupe said.
Washington State is only one of the six previously ranked teams the Broncos will face this year; each with a meaning in its own.
"Our goal for this year is to be a nationally ranked squad," Coupe declared. "In order to accomplish that, we need to play and defeat other ranked programs, so having six on this year's slate is a great start toward where we want to take this program."
The following day marks the first WCC match of the spring, against Saint Mary's, which has been a back-and-forth battle for the past few seasons. A week later, the San Francisco Dons host the Broncos in another league match.
The Broncos will play most of their April games on the road. They will face Pacific, who finished 2004 ranked 62nd, WCC rival LMU and participate in a tournament hosted by the UC Irvine whom finished 2004 ranked No. 66.
Regular-season play will be capped off by a three-match homestand beginning April 8 against USF. On the 11th, Portland will visit, and three days later, Northern Arizona, whom the Broncos topped with near perfection (5-1) in 2003.
April 22-24 marks the WCC Championship tournament in San Diego, where the Broncos look to knock off perennial powerhouse Pepperdine.
"We haven't really had a lot of respect in the past, so it's exciting knowing that we are going to come in and shock some people," Coupe concluded. "We are going to beat a team, I know we are. Who it is I don't know, but I certainly want the Broncos to experience the joy of knocking off a top team; it's the greatest feeling in the world."