September 20, 2007

Santa Clara Women's Tennis Kicks Off Fall Season On Friday in Frenso

Sept. 20, 2007

SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The Santa Clara women's tennis team gets the fall season underway this weekend at the Bulldog Classic in Fresno. With four newcomers and five returnees on the team, the Broncos are ready for a competitive fall season. The team will compete in four total tournaments during the fall season as it prepares for the spring dual season.

Returning to lead the Broncos into the 2007-08 season is Ben Cabell, who did an excellent job as the interim head coach in 2006-07. Despite a tough schedule and a number of injuries, the Broncos earned an 8-12 mark last year and finished fifth at the West Coast Conference Championships.

SCU will have to replace three three All-WCC performers from last season, Erika Barnes, Kim Daniel and Casey Knutson, who all graduated in 2007 after standout careers on the Mission Campus. All three left their mark on the program record books, as Knutson and Daniel finished in the Top 10 all-time in singles wins, while Barnes is now in the Top 10 in doubles victories.

Filling that leadership void will be senior captain Myra Davoudi, along with fellow senior Lindsay McBride and junior Stephanie Galainena. Despite battling injuries and playing a number of matches at No. 1 last season, Davoudi played hard all season at both singles and doubles. McBride also made her presence felt in her first season at SCU after transferring from Texas Christian in 2006-07. She went 8-5 in the fall and was competitive at positions 3-5 in the dual season. Galainena missed the fall season last year and had a slow start to the spring. However, she came on strong at the end of the year, winning some big matches at the end to give her some momentum coming into this season.

"We are really looking at Myra, Steph and Lindsay to fill that leadership role for us," said Cabell. "We have some very talented young players coming in and they need to learn from our experienced players to help them adjust to Division I tennis."

The newcomers include talented junior players Andrea Kwong and Carmen Pham. Kwong was the No. 1 ranked girls player in 18s in Alberta, Canada in 2006-07 and Pham, a San Ramon, Calif. native, reached No. 8 in Northern California as a junior player. Both are expected to make an immediate impact with the Broncos this year.

Fellow freshmen Ashley Pane and Courtney Hull will also have important roles on the team in their first season at SCU. Hull, from nearby Monte Sereno, led Los Gatos High School to four straight Central Coast Section playoff appearances, while Pane starred at both St. Francis (Mountain View) and Christian Brothers (Sacramento) prior to coming to Santa Clara.

"The four freshmen have had a great start to the year," said Cabell. "I am really happy with how they are doing. They definitely have the talent and athleticism to compete. Now they just need to get some experience under their belts."

Two other returnees could also play big roles for Cabell this year. Redshirt sophomore Samantha Georgino played just one match last year due to an elbow injury that could still keep her our for the fall. However, when healthy, she is one of the squad's top players. Georgino is expected to return for the spring season.

Sophomore Meghan Madden showed tremendous improvement in her first season at SCU and by the end of the year, she won some tight matches for the Broncos to help them secure a couple of late-season wins.

The Broncos season kicks off this weekend with the Bulldog Classic, which features Pacific, Nevada, Fresno State, Sacramento State, San Jose State and Arizona. The team will play both singles and doubles on Friday, Sept. 21. The tournament continues through Sunday in Fresno.

"The main purpose in the fall is to be competitive and to get us ready for the dual match season," said Cabell. "The tournament in Fresno has a strong field and we just want to put in a lot of effort and be competitive in every match and see how it turns out."

SCU will also participate in the Cal Invitational, the Saint Mary's Invitational and the ITA Northwest Regionals this fall.