Santa Clara, Calif. - The Santa Clara women's tennis team begins its 2011 dual season versus Cal State Bakersfield this weekend at 9:00 a.m. Sunday January 23rd inside the Degheri Tennis Center. Following the dual match, the Broncos will take on No. 29 (Div. III) UC Santa Cruz at 2:00 p.m.
Coach Cabell on Saturday's matches: "We did well against both teams last year, and should do well again. It's the first match of the year, and the girls are itching to start playing. We are looking to work through the jitters and get off to a good start."
With numerous players boasting successful fall seasons, the positions lineup is yet to be decided. "The first handful of matches will determine our lineup going forward," said Cabell. "It's a little different than last year. This year all of our starters except for one, have gone through a season so there is a little more experience on the court this year."
Two of those experienced players, WCC Honorable Mention winners Maggie McGeorge and her doubles partner Kelly Lamble, look to build upon their accomplishments from last season during which they went 17-5. "Our biggest goal for the year is to be a consistently nationally ranked team. The fact that we all get along really well contributed to our success last season, and will do so again this year," said Lamble.
McGeorge echoed her partner's sentiment, "I think that if we don't get intimidated by higher ranked teams we will be successful because this year we will be really good down the line ... we just have to like really believe that we can beat these teams."
Part of the Broncos' depth of talent will be pulled from two freshmen Katie Le and Carolina O'Haren. O'Haren a local St. Francis High School standout, posted wins against BYU and San Jose State in fall play. Le earned victories against St. Mary's and Oregon players during the fall tournaments. "Katie did great this fall season. She beat last year's Freshman of the Year from St. Mary's, which is a great sign. Her only two losses came to players from Stanford and Cal. She's only going to get better as she gets experience throughout the season," said Cabell.
Sophomore Jessica Agra went 13-8 at the No. 4 and No. 5 singles position last season with big wins over Gonzaga, Michigan State, Marquette and USF opponents. "After playing the regular season last year and training hard this summer back home, I feel more relaxed and confident about my game," said Agra.
Agra and doubles partner Alex Zaniewski received WCC Honorable Mention for their 7-8 record, which included a huge upset over No. 46 ranked Stanford double's duo. Agra added, "I think we can do even better than how we performed last year."
The Broncos will once again face a challenging schedule. In non-conference play, Santa Clara will face off against teams hailing from all over the country playing against Kansas, Texas San Antonio, Nevada and Washington State. Bay Area rivals San Francisco and Saint Mary's await the Broncos in conference play, along with the five other competitive WCC squads.
Overall, the Broncos appear ready for a breakout spring campaign. Cabell's squad competed very well against fellow West Coast Conference and PAC-10 opponents in the fall, while showing grit and determination that should lead them to a number of dual match victories in 2011.
By: Kelsey Houlihan '11