Pepperdine Men's Tennis Seeks 14th Straight WCC Title This Weekend at Santa Clara

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April 22, 2004

SANTA CLARA -- The Pepperdine men's tennis team will be looking to claim its 14th straight West Coast Conference title when they travel to Santa Clara for the 2004 WCC tennis championship this weekend.

The Waves come in as the #25 ranked team in the nation, and are led by the #25 ranked singles player in the country, sophomore Pedro Rico. San Diego is the only other WCC team to be ranked, checking in at #40 on the ITA rankings.

Host Santa Clara has fared well at home this season, posting a 9-3 record on the Mission Campus this season. San Francisco finished third at last season's championship, marking the program's best finish since 1982. Loyola Marymount earned its first ever national ranking this season, checking in at #75 on March 16. Saint Mary's is entering the tournament with a 13-9 mark, having finished the regular season with nine wins in their last 13 games. Portland is led by its lone senior, Quinn Borchard, and will look to improve on its fifth place finish last year. Gonzaga brings an improved squad to this year's tournament, having won six dual matches this season.

Seedings will be announced on on Thursday night

Pepperdine (15-8)

- The Waves are led by sophomore Pedro Rico and senior Calle Hansen, who took turns dominating the competition at the #1 singles position. Hansen posted a 9-1 mark at the #1 spot before Rico took over and recorded an 8-3 mark. The two have teamed up to go 14-6 at the #1 doubles position and are ranked #38 in the nation as a tandem.

- Pepperdine is looking for its 14th straight WCC title. The Waves have won the WCC men's tennis championship a record 34 times.

Gonzaga (6-17) - Sophomore Bryce Cooper has led the Bulldogs this season, posting a 12-8 record at the #1 singles position. He has also teamed with junior Dru Ernst at the #1 doubles spot for the Zags.

- The Zags will look to improve upon last season's seventh place finish. Gonzaga's highest finish was sixth, which they achieved twice (1994, 1996).

Loyola Marymount (13-9)

- LMU earned its first national ranking in program history this season, checking in at #75 in the ITA rankings on March 16. The Lions have won six of their last seven dual matches, including wins over Saint Mary's and Portland.

- The Lions are an extremely young squad, with just one upperclassmen competing at the WCC championship.

- Freshman Nico Terrien has gone undefeated at the #2 singles spot, posting a 15-0 mark.

Portland (7-11)

- The Pilots will be looking to improve upon a fifth place finish at last season's WCC championship. The highest a Portland team has ever finished at the championship is third. The Pilots have captured third place four times, the last one coming in 1999.

- Head Coach Aaron Gross fields a young Pilot squad that includes just one senior and one junior. The lone senior, Quinn Borchard, has posted a 7-7 record while playing at the #2 and #3 singles positions for the Pilots.

Saint Mary's (13-9)

- Sophomore Andre Sion has collected 17 wins at three different singles spots for Saint Mary's. He has gone 8-2 at the #1 spot and has posted an undefeated 3-0 mark while playing at the #2 singles position.

- Sophomore Adam Fauvre has emerged as a force for the Gaels at the #5 singles spot, posting a 13-3 record at that position and a 17-5 overall mark.

San Diego (11-6)

- The Toreros began the season on a strong note, knocking off #32 Florida State and #16 Tulane. San Diego has ascended to a #40 ITA ranking, having defeated six ranked teams.

- Sophomore Pierrick Ysern is the highest ranked Torero at #58. The doubles tandem of Jason Ponsrikul and Nic Beuque have been ranked as high as #47 by the ITA this season.

- USD has not played on the road since March 6.

San Francisco (9-13) - San Francisco has been led by junior Pablo Pires de Almeida and sophomore Romain Van Rillas. Pires de Almeida has played almost exclusively at the #1 singles position for the Dons and Van Rillas has played at all six singles spots this season, posting an 11-9 overall mark.

- Head Coach Peter Bartlett and the Dons will try to improve on last year's third place finish. It was USF's best finish since 1982, when they also captured third place.

Santa Clara (10-12)

- Senior Gernot Fischer set a program record by earning a #54 national ranking on March 23. Fischer has posted an 11-11 mark, playing exclusively at the #1 singles position for the Broncos. He is currently ranked #121 in the ITA national rankings.

- The Broncos won their first road match of the season last weekend, defeating Saint Mary's 6-1. SCU has gone 9-3 at home this season, including wins over four conference foes.

MEN'S HISTORY The West Coast Conference has sponsored a men's tennis championship since 1958, and the Pepperdine Waves have held a stronghold on the event since the beginning. The Waves have won the WCC men's tennis championship 34 times, including the last 13. The dominance by the Pepperdine men's tennis team is greater than in any other WCC-sponsored sport.

The Waves enjoyed another stellar campaign in 2003, claiming the WCC title and advancing to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. WCC Player of the Year Calle Hansen teamed up with Diego Acuna to earn All-American honors as a doubles tandem, finishing at #7 in the final ITA rankings. In the WCC Championship, the San Diego netters were the runners-up for the 13th time in 14 seasons and San Francisco captured third place, their highest finish since 1982.

WCC schools have had great success at the national level in men's tennis. Pepperdine netters have won three NCAA individual championships. Kelly Jones and Jerome Jones won the NCAA doubles title in 1984, and K. Jones successfully defended the doubles title the following year in 1985 with new partner Carlos DiLaura. Robby Weiss won the NCAA singles championship while playing for Pepperdine in 1988. The Waves have reached the semifinals of the team championships five times, twice finishing as the national runner-up. San Francisco has also had success in men's tennis, winning both a singles title and a team championship in NCAA competition.

San Diego was the last school (and the only other school among current WCC members) to win the West Coast Conference team championship, shocking the Waves with back-to-back titles in 1989 and 1990. USD's Jose Luis Noriega defeated teammate Dan Mattera 6-2, 6-4, to win the singles title in 1989, and was a member of the 1989 and 1990 doubles champions. Noriega added another WCC singles title in 1991, but as a team the Toreros finished second behind the Waves. The Toreros have placed second in all but one year since.

Prior to USD's back-to-back titles, the Waves won 16 consecutive WCC championships. Pepperdine's Robby Weiss won singles titles in 1985 and 1988, and added a doubles title in 1987, to lead the Waves in the mid-eighties. In 1982, Glenn Michibata won a singles and doubles title for Pepperdine. San Francisco put forth its best performances in WCC championship history in 1981 and 1980. The 1981 USF squad placed four players in the singles finals, but each came up short to Pepperdine; that year, San Diego's Terry Ward became the first Torero to win a WCC singles title. The 1980 USF squad produced its only WCC champions, with the doubles team of Mike Howard and Mark Hansell defeating fellow Don teammates Eddie Barretto and Mike Jee 6-2, 6-4. Pepperdine's Mike White defeated teammate Jerome Jones 6-3, 6-4 for the 1980 singles title.

From 1973 through 1980, Pepperdine won the WCC men's team championship each year. In 1976 and 1975, Pepperdine's Joao Soares won both singles and doubles titles; Dave Mitchell did the same in 1973 and 1974 for the Waves. The two teamed up as the doubles champion in 1974. Joao Soares is the only player in WCC men's tennis history to win three doubles titles.



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