Champions! Waves Win WCC Tournament
April 26, 2014
SAN DIEGO – The #26 Pepperdine women‘s tennis team defeated #44 Saint Mary’s 4-2 in the finals of the 2014 West Coast Conference Tournament today at the Barnes Tennis Center. With the win, the Waves collected their 24th league championship, sending 37-year head coach Gualberto Escudero out on top in his final season at the helm.
The squad also made a little bit of history today, tying a program record with its 14th consecutive victory.
“Today was great,” said Coach Escudero, “Weather conditions can even out matches and it was quite windy. We adapted but our opponent also made adjustments. We were down in some singles matches, but the girls all came back and really showed how tough they can be.
“I told the girls before the match ‘food’,” continued Escudero. “Every time we win, we are feeding ourselves to get better. We beat a very tough opponent today and that will only make us stronger as we prepare for nationals.”
With the WCC Championship title, the Waves also take the automatic bid into the NCAA Tournament.
In 2013, the second-seeded Waves upset No. 1 Saint Mary’s. Although the Gaels were seeded third in the 2014 tournament, they are the highest ranked team the league behind Pepperdine, and appeared hungry to return the favor in this year’s title match.
The Waves cruised in doubles and quickly put away a pair of victories to take the 1-0 lead into singles.
SMC made a major threat in singles, winning one match in straight sets before seeing the remaining five contests go the full three frames.
After Jamie Pawid put a point on the board for the Gaels, Matea Cutura (Zagreb, Croatia/Gimnazija Birotehnika/DePaul) bounced back from a first set loss to win 6-1, 6-2.
Saint Mary’s once again knotted up the score at 2-2. 2014 WCC Player of the Year Jenny Jullien earned her second win of the season in three tries versus Lorraine Guillermo (Walnut, Calif./Rowland HS), 6-7 (0), 6-4, 6-1.
With the remaining four matches all going three sets, the dual was still anyone’s to take.
Michaela Capannolo (Melbourne, Australia/Genazzano FCJ College) proved up to the challenge, and after splitting sets with Catherine Leduc, owned the third set by a 6-0 tally.
Both Yuki Chiang (Ojai, Calif./Campbell Hall HS) and Apichaya Runglerdkriangkrai (Bangkok, Thailand/IMG Academy) were ahead in their respective third sets, but it was Runglerdkriangkrai who finished first to clinch the dual.
After falling behind 0-5 against Parminder Kaur, Runglerdkriangkrai made an amazing comeback to take the set 7-3 in the tiebreaker. Although the freshman fell 6-1 in the second set, Runglerdkriangkrai turned the momentum back in her favor in the deciding stanza and won 6-2.
Cutura and Ale Granillo (Pachuca, Mexico/Instituto Hidalgo), after winning their team-high 16th doubles match together this afternoon, received WCC All-Tournament honors.
Cutura, Chiang and Runglerdkriangkrai were all honored as all-tournament selections in singles.
The Waves now await the NCAA Championship selection show to see what’s in store for the remainder of the postseason. The 64-team bracket will be announced at 2:30 p.m. on Tuesday, April 29 at NCAA.com. The singles and doubles championship field will be released on Wednesday, April 30.
Saint Mary's vs Pepperdine
#26 Pepperdine 4, #44 Saint Mary's 2
2014 West Coast Conference Women’s Tennis All-Tournament Team