No. 12 Pepperdine Geared up for Athens

Team (Photo by Jeff Golden)
May 17, 2017


MALIBU, Calif. – The 12th-ranked Pepperdine women’s tennis team continues the NCAA Championships this week in a Sweet Sixteen match-up at Dan Magill Tennis Complex against 5th-ranked Georgia in Athens, Ga.  All matches will have live stream, scoring and tweeting available.

NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS: Friday-Saturday (May 19-23) | NCAA Championship at Dan Magill Tennis Complex in Athens, Ga. | Sweet Sixteen on Friday (May 19): No. 12 Pepperdine (23-4) vs. No. 5 Georgia (19-5) at 1 p.m. PT/4 p.m. ET

COVERAGE: Live video, scoring and tweeting (@WavesTennis) will be available for all matches during the weekend.  Find all appropriate links and information at the tournament central page here:  Recaps and results will be posted on daily.  Any and all available score updates will be posted on Twitter at @WavesTennis.

LOOKING AHEAD: After the completion of the National Championships, the Waves will have one doubles partnership and three singles competing in the NCAA Singles and Doubles Championships from May 24-29.

CHAMPIONSHIP FIELD & FORMAT: The tournament is single elimination.  Tournament matches will be regulation dual matches with three six-game, pro-set doubles played for one team point, followed by six singles matches, each valued at one team point, played in best-of-three sets.  Regular scoring will be used and a 12-point tiebreaker will be played at seven-games-all in doubles and at six-games-all in singles.

NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS: A HISTORY: Dating back to 1982, the Waves have advanced to the NCAA postseason on 33 occasions, with the most-recent being a quarterfinal run in the 2016 season.  Pepperdine has only missed the NCAA Tournament twice in the program’s 35-year history.  Since the tournament changed to a 64-team format, the Waves have played host to the first two rounds on four occasions in 1999, 2000, 2006 and 2016.  This season marks the 17th that Pepperdine will compete in the round of 16 and 3rd time since the format changed in 1999.  The team’s best finishes have been five appearances in the quarterfinals, with three straight from 1989-91, 1994 and again in last season’s effort.

CAN’T STOP, WON’T STOP: Pepperdine has won 18-consecutive matches, dating back to March 11.  Of those 18 matches won, 13 have been by straight-set 4-0 sweeps.  The Waves went undefeated in West Coast Conference action throughout the season with 11-wins, nine of which were during the regular season and two from the conference tournament. 

THE NO. 12 WAVES:  Pepperdine has posted a 23-4 overall record this season as the team enters the NCAA Sweet Sixteen.  The Waves went 12-1 at home, 7-0 on the road and 4-3 in a neutral setting this season.  In singles, Pepperdine has produced a .743 dual winning percentage after going 84-29 overall.  No. 14-ranked n\Luisa Stefani leads the team with a 16-3 dual record on a 25-8 overall singles record this season from the No. 1 singles position.  She has gone 14-4 against nationally ranked opponents.  No. 19-ranked Ashley Lahey has tabbed a 28-5 overall record and a 15-2 dual singles record this season, with a 14-1 output from the No. 2 position and an 8-4 record against nationally ranked competition.  No. 37-ranked Mayar Sherif holds down the No. 3-slot with a 13-5 dual record this season.  She has amassed a 24-12 overall record and a 9-7 output against ranked opposition.  No. 97-ranked Laura Gulbe has posted a 16-9 overall record, including a 9-5 dual record from the No. 4 position and a 5-3 record against national ranked opponents.  Sherif and Gulbe lead the team with current 10-match winning streaks at this point in the season.  Apichaya Runglerdkriangkrai and Dzina Milovanovic hold down the No. 5 and No. 6 positions.  Runglerdkriangkrai has produced a 9-4 dual record from the No. 5-slot and has posted a 17-9 overall record this season.  Milovanovic has gone 8-2 from the No. 6 position, while posting a 19-9 overall record this season.  Both Waves have two wins against nationally ranked opponents.

In doubles, No. 8-ranked Christine Maddox and Sherif lead the Waves in the No. 1 position this season after posting an impressive 24-6 overall record.  The pair has gone 13-3 in dual action from the top spot and have produced an 8-6 record against ranked competition.  The duo is currently on a nine-match winning streak.  No. 53-ranked Stefani and Runglerdkriangkrai have tallied an 8-7 overall record this season, including a 5-3 dual record from the No. 2 position and an even 2-2 output against nationally ranked opposition.  Lahey and Milovanovic have taken to the No. 3 position with a 7-4 dual record.  The pair has gone 9-6 against all opponents this season.

OPPONENT NOTES: The Waves and Bulldogs have faced four times since 1987 with Georgia winning all four matches.  The first three matches took place from 1987-91, while earlier this season, the two teams faced at the ITA Indoor Team Nationals with Georgia taking a 4-1 win over the Waves.

POSTSEASON HONORS START ROLLING: The Waves earned ITA Southwest Region acclaim in three categories.  Head Coach Per Nilsson and Assistant Coach Mario Toledo garnered ITA Southwest Region Coach and Assistant Coach of the Year, while freshman Ashley Lahey earned ITA Southwest Region Player to Watch status.  Pepperdine swept the West Coast Conference All-WCC top honors for the third consecutive season.  Luisa Stefani became the fifth-player to ever win back-to-back Player of the Year honors, while Lahey garnered Freshman of the Year acclaim and Nilsson earned his third-consecutive Coach of the Year honor.  Stefani, Lahey and Mayar Sherif also earned first team singles accolades, while Laura Gulbe tabbed a second team nod and Apichaya Runglerdkriangkrai posted honorable mention honors. In doubles action, Sherif and Christine Maddox were named to first team, while Stefani and Lahey also tabbed first team accolades.   Runglerdkriangkrai and Dzina Milovanovic also received honorable mention acclaim.

NCAA REGIONAL ROUNDS: Pepperdine was one-of-16 host institutions that hosted the first two rounds of NCAA Championship competition, welcoming No. 23 UCLA, No. 47 UC Santa Barbara and LIU Brooklyn to Malibu.  In the first rounds, the Waves and Bruins took down LIU and UCSB respectively.

In the second round, Pepperdine faced UCLA in a tight battle to the finish.  After dropping the doubles point, the Waves battled back in singles to collect wins on courts one, two, five and six for the win to send the team into Sweet Sixteen status.  Senior Apichaya Runglerdkriangkrai earned the clinch, coming back from a first set loss to win the second and third sets by 6-2 decisions for her team.

THE NO. 12 WAVES AND OTHER ORACLE/ITA RANKINGS: The Waves rank No. 12 in the Oracle/ITA team rankings this week.  In singles, a rankings list compiled of 125 athletes throughout the nation, sophomore Luisa Stefani, junior Mayar Sherif and freshman Ashley Lahey also earned top-37 spots and junior Laura Gulbe also earned a spot in the rankings.  Stefani is ranked No. 14 this week, while Lahey is currently at No. 19 and Sherif is ranked 37th.  Gulbe is ranked No. 97 in singles this week.  In doubles, of 60 duos ranked, senior Christine Maddox and Sherif are ranked in the top-seven at the No. 8-slot, while Stefani and senior Apichaya Runglerdkriangkrai are currently listed No. 53 this week.

NILSSON: Per Nilsson returned to Pepperdine in June 2014 to succeed Gualberto Escudero as head coach of the women’s tennis team.  In his two years with the Waves, he has been named West Coast Conference Coach of the Year on back-to-back occasions, and in 2016 he led the Waves to a NCAA Championship quarterfinal appearance and a #9 final ranking in the ITA/Oracle rankings.  He was an assistant coach for the Pepperdine men’s tennis team from 2003-07 under head coach Adam Steinberg, where the Waves went 119-38 in those five seasons.  Pepperdine won the NCAA team championship in 2006 with Nilsson on the sidelines.  He was the head men’s coach at Mississippi State, his alma mater, for seven seasons from 2008-2014.  Nilsson compiled a record of 95-76 during his time at MSU.

#PURPOSE: The Pepperdine University Department of Athletics is committed to Christian values, to the academic well-being of all of our student-athletes and to competing for championships.  We prepare students for success by challenging them to think differently - find your purpose, serve others and lead by example.  The Competing with Purpose campaign highlights the commitment to our core values that student-athletes, coaches and staff dedicate themselves to daily.  Competing with Purpose provides the foundation on which champions are built.

ABOUT PEPPERDINE: Pepperdine boasts a one-of-a-kind athletic department with unprecedented success for a school of its size. The Waves have won NCAA Division I Championships in five different men’s sports — one of just 17 schools to have accomplished this feat — and nine overall. Of this elite group, Pepperdine has the smallest undergraduate enrollment, is the only school without football and is the only university that has not been affiliated with a “major” conference. The Waves have won a total of 25 team or individual national championships in their history. Pepperdine has also earned the Division I-AAA All-Sports Trophy, an award based on postseason success that’s given to the top non-football school, three times (most recently in 2011-12). Located in scenic Malibu, Calif., the university overlooks the Pacific Ocean and its campus and athletic facilities are regularly voted among the nation’s most beautiful.  Pepperdine, which is affiliated with the Church of Christ, ranks No. 52 overall on U.S. News and World Report’s list of America’s best colleges.



The Last Meeting
February 11, 2017
New Haven, Conn.
#6 Georgia Edges Out #3 Pepperdine at ITA Indoors
Final Scores | Tournament Central | The 3rd-ranked Pepperdine women’s tennis team was felled today in the ITA National Team Indoor Championship quarterfinals, falling to 6th-ranked Georgia, 4-1 at the Cullman-Heyman Tennis Center. The Waves won the doubles point, but fell in four consecutive matches in singles to drop out of the main draw.

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