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Friday, May 13, 2011

49er Women's Tennis Starts NCAA Tournament Competition This Weekend

2:34pm | No. 36 Long Beach State will be making its eighth all-time appearance in the NCAA Women's Tennis Tournament this weekend, playing No. 27 Pepperdine at 9 a.m. on Saturday, May 14, at Stanford.
Long Beach State’s eighth appearance in the NCAA Tournament comes off the heels of claiming the team’s eighth

Big West Championship over the last 10 seasons, making it the best team in the strongest Big West Conference season top-to-bottom in recent memory. With Cal Poly’s at-large selection, the league earned two bids for the first time since the 2007 season (LBSU, UC Irvine) and had six teams ranked at the conclusion of the regular season.
The NCAA Tournament host for Long Beach State, Stanford University, will be a familiar site for the 49ers. Long Beach State has played in Palo Alto twice before in the tournament; the first time was back in 2002, the team’s first NCAA appearance, and the other was in 2009.
This will also be the third time that Long Beach State has played Pepperdine in the postseason, and the second time that Long Beach State has faced the Waves at Stanford. Pepperdine defeated the 49ers in 2002 4-1 in the first appearance for the program. The last time the teams met was in 2007 at Fresno State, when Long Beach State nearly upset the No. 20 Waves, getting wins from Hannah Grady and Katy Williams and leading them in the unfinished match in a 4-3 defeat.
Pepperdine and Long Beach State are meeting for the 19th time; the 49ers have never defeated the Waves but have come tantalizingly close in the last three meetings, losing all three by a 4-3 margin while being ranked lower in all three matches.
In this season’s meeting, Long Beach State won the doubles point, taking the top two matches, and did the same in singles, as Anais Dallara defeated Arianna Colffer at No. 1 singles and Klaudia Malenovska won at No. 2 over Ale Granillo.
Dallara has also defeated Khunpak Issara in fall play, giving the 49ers junior a pair of wins against the Waves this season. She’ll likely match up with Colffer once more, while Deborah Armstrong will get a rematch with Anamika Bhargava, who entered the singles rankings this week at No. 122.
With Malenovska out due to injury, Rachel Manasse will draw Granillo this time around, while Jaklin Alawi will likely face Issara. Sarah Cantlay and Anna Jeczmionka will round out the singles lineup for the 49ers, facing Marie Zalameda and either Andrea Oates or Megan Moore.
The doubles point appears to point in the Waves’ favor despite Long Beach State’s triumph earlier in the season, as Pepperdine has two tandems ranked No. 1: No. 65 Bhargava/Zalameda and No. 53 Issara/Granillo. Long Beach State will look to topple the top two a second time, as well as rely on Cantlay/Luzar at No. 3 doubles, a team with a 19-4 record in dual matches this season.
In NCAA Tournament play the Waves have the edge, with a 23-27 all-time record in the postseason. Long Beach State enters with a record of 1-7, getting their win in 2006 by beating No. 46 New Mexico 4-1 before falling to No. 2 USC in Los Angeles.
With a win, the 49ers would play the winner of No. 2 Stanford and Illinois-Chicago at noon on Sunday, May 15. Long Beach State has never beaten Stanford in six matches, but is undefeated against the Flames with a 4-0 record, including a 5-2 win in Chicago earlier this year.

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