MORAGA, Calif. - The Saint Mary's women's tennis team is set to participate in their third consecutive NCAA Tournament this weekend when they take on No. 29 Yale. Head coach Lisa Alipaz has guided the Gaels earn their second consecutive automatic bid to the "Big Dance" after another fantastic season.
The show starts this weekend when the Gaels take on Yale in the first round of the 2012 NCAA Tennis Championships. The Gaels and Bulldogs will square off on Friday, May 11 at 11 a.m. at the Taube Tennis Center on the campus of Stanford.
A first round win would match Saint Mary's up with either No. 4 Stanford (17-1) or Stony Brook (11-7) on Saturday, May 12 at 3 p.m.
All seats for Friday's match are general admission, and Stanford's men's team will be hosting the first two rounds as well. Three-day all-session tickets are $18 (adult) and $12 (student/youth/senior). Single-day tickets are $7 (adult) and $5 (student/youth/senior). All-session tickets are available by calling 1-800-STANFORD or visiting www.gostanford.com. Single-day tickets can be purchased on the day of competition at the Taube Family Tennis Stadium.
If you aren't able to make it to Stanford this weekend for the first round match, there are still options for you to follow the action. Stanford will be providing live video and scoreboard coverage of each court throughout the match. Fans can also get updates by following the Gaels on Twitter @SMCGaels.
Saint Mary's is currently ranked No. 42 and concluded the regular season with a 14-7 overall record. The Gaels were 7-1 in conference play this season but fell to eventual champion San Diego in the semifinals of the WCC Tennis Championships. Saint Mary's cemented their postseason resume early in the season when they upset two top-30 teams (No. 25 Oklahoma and No. 29 Washington) and at one point were ranked as high as No. 20 in the ITA Poll.
The Gaels are led by All-WCC First Team honorees No. 86 Jenny Jullien and No. 113 Catherine Isip. Jullien led the Gaels for the second year in a row with a 16-4 singles record playing mostly at the No. 2 spot, while Isip went 11-10 playing the majority of her matches on court one. Senior Anna Chkhikvishvili was named to the All-WCC Second Team and had another standout season for Saint Mary's, going 15-5 overall and a perfect 8-0 in WCC regular season matches. The Gaels also had two doubles pairs named to the All-WCC Second Team in Isip and Chkhikvishvili and the sophomore duo of Jullien and Jade Frampton.
The No. 29-ranked Bulldogs enter the NCAA Tournament with a 19-3 overall record and went 7-0 in Ivy League play to earn the league's automatic berth into the NCAA Tournament for the second consecutive season. Yale has won their last nine consecutive matches heading in to the NCAA Tournament and their only three losses this season came to currently ranked No. 15 Michigan, No. 65 Syracuse, and No. 11 Miami (Fla.). The Bulldogs do not have any ranked singles players but have two ranked doubles pairs in No. 66 Hanna Yu/Victoria Brook and No. 72 Amber Li/Brook.
Friday's match will mark the first ever matchup between the two women's tennis programs.