MORAGA, Calif. -- After a series of tough tests to begin the spring, the Saint Mary's women's tennis team will try to use that experience this week as the West Coast Conference season begins in the Pacific Northwest.
Action begins Wednesday at 10 a.m. when the Gaels (1-3) take on Portland (2-1). On Thursday, Saint Mary's will face Gonzaga (2-1) in Spokane, Wash.
The Gaels battled on a recent trip to San Diego, dropping a 5-2 decision to No. 44-ranked Washington and falling 4-3 to host San Diego State.
One definite positive to come from the trip was the improvement SMC showed in doubles on day two. A few lineup changes resulted in the Gaels' earning the doubles point against the Aztecs, with the team of Jade Frampton and Jenny Jullien winning at No. 1 and Catherine Isip and Elizabeth Searl also winning at No. 2.
In singles, Jullien continued her torrid start to the season, winning both of her matches on the trip. Ranked No. 64 in the country to start the season, Jullien enters play this week at 5-1, a mark that includes four wins over ranked opponents.
Portland last played on Sunday, dropping a 6-1 decision to Oregon. The Pilots own wins over Eastern Washington and Idaho this season.
Lining up at the top of the lineup for the Pilots is freshman Maja Mladenovich. A native of Nis, Serbia, Mladenovich is a prime example of the youth Portland has throughout its lineup. The Pilots only have two seniors on the roster this season.
Gonzaga has won its last two matches, beating Air Force and Portland State last weekend.
Leading the way at No. 1 singles for the Bulldogs this season has been sophomore Katie Edwards. She enters play this week with a 2-1 record, and has won her last two matches.
Saint Mary's comes home this weekend for its Korth Tennis Complex debut, as the Gaels will host Cal Poly on Sunday at 11 a.m.