MORAGA, Calif. -- Nobody needed to explain the stakes of Friday's match against Pepperdine to the Saint Mary's women's tennis team.
As they have all season, the Gaels showed that when they play their best up and down the lineup, there might not be a safer bet around.
A huge tiebreaker win at No. 2 gave Saint Mary's the doubles point and the Gaels proceeded to end things early with great singles play in a convincing 4-1 win over the Waves.
With the win, No. 42-ranked Saint Mary's moves to 11-8 overall. More importantly, the Gaels improve to 6-1 in West Coast Conference play, putting them back atop the conference standings. Pepperdine falls to 7-11 overall and 4-1 in the WCC.
An epic doubles session that lasted over an hour and a half got the proceedings started on a picturesque day in Moraga.
That left court two to decide the point, and SMC's Catherine Isip and Audrey Leitz needed a tiebreaker to decide things against Ale Granillo and Michaela Capannolo. The Gaels' duo would prevail, pulling out a 7-5 win to give Saint Mary's the first point of the match.
Next, singles play took center stage, and that's when Saint Mary's really turned up the heat.
First to strike was No. 1 singles player Jenny Jullien. After a close first set against No. 31-ranked Lorraine Guillermo resulted in a 7-5 victory for Jullien, the No. 20-ranked player in the country was even better in the second, defeating Guillermo 6-0 in the second to put Saint Mary's up 2-0.
Pepperdine got one back with a win at No. 2 singles, but the bottom of Saint Mary's lineup would make that a moot point.
Catherine Leduc pulled out a first-set tiebreaker at No. 5, then cruised in the second to win 7-6 (3), 6-2 over Michaela Capannolo.
The match winning point came at No. 6, where Audrey Leitz returned to the singles lineup to claim a 7-5, 6-2 win over Danielle Feneridis. That gave the Gaels the point they needed, and the victory they wanted.
Saint Mary's gets back to work on Sunday when it hosts Loyola Marymount at 11 a.m. in the 2013 regular season finale for the Gaels. It will also be Senior Day, as captain Catherine Isip will be honored in her last match in Moraga.