MORAGA, Calif. -- Way back in the middle of January, the Saint Mary's women's tennis team got its spring season started with back to back trips to Cal's Hellman Tennis Complex.
Four months later, the Gaels return to Berkeley looking to make their mark in the postseason.
For the fourth straight year, Saint Mary's is headed to the NCAA Tournament, with play beginning Friday at 10 a.m. when the Gaels take on Auburn at Cal.
The Gaels and Tigers will play the first match of the day, with Cal and Stony Brook taking the court for the afternoon. The winners of each match will square off Saturday at noon.
Ranked No. 40 in the country, Saint Mary's enters with a 13-9 overall record this season. The Gaels went 7-1 in West Coast Conference play to earn a co-regular season championship, and advanced to the WCC Tournament final in San Diego.
Since then, the accolades have continued to roll in. No. 1 singles player Jenny Jullien was named WCC Player of the Year, with her 17-6 spring record including a 15-6 mark in dual matches and a 7-1 regular season conference record.
Jullien, a native of Perpignan, France, enters the NCAA Tournament ranked No. 23 nationally and has been selected to compete in the NCAA Singles Tournament in Illinois later this month.
She'll have plenty of help when the Gaels line up across from the Tigers on Friday.
Senior captain Catherine Isip will make her fourth appearance in the NCAA Tournament, likely assuming her usual spot at No. 2 singles and teaming with Audrey Leitz at No. 2 doubles.
The native of Anaheim, Calif. compiled a 12-11 spring record, going 7-1 in the WCC regular season.
In doubles, Isip and Leitz enter at No. 2 with a sterling 5-1 record since being teamed up late in the season. The No. 1 team of Jullien and Danielle Flores enters ranked No. 72 in the country.
Auburn comes to the West Coast with an 18-8 overall record and ranked No. 25 nationally. Head coach Lauren Longbotham Meisner in her second season at the helm. It is the Tigers' first NCAA Tournament appearance since 2009.
Leading the way for Auburn is SEC Freshman of the Year Pleun Burgmans. The native of Veldhoven, Netherlands is ranked No. 22 in the country, and went 21-6 this season in her first year as a Tiger.
While Burgmans will line up opposite Jullien at No. 1 singles, she's also one half of an accomplished doubles team.
The freshman has teamed with senior Plamena Kurteva at No. 1 doubles this year, compiling a 13-4 record and carrying the No. 10 national ranking into Friday's match.
Auburn defeated Arkansas 4-3 in the first round of the SEC Tournament before falling 4-0 to No. 4-ranked Texas A&M in the next round.
In the second match of the day, No. 8 seed Cal takes on America East champion Stony Brook.
The Bears, ranked No. 8 nationally with a 16-5 record, are led by a trio of NCAA Tournament-bound singles players in Zsofi Susanyi, Anett Shutting and Klara Fabikova. Stony Brook is 12-4 overall and is led by the No. 124-ranked singles player in the country, Nini Lagvilava.