MORAGA, Calif. -- After a trip to Southern California netted the No. 37-ranked Saint Mary's women's tennis team a 1-1 record to begin the dual match season, the Gaels now return home to face No. 55 Fresno State on Sunday at 11 a.m.
Saint Mary's split a pair of matches at the ITA Kick-Off Weekend hosted by USC, defeating No. 58 Utah 4-2 before dropping the finale 4-0 to the No. 6-ranked Trojans. The USC match was much closer than the score indicated, with three Gaels -- Jenny Jullien, Jamie Pawid and Catherine Leduc -- each up a set in their respective matches when USC clinched the winning point.
Over the first two weeks of the season, Jullien and Pawid have battled for the title of best start by a Gaels tennis player. The No. 7-ranked player in the country, Jullien is 3-0 to begin the season after picking up two wins at the Cal Winter Invitational and one in Los Angeles. At the same time, Pawid is off to a 4-0 start that includes a straight-sets victory over No. 16-ranked Zsofi Susanyi of Cal.
Fresno State comes to Northern California this weekend with an 0-2 record in dual matches after dropping 4-0 decisions to No. 13 Clemson and No. 27 Purdue at another ITA Kick-Off event in Clemson, S.C. The Bulldogs will face Sacramento State on Saturday before taking on the Gaels Sunday.
Saint Mary's and Fresno State are already familiar with each other after squaring off at the Cal Winter Invitational. The Gaels won five of seven singles matches against the Bulldogs, with Jullien defeating No. 104-ranked Sophie Watts 7-6 (5), 6-4 in the premier match of the day. Saint Mary's also won two of three doubles matches as the teams of Jullien/Parminder Kaur and Jade Frampton/Elizabeth Searl each earned victories.
Sunday's match will be local fans' lone chance to see the Gaels at home in the month of February. Next on the schedule is a trip to the site of Saint Mary's biggest win in 2013, Stanford, on Feb. 8. That match is followed by a trip to Washington to face San Diego State and the host Huskies, a drive back to Stanford to face Florida and then road matches at USC and UCLA.