Heading into Saturday’s West Regional match against Cal Poly Pomona, UC San Diego head coach Liz LaPlante carries an impressive array of accomplishments while at the helm of the women’s tennis program. LaPlante, in her 29th season as a Triton, has guided her squad to an astonishing 48 consecutive wins in California Collegiate Athletic Association play. With a 13-10 record this season, LaPlante now carries a 452-188 overall record for a .706 winning percentage. For the Tritons, seeded 4th regionally, this season marks their fifth straight CCAA title and 27th consecutive trip to the NCAA postseason. LaPlante talks about this Saturday’s match, which starts at 11 a.m. on UCSD’s Northview Tennis Courts, her style of coaching and how impressed she has been with her 2008 team.
Q—Does your routine as a coach change as the regular season ends and the postseason starts up?
LAPLANTE—The routine doesn’t really change. Just want to make sure everyone stays healthy. A few players have injuries so we just have to make sure they are not overdoing it, but still doing enough to be ready
Q—What attitude does this year’s team have heading into the NCAA Division II West Regional?
LAPLANTE—With so many freshmen, they are excited and I hope they realize the importance and significance of their accomplishment. They have been working hard and I’m trying to keep them focused. We know we have to beat Pomona again to get to play BYU Hawaii so they need to be ready.
Q—You have beaten Cal Poly Pomona twice already this year. How much do you worry about your players overlooking an opponent in the postseason that you’ve had tremendous success against earlier in the year?
LAPLANTE—I make sure they know that no team can be taken lightly since anyone can have a great day or a bad day. CPP has some good players with a lot of potential and since they have nothing to lose, they can come in a little more relaxed
Q—With Saturday’s match being played on the UCSD campus, do you see a noticeable home court advantage in tennis?
LAPLANTE—It’s definitely easier to play at home just because of the fan support and we’re so used to our courts and the environment.
Q— When someone brings up the streak of 48 consecutive league matches won, what is your favorite topic of conversation to switch to?
LAPLANTE—We are proud of that streak, but it’s the NCAA postseason play that has the most significance and where we get to compete against the tougher competition.
Q—What do you feel are the pros and cons of coaching a team of almost half freshmen?
LAPLANTE—I’ve never had a stronger or more talented group of freshmen and it’s been great to see their progress, their improvement, the friendships that have evolved and how close they have become as a team. It was a little challenging in the beginning just getting everyone to bond and get to know one another, but it’s amazing how quickly they all came together and obviously with a small team of 15 it’s a lot easier for this to happen.
Q— In all of the road trips you’ve taken to compete in tennis matches, what has been your favorite destination?
LAPLANTE—Hawaii is definitely a great place to travel, although we’re never stayed there for too long. It’s always a treat for the team.
Q—Over your 29 years as UCSD head coach, what is your favorite way to celebrate a big victory? Also, how do you free your mind of a frustrating defeat?
LAPLANTE—I celebrate by seeing how happy the team is and hoping that I’ve played a part in making it happen. On the other hand I take the losses personally wondering what I could have done better to get the team prepared
Q—Molly Sullens and Justine Ang Fonte are both playing in their final matches as Tritons this postseason. Can you talk a little bit about coaching them and their success as student-athletes?
LAPLANTE—It has been so great to have them on the team all four years. They have played a significant part in our success and I will really miss them. Both of them are so competitive and have worked extremely hard, and been great examples to this year’s team. Justine was team captain and made it her mission to make sure the freshmen understood the importance of team unity for our success and it all wouldn’t have come together without her.
Previous Q&A ArticlesSydney Gstettenbauer (Women's Water Polo) April 22, 2008
Sarah Hendy (Women's Track and Field) April 17, 2008
Eric Leserman (Men's Volleyball) April 9, 2008
Danielle Lukk (Softball) April 4, 2008
Chris Franco (Baseball) March 24, 2008
Dan Perdew (Swimming) March 18, 2008
Evan Hsiao (Swimming) March 9, 2008Eric Rubens (Men's Tennis) February 27, 2008
Melissa Ward (Softball) February 20, 2008
Cameron Sprowles (Fencing) February 13, 2008
Kim Hockett (Women's Water Polo) February 6, 2008
Trevor Decker (Baseball) January 31, 2008
Jordan Lawley (Men's Basketball) January 23, 2008
Jason Spangler (Men's Volleyball) January 5, 2008
Andrew Skewes (Men's Diving) December 26, 2007
Alexis Gaskin (Women's Basketball) December 17, 2007
Aubrey Panis (Women's Swimming) December 2, 2007
Andrew Hatch (Men's Basketball) November 26, 2007
Kevin Klein (Men's Cross Country) November 12, 2007
Kim Adams (Women's Volleyball) November 7, 2007
Ben Miller (Men's Water Polo) October 31, 2007
Alie Avina (Women's Soccer) October 19, 2007
Charity Elliott (Women's Basketball Head Coach) October 15, 2007
Jason Le (Men's Soccer ) October 3, 2007
Rebecca Bailey (Women's Volleyball) September 18, 2007
Amanda Burkhardt (Women's Cross Country) September 10, 2007
Curtis Williamson (Men's Water Polo) September 4, 2007