Dec. 11, 2007
BEAUMONT - After an impressive start to her college career during the fall season, Lamar University freshman Mariaryeni Gutierrez has been ranked as the No. 15 player in the Fila Collegiate Tennis Southwest Regional Rankings.
Gutierrez, ,a native of San Antonio, Venezuela, made her strongest impression of the fall when knocked off six opponents at the 2007 Wilson/ITA Regional Championships, advancing out of the qualifying bracket to go to the quarterfinals. She was the only player out of the eight that advanced from the qualifying draw to go as far as the main draw quarterfinals.
In addition to her play at the Southwest Regional, Gutierrez was also impressive in her other outings, winning the B draw of the Baylor Invitational and posting a 3-0 record at the Southern Miss. Fall Classic. She also captured the title at the 88th Annual Beaumont Labor Day Tennis Classic.
"It is a great honor to be ranked in the top 15 of the region because there are so many good players," head coach David Wong said. "Mariaryeni did a great job this fall, but she continues to work very hard at becoming an even better play. She is one of the hardest working individuals I have ever coached."
As for Gutierrez, the ranking is a sign that this year's Lady Cardinals tennis team could be very special.
"We can be a very good team," she said. "If I can do it, everyone on the team can do it. If we play up to our ability and play hard every time we are on the court, we can meet our goals for the season.
"I expect to play better in the spring than I did in the fall. Training harder, focusing on fitness and listening to my coaches will help me continue to get better."
Gutierrez has also garnered recognition in doubles play with partner Andrea Martinez, earning a No. 5 ranking. The pair only played a couple of tournaments together during the fall, but they made an impact when they played. The duo made a run to the quarterfinals of the Southwest Regional while going 3-1 and knocking off the No. 3 team from the University of Texas. They also posted a 3-2 record at the Southern Miss. tournament.
The individual success of Gutierrez and Martinez's past success in singles and doubles helped the pair to the strong ranking. They are the only doubles team from the Southland Conference to be ranked in the top 15.
Martinez, a native of Durango, Mexico, has a history of success in doubles play, putting together the two best single season performances in school history with former partner Tara Shelander. That pair posted a career record of 42-3 over two spring seasons, going 21-1 in 2006 and 21-2 in 2007. Martinez garnered SLC player of the year Player of the Year and All-SLC first team honors as a junior and First Team All-SLC honors at No.1 doubles and Second Team All-SLC honors at No. 1 singles as a sophomore.