LAST TIME OUT: The Toreros haven't been in action since the ITA Kickoff Weekend (Jan. 26-27) in Los Angeles. The weather was uncooperative all weekend but the Toreros were still able to squeeze one match in, a 4-0 loss to No. 4 UCLA. The Toreros were scheduled to face South Florida in the consolation round, but the match was canceled due to rain.
SCOUTING THE CARDINAL: Stanford has only played in one match so far in the 2013 season, defeating UC Davis 6-1... Despite having only played one match, the Cardinal are ranked No. 5 in the latest ITA rankings... Freshman Krista Hardebeck was named the top newcomer in the nation by the ITA and currently is ranked at No. 2 overall... Sophomore Ellen Tsay is Stanford's only other ranked player and currently sit at No. 55.... Stanford's head coach, Lele Forood, enters her 13th season with a 308-19 career record. She was named 2003 ITA National Coach of the Year and has been awarded Pac-10 Coach of the Year five times...Stanford leads the all-time series 8-0, but the two teams haven't played since 1999.
SCOUTING THE WILDCATS: Arizona has had a busy season so far, having already played in six matches and posting a 4-2 record... The Wildcats are 2-2 against ranked teams with their wins coming against No. 41 Minnesota and No. 58 Sacramento State... Junior Lacey Smyth (Oceanside, CA) is the reigning Pac-12 Player of the Week. Smyth has been Arizona's No. 1 all season and holds a 5-1 records in singles... The Wildcats are coached by Vicky Maes. She is in her twelfth year and graduated from Arizona as one of their top tennis players in program history... The Wildcats lead the all-time series 12-2.
PLUGGING THE PROGRAM: The Toreros 2013 promotional video has been released. The video highlights the program's proud history, the new court surfaces at the Hogan Tennis Center, and the current Toreros tennis players. The video was shot and edited by senior captain Cara Brown. The video can be seen below.
KIDS DAY: Head Coach Sherri Stephens is pleased to announce that Saturday's match against Arizona will be kid's day. All young Torero tennis fans are encouraged to come out eat some pizza and support the team.
CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW?: Radiotennis.com will be at both home matches this weekend providing live audio commentary. They will also be airing the USD Men's tennis team's match against Arizona, which follows the women's match vs. the Wildcats on Saturday. To listen live, click here. http://radiotennis.com/ IN THE MIX: The Toreros were ranked as the No. 49 team in the ITA rankings that came out on January 30, dropping one spot from No. 48. The ITA did not release new women's rankings this week due to the ITA National Indoor Championships that are taking place this weekend in Charlottesville, Virginia. New team, singles, and doubles rankings will be released February 12.
PRESEASON PRAISE: The Toreros were picked to finish third in the 2013 WCC preseason poll and junior Anna Depenau was one of six WCC players named to the preseason WCC all-conference team. The Toreros, who won their first WCC Championship in school history last season, received 54 points overall. No. 49 USD came in behind conference favorite No. 33 Pepperdine and No. 40 Saint Mary's. The Waves, who had three players named to the preseason all conference team, received six first place votes and 61 points overall, while the Gaels received three first place votes and 56 points overall.
BEAR DOWN: Head Coach Sherri Stephens will take on her alma mater, Arizona, on Saturday. Stephens, a Phoenix, Ariz. native, enrolled at Arizona as a nationally-ranked player on the junior circuit and graduated in 1979. Stephens got her first coaching job as an assistant for the Wildcats.
2011-12 IN REVIEW: The 2011-12 season was one of the best seasons in USD women's tennis history. The Toreros went 13-9 and 9-2 in WCC play on their way to winning their first WCC Championship in school history. The Toreros finished the season ranked No. 50 and qualified for the NCAA Tournament for the second consecutive year, where they fell to No. 28 Vanderbilt 4-1. Head Coach Sherri Stephens received WCC Coach of the Year for the third time in her career and for the second straight year after helping the team earn seven All-WCC selections. Highlighting the honors were senior Juliette Coupez and sophomore Anna Depenau, who both earned first-team All-WCC recognition in singles. Junior Laura Claus earned honorable mention honors as well. In doubles, Depenau and senior Maja Sujica took home first-team accolades, while Coupez and Claus were named to the second team.
MEET HEAD COACH Sherri Stephens: Coach Stephens is entering her 29th season with the Toreros and has a career record of 334-299 (.528). Stephens arrived at USD in the fall of 1984 and immediately began to reshape the women's tennis fortunes. During her time coaching the Toreros, she has advanced her team to the NCAA Tournament 11 times (1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2011 and 2021). The Toreros have finished among the nation's top-25 in eight seasons, with a high of #14 in 1989, (18-8 overall record), which was USD's first team to advance to the NCAA's. Stephens has also had five Toreros receive a total of twelve NCAA All-American honors: Tonya Fuller (1991), Laura Richards (1992, 1993), Julie McKeon (1992, 1993, 1994), most recently Zuzana Lesenarova (1997, 1998, 1999, 2000), and Katarina Valkyova (1999, 2000). Stephens wrapped up her 28th season (2011-12) at USD by leading the Toreros to their first ever WCC championship with a 4-2 win over Pepperdine and garnering her second consecutive WCC Coach of the Year honor. Stephens' squad made their 11th overall trip to the NCAA Tournament in 2011-12 and second in a row. In 2010-11, Stephens helped lead the Toreros to a 19-6 record, the highest win total in her tenure at the University of San Diego, and winning her second-career West Coast Conference Coach of the Year honor. Stephens guided the Toreros to their first NCAA appearance since 1999, defeating UNLV in the first round by a score of 4-2 before falling to host UCLA 4-0 in the second round. The second round finish matched the best NCAA finish in USD history and the fifth time Stephens has led the Toreros to the second round.
Under Stephens' guidance the Toreros came in second in the WCC Championships behind Pepperdine in 2011 and placed all six regulars on the All-WCC singles and doubles teams. The Toreros also posted their best team winning percentage in 2011 with a .760 mark under Stephens, while also setting a new team record with a 14-1 record at Hogan Tennis Center and tying the team record with nine dual match shutouts on the year. Stephens helped guide USD to a team-record 11-consecutive dual match victories and their highest ranking (23rd) since the 1994 season. The Toreros also spent five straight weeks in the Campbell/ITA Top-25 after opening the season with a No. 67 ranking.
In 2010, Stephens notched her 300th career win en route to a 13-12 dual record, a final ITA ranking of #65, and a third place finish at the WCC Championships. Also in 2010, former Torero great, Zuzana Lesenarova, the 1999 NCAA Division I Singles Champion and four-time ITA All-American, was inducted into the WCC Hall of Honor.
With Coach Stephen's leadership, the Toreros have gained respect as a national contender and she has turned the women's tennis program into one of the most respected programs in the nation. Coach Stephens has had two memorable seasons (1998-1999, 1999-2000) with the Toreros. During the 1999-2000 season, USD women's tennis team, which finished with a national ranking of 75 had two individuals appear in the NCAA Division I Women's Tennis Tournament held in Malibu, CA. Zuzana Lesenarova advanced to the third round of the singles tournament, eventually losing to Stanford's Laura Granville in three sets (6-0, 4-6, 6-3). Katarina Valkyova lost in the first round to Cincinnati's Kara Molony in three sets (6-0, 3-6, 6-3). The Lesenarova/ Valkyova duo entered the NCAA doubles tournament ranked No. 1 in the nation, but had to withdraw due to injury. Both Lesenarova and Valkyova earned NCAA All-American honors in 2000.
In the 1998-1999 season, her squad finished 14-11 overall, advancing to the 2nd round of the NCAA's and finishing with a national ranking of 28. Zuzana Lesenarova won the 1999 NCAA Singles Championship, holding her No. 1 ranking all spring and winning three of four ITA Grand Slam events. Kataring Valkyova was a third alternate at the NCAA's and she advanced to the quarters where she was dealt a three-set loss by Lesenarova. The duo teamed up in doubles play to advance to the NCAA semifinal round. Lesenarova and Valkyova were named 1999 NCAA All-Americans.
Well-respected among her peers in the coaching profession, Stephens has been a featured speaker at several ITA Coaches' Conventions. Twice she has had the privilege of coaching at the Olympic Sports Festival (1993/South, 1995/West), with her 1995 squad winning the gold medal. She was named the 1994 Female Coach of the Year by the USTA, Southern California Section/San Diego District. Sherri has been involved with numerous administrative positions within collegiate tennis such as: the NCAA Ranking Committee, the NCAA Rules Committee, and as Tournament Chairman for the All-American National Championships the past five years. She also runs summer camps every year.
Stephens is a native of Phoenix, Arizona, and was a nationally ranked player on the junior circuit before enrolling at the University of Arizona. After completing her collegiate playing career in 1979, she began her coaching career as an assistant for the Arizona Wildcats.