Toreros Host No. 71 LMU and First Place Pepperdine This Weekend USD (4-2) looks to move up in the WCC standings with two crucial home matches
Freshman Marta Stojanovic is 11-4 in singles so far this season
April 9, 2013
-- No. 53 San Diego (9-9, 4-2) vs. No. 71 Loyola Marymount (9-7, 2-2)
Friday, April 12, 2013, 1:30 p.m.
-- No. 53 San Diego (9-9, 4-2) vs. Pepperdine (7-10, 4-0)
Saturday, April 13, 2013, 11:00 a.m.
Both matches will be played at the Hogan Tennis Center
LAST TIME OUT: The Toreros went 1-1 on their WCC road trip to the Bay Area. After defeating No. 67 San Francisco on Friday, the Toreros fell to Santa Clara on Saturday.
In a match that lasted nearly six hours, the Toreros found themselves in a 3-1 hole to San Francisco with three singles matches to go. The Toreros showed poise down the stretch to claim the 4-3 victory. Cara Brown won 6-4, 7-5 at the No. 6, which was followed by a 4-6, 6-1, 7-6 (7-2) victory for Marta Stojanovic at the No. 3 to tie it at 3-3. Junior Anna Depenau came back to win the last two sets at the No. 4 after dropping the first one to clinch the 4-3 victory for the Toreros. Depenau’s final score was 1-6, 7-5, 7-5.
The following day at Santa Clara, the Toreros struggled at lost 6-1. After losing the doubles point, the Toreros would lose five of the six singles matches. The lone singles winner for USD was Marta Stojanovic, who continues her impressive freshman campaign. Stojanovic won 7-5, 6-3 at the No. 3 and now hasn’t lost in her last six matches.
SCOUTING THE LIONS: LMU finds themselves in the ITA Top 75 rankings for the second consecutive week after beating Gonzaga and Portland at home last week. After being No. 73 last week, the Lions moved up to No. 71… The Lions have an overall record of 9-7 and a 2-2 conference record… Their conference losses came to Santa Clara and San Francisco, who the Toreros split with last week… The Lions are 6-2 since the beginning of March… LMU travels to Cal State Fullerton on Wednesday, which will be there first road match since March 10… Freshman Kristine Kouyoumijan has been on fire of late, winning her last 11 singles matches to bring her overall record to 13-3… April Bisharat and Claudia Razzeto are 7-2 at the doubles No. 1 for the Toreros… LMU has only had one head coach in program history, Jamie Sanchez. He is in his 38th season at LMU and has a 459-453 record. The Toreros are 29-4 all-time against the Lions and beat them 6-1 last year on the road.
SCOUTING THE WAVES: Pepperdine started out the season by losing their first nine matches, but have rebounded just in time for WCC play. The Waves have now won seven of their last eight matches to bring their overall record to 7-10… The Waves are also the last remaining undefeated team in conference play at 4-0, although they remain outside the ITA rankings… The Waves are 0-4 on the road this season… The Waves have two singles players ranked by the ITA: No. 31 Lorraine Guillermo (11-5 at the No. 1) and No. 56 Khunpak Issara (15-2 at the No. 2)… Guillermo and Issara are also ranked as a doubles tandem, where they come in at No. 11 with an impressive 13-3 record at the No. 1 spot…Under Head Coach Gualberto Escudero, the Waves have won a remarkable 22 of the last 25 WCC titles… In his 35 years, Escudero has led the Waves to 29 NCAA Tournament appearances and coached 31 All-Americans… Pepperdine owns a commanding 46-2 advantage in the all-time series. However the Toreros won the last time these two teams met, in the WCC Championship, when it mattered most.
IN THE MIX: The Toreros remained at No. 53 in the latest ITA rankings after going 1-1 last week. The Toreros have been in the rankings for the entire season, except for one week. Their highest ranking was No. 40 on February 12… Senior Laura Claus moved up five spots in the singles rankings to No. 103… Claus is also ranked in doubles, where her and freshman Shani Blecher sit at No. 68.
SERBIN’ IT UP: Freshman Marta Stojanovic (Belgrade, Serbia) holds the team’s highest singles winning percentage with her 11-4 record. After starting the season as the Toreros No. 5, Stojanovic was moved to the No. 4 after posting a 6-2 record at the No. 5. After the injury bug bit the Toreros, Stojanovic has moved up the No. 3 where she 2-1 so far.
GOING AGAINST THE BEST: 12 of the Toreros 16 matches have come against teams ranked by the ITA, with four of them coming against teams in the top ten. The Toreros are 4-8 in those matches thus far, and will look to improve on that mark when they host No. 71 LMU on Friday.
WCC WATCH: The Toreros wrap up WCC play this weekend after their matches against LMU and Pepperdine. Entering the weekend, the Toreros sit in 4th place with a 4-2 conference record. The Toreros sit behind Pepperdine (5-0), Santa Clara (5-1), and Saint Mary’s (5-1)
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.
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. 64 USD came in behind conference favorite Pepperdine (who is now 0-8) and Saint Mary's (7-6, 3-0). 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.
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 Lesenarova dealt her a three-set loss. 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.