Laura Claus and the Toreros look to upset No. 2 UCLA on Saturday
Jan. 24, 2013
UP NEXT: NO. 48 USD vs. No. 2 UCLA ITA Kickoff Weekend Saturday, January 26th - 12:00 p.m. Los Angeles Tennis Center - UCLA
If USD wins, they play the winner of No. 43 South Florida and No. 47 Washington on Sunday, January 27th at 1:00 p.m.
If USD loses, they play the loser of that match on Sunday, January 27th at 10:00 a.m.
LAST TIME OUT: The Toreros opened the 2013 season with a 5-2 victory over Cal St. Fullerton last Saturday morning. The Toreros started out the day by sweeping doubles play. Seniors Cara Brown and Stephanie Hoffpauir, who were partners last year, tallied the first victory for USD, winning 8-2 at No. 3. Junior Anna Depenau and freshman Marta Stojanovic rallied to win seven straight games after falling behind 3-1 to win 8-3 at No. 2. Senior Laura Claus and freshman Shany Blecher finished off doubles play with an 8-5 victory at No. 1. USD would clinch the victory by winning their first three singles matches. Stojanovic earned USD's first singles win, winning 6-1, 6-0 at No. 4. Hoffpauir followed that up by cruising to a 6-0, 6-0 victory at No. 1. Blecher clinched the victory for the Toreros with a 6-1, 6-1 win at No. 2. Depenau earned the final singles victory at No. 3 6-6, 6-1.
SCOUTING THE BRUINS: UCLA advanced all the way to the national championship last year before falling to Florida... The Bruins enter the weekend ranked No. 2 by the ITA and feature a roster that has four top 100 players as well as three doubles pairs ranked in the top 30... The Bruins are led by sophomore Robin Anderson, who won both the USTA/ITA Southwest Region and the USTA/ITA National Intercollegiate Indoor Championships singles title last season. Anderson currently holds a No. 6 singles ranking...The Bruins other ranked singles players are No. 38 Kaitlin Ray, No. 47 Kyle McPhillips, and No. 96 Pamela Montez... UCLA is coached by Stella Sampras Webster, who has a 272-120 record in 16 seasons...USD has played UCLA 13 times but has never been able to come away with a victory.
SCOUTING THE BULLS: South Florida enters this weekend's tournament with a No. 43 ITA ranking... The Bulls feature two players in the ITA singles rankings with Katie Vasenina at No. 35 and Loreta Alonso at No. 75... Vasenina and Alonso are ranked No. 50 as doubles partners... The Bulls are led by Agustin Moreno, who has a 94-63 record in seven seasons... USD leads the all-time series with the Bulls 3-1.
SCOUTING THE HUSKIES: Washington is 3-0 on the season and has won all their matches 7-0... The Huskies have faced one ranked opponent in Hawaii, who was No. 54 when UW beat them...The Huskies lone ranked singles player is Grace Ysidora who currently sits at No. 107... Head Coach Jill Hultquist is entering her eighth season and has led the Huskies to the NCAA Tournament in four of the past five seasons... USD holds a slight edge in the all-time series at 14-11.
IN THE MIX: The Toreros remained at No. 48 in the ITA rankings after defeating Cal St. Fullerton 5-2 last Saturday. The Toreros finished last season at No. 50 after winning their first WCC Championship in school history.
GETTING OFF ON THE RIGHT FOOT: After last Saturday's 5-2 victory over Cal St. Fullerton, the Toreros have now won eight of their last nine season openers. The Toreros had their streak of seven straight season opener victories snapped last year when they fell to No. 28 Washington in the ITA Kickoff Weekend after their original home opener with Fullerton was canceled due to rain.
OPENING WITH A BANG: Senior Stephanie Hoffpauir kicked off the 2013 on a good note defeating Fullerton's Tiffani Mai 6-0, 6-0 in the No. 1 spot last Saturday. It was the first time Hoffpauir had swept an opponent 6-0, 6-0 in her career.
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.