Feb. 13, 2014
UP NEXT: The Toreros (2-2) travel up north to face a pair of Washington opponents this weekend going up against the Washington State Cougars (8-1) and Gonzaga Bulldogs (1-3).
No. 65 San Diego (2-2) vs. Washington State (8-1)
Saturday, February 15th - 12:00 p.m. PT
Spokane, Wash., Stevens Tennis Center
No. 65 San Diego (2-2) vs. Gonzaga (1-3)
Sunday, February 16th - 1:30 p.m. PT
Spokane, Wash., Stevens Tennis Center
LAST TIME OUT: The Toreros came out with another thrilling performance last Friday, defeating Hawai'i 4-3 at the Skip and Cindy Hogan Tennis Center. The `Bows started off the match with great momentum, taking the doubles point after a grueling tiebreak at the No. 1 spot, defeating sophomore duo Shani Blecher and Marta Stojanovic 8-7(3). Freshman Colomba Di Filippo got the Toreros off to a great start in singles after an impressive performance. Di Filippo won her second match in a row, defeating the `Bow's Sarah Gealer 6-2, 6-1. With the Toreros down by one, sophomore Marta Stojanovic also won her second match in a row, beating Hawai'i's Xenia Suworowa 7-5, 6-1. Although Hawai'I took the lead again on court 1, the Toreros continued to be both aggressive and determined. Anna Depenau stayed consistent defeating `Bow's Martina Kostalova 6-4, 6-0, while fellow senior Idil Haciraifoglu clinched in an exciting victory over `Bow's Rebecca Faltusz 6-4, 6-3.
SCOUTING THE COUGARS: The Washington State Cougars (8-1) are coming off a pair of wins last weekend beating UC Santa Barbara 6-1 and Seattle University 4-1. For the eighth time in nine matches this season, the Cougs have taken the opening doubles point. Last season, the Cougs finished with a 14-12 overall record and were tabbed eighth in the Pac-12. Head coach Lisa Hart enters her 11th season with WSU notably leading her team to the NCAA tournament in both 2008 and 2012. The Toreros lead the all-time series record 7-4.
SCOUTING THE BULLDOGS: The Bulldogs (1-3) had an impressive fall season with three players picking up eight wins. Although there are no new players added to their roster, GU introduces assistant coach Caroline Lilley, a former collegiate standout at Georgia Tech University. Last Sunday, the Zags fell short losing to Montana 4-3. Last season, the Toreros ended GU's WCC tournament hopes defeating them 4-0 in the opening round, which resulted in a 9-13 overall record. The Toreros lead the all-time series record 6-0.
IN THE MIX: The Toreros moved down in the ranks at No. 65 after the release of the ITA National tennis rankings Tuesday afternoon, but look to continue their winning streak over the weekend.
MEET HEAD COACH SHERRI STEPHENS: Sherri Stephens recently wrapped up her 29th season at USD, going 12-11 (5-3) to secure her fifth consecutive winning season.
In 2012, Stephens led 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.
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 2012). 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).
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 especially memorable seasons with the Toreros. In 1999-2000, 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 No. 28. Lesenarova won the 1999 NCAA Singles Championship, holding her No. 1 ranking all spring and winning three of four ITA Grand Slam events. 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.
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