Feb. 29, 2012
SAN DIEGO, Calif. - UP NEXT: #70 San Diego (1-5) at #2 USC (9-1)
Saturday, Mar. 3rd - 12:00 pm PT
Los Angeles, Calif. - Marks Stadium
LAST TIME OUT: The Toreros had their scheduled match at Stanford cancelled this past Sunday. In their last action, USD lost both matches at home with a 5-2 loss to then-No. 26 South Carolina on Feb. 17th, followed by a 4-3 defeat at the hands of then-No. 72 LSU on Feb. 19th.
A LOOK AT USC: The second-ranked Trojans (9-1) come into the week having won their last two matches, including a 4-3 home win over then-No. 5 Cal on Feb. 25th. USC will play No. 1 UCLA this Thursday before the Toreros come to Marks Stadium on Saturday. USC's ranked singles players include: Zoe Scandalis (No. 13), Danielle Lao (No. 16), Sabrina Santamaria (No. 26), Kaitlyn Christian (No. 84). On the doubles side, USC's ranked pairs include: Christian/Santamaria (No. 3), Scandalis/Pulido (No. 39). USC leads the all-time series 21-3 and is 10-1 against USD at home all-time. The Toreros lost to then-No 17 USC last season, 5-2 at home.
FAMILIAR FOES: USC will be the fourth Pac-12 opponent that USD has faced this year. The Toreros are 0-3 so far against Pac-12 teams and are 4-5 against Pac-12 squads over the past three seasons.
SILVER LINING: While the team has struggled out of the gates this season, Juliette Coupez (Lesquin, France) has been a consistent fixture in the Torero lineup during the team's first six matches. The senior is 5-1 in dual singles play, playing primarily at No. 3. She is a team-best 13-4 overall in singles action this season.
IN THE MIX: The Toreros opened the season ranked 33rd in the preseason ITA rankings released on Jan. 3rd, and have been as high as No. 32 (on Jan. 24th) this season. Last year the Toreros made a huge jump in the rankings over the course of the season after receiving a No. 67 preseason ranking. USD climbed as high as No. 23 before finishing in the top-30 (No. 29) for the 10th time in team history and first time since the 1999 season.
PICKING UP WHERE SHE LEFT OFF: Junior Laura Claus (Wiesbaden, Germany) led the Toreros with a 10-4 singles record this fall. Last season Claus led the team in singles wins as well with a 24-6 overall record. This fall, Claus won the singles consolation final at the Longhorn Invitational in Austin, TX and advanced to the round of 16 in the USTA/ITA Southwest Regional Championships.
RECAPPING 2010-2011: The Toreros are coming off their best season in years after going 19-6 overall and finishing second in the West Coast Conference. The Toreros wrapped up the season ranked 29th, their highest team ranking since 1999, and made their first NCAA appearance since 1999, defeating UNLV 4-2 in the first round before falling to UCLA 4-0 in the second round. The team's 19 wins were the most in program history as the Toreros set a handful of other team records in the process, including having the highest team winning percentage (.760), best home record (14-1), and the most consecutive dual match victories (11). Head coach Sherri Stephens took home her second WCC Coach of the Year honor, while all six regulars earned spots on the All-WCC teams. Laura Claus earned first-team All-WCC honors in singles, while Juliette Coupez and Stephanie Hoffpauir were named second-team in singles and Anna Depenau, Maja Sujica, and Josymar Escalona each earned honorable mention nods. In doubles, Coupez and Hoffpauir found a spot on the first-team, while Depenau and Sujica and Claus and Escalona earned honorable mention honors.
HEAD COACH Sherri Stephens: Now in her 28th year with a career record of 321-289 (.526), Sherri Stephens wrapped up the 2010-2011 season by leading 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. The second round finish by the Toreros this past season matched the best NCAA finish in USD history and the fifth time Stephens has led the Toreros to the second round. 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 10 times (1989, 1990, 1991, 1992, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999 and 2011). 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). 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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