Head coach Sherri Stephens led her team to win the WCC Tournament in 2012
April 22, 2014
UP NEXT: The University of San Diego women's tennis team (9-11, 4-5 WCC) prep for the first round of the West Cost Conference Championship Tournament this Wednesday at Barnes Tennis Center in San Diego, Calif.
No. 5 San Diego (9-11, 4-5 WCC) vs. No. 8 Loyola Marymount (8-14, 2-7 WCC)
Wednesday, April 23rd - 12:30 p.m. PT at San Diego, Calif., Barnes Tennis Center
If USD advances, they will face the winner of No. 4 Santa Clara (10-9, 5-4 WCC) vs. No. 9 Portland (6-10, 2-7 WCC) on Thursday at 12:30 p.m.
LAST TIME OUT: The Toreros fell to the Portland Pilots 4-2 to close out their regular season.
Doubles proved to be a battle for the Toreros. Senior Anna Depenau and freshman Colomba DiFilippo saw their winning streak come to end, while sophomores Shani Blecher and Marta Stojanovic were edged out 8-6. In singles play, the Pilots picked up the first point of the afternoon at the No. 1 spot to extend their lead. The Toreros began to come back after DiFilippo continued her impressive performance taking down Portland’s Tori Troesch 6-1, 6-2. Stojanovic faced her third three-set match in a row, coming out on top in a 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 victory.
Although the Toreros equalized the score to 2-2, the Pilots began to pull away. Pilots’ grabbed a three-set win over Depenau, while clinching at the No. 5 spot.
SCOUTING THE LIONS: The Lions concluded their regular season with a loss at No. 23 Pepperdine. The squad has struggled in league play (2-7) with their only wins coming from Portland and Pacific. Earlier in the year, the Toreros narrowly ousted the Lions, edging them out 4-3 at the LMU Tennis Center. After dropping a tight doubles point, the Lions extended their lead after an injury forced Blecher to retire on court one. The Toreros would answer with two convincing wins: Stojanovic knocked off Lions' Jessica Perez 6-3, 6-1, while DiFilippo defeated Lauri Mueller 6-2, 6-2. The Lions would gain back their momentum when Ellie Grossman defeated sophomore Mikayla Morkel-Brink 6-3, 6-3.
The remaining matches on court featured the two seniors on the squad: Haciraifoglu at the No. 5 spot and Depenau at the No. 3 spot. Although losing a tight second set, Haciraifoglu got the victory over Lions' Reka Rohonyi 6-1, 4-6, 6-3. It would then come down to Depenau, who despite losing the first set in a tiebreak, stayed confident and came back to win the second set 7-6(2). It was then smooth sailing from that point on as Depenau took the third set and the match 6-2.
CLOSING TIME: This week’s WCC Tournament could mark the last matches in the career of two Torero seniors. Anna Depenau (Banana) and Idil Haciraifoglu (Idilio) are hoping to extend their careers by winning the WCC Tournament to receive an automatic bid for the NCAA Tournament. No matter how or when the season ends, these two Toreros have already left their mark on the program through their individual success and leadership.
WCC HONORS: Anna Depenau and Colomba DiFilippo were honored by the West Coast Conference on Monday afternoon. Senior Anna Depenau received an Honorable Mention selection for singles and doubles with partner Colomba DiFilippo.
Depenau, the team’s captain, went 7-1 in singles against WCC competition and has won ten of her last eleven matches. Depenau finished with a 13-3 overall dual match record and has played at both the No. 2 and 3 spots. Depenau is no stranger to All-WCC, achieving postseason honors all four years in her collegiate career. Depenau has always been an extremely dependable member of the team and is known to grind out matches for as long as they make take.
Depenau and DiFilippo are a brand new doubles tandem, playing at the No. 2 spot for the first time this season. Their chemistry was inevitable and they have been a crucial factor in securing the doubles point for the Toreros. Not only have they received WCC Doubles Team of the Week honors, but have won nine of their last ten matches. The duo have taken down teams from nationally-ranked schools such as No. 34 St. Mary’s, No. 52 BYU, and No. 72 Santa Clara.
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.