(Courtesy of Pepperdine Athletic Communications)
TULSA, Okla. – Freshman Luisa Stefani, the sixth-ranked singles standout for the Pepperdine women’s tennis team, advanced through the first round of the NCAA Singles Championships this Wednesday afternoon with a two-set victory over Wichita State’s Gabriela Porubin at the Michael D. Case Tennis Center.
She came back from an early deficit in the first set against 92nd-ranked Porubin to win 7-5. Then, pulling ahead to a 3-0 advantage in the second set, Stefani had the edge and came away with the 6-3 second set win to move on in the tournament.
“I think that you have to deal with a little bit of nerves in every first round,” said Stefani. “I was a little nervous in the beginning, and the weather conditions were not easy today. I just tried to stay focused and play my game. I am really glad I got through the first round.”
Stefani, seeded seventh in the tournament, became the first Wave to advance to the singles tournament second round since 1999 when Angela Lawrence achieved the feat. Stefani is the highest seeded Wave since 1990 when Ginger Helgeson was seeded second going into the tournament.
“I think today I had a tough match, and I just have to use that as motivation. It’s not easy to play the first round, and so getting through it is a big step. I just used this match as a way to figure out what the weather is going to be like, and hopefully it will carry over to the second round.”
She will go head-to-head with 50th-ranked Sadie Hammond of the University of Tennessee tomorrow (May 26). The start time of the match is still to be determined.
Stefani and junior doubles partner Apichaya Runglerdkriangkrai, a team ranked 26th in the Oracle/ITA rankings, will also compete in the doubles championships tomorrow against Georgia Tech’s Paige Hourigan and Kendal Woodard. The fellow Wave partnership of 19th-ranked senior Matea Cutura and junior Christine Maddox will go head-to-head against Sydney Campbell and Courtney Colton of Vanderbilt to open the tournament. The doubles tournament will begin at 2 p.m. PT (4 p.m. CT).
NCAA Singles Tournament | Michael D. Case Tennis Center
Tulsa, Okla. | March 25-30, 2016
Round One (64): No. 6 Luisa Stefani (PEP) def. No. 92 Gabriela Porubine (Wichita State) – 7-5, 6-3
Round Two (32): No. 6 Luisa Stefani (PEP) vs. No. 50 Sadie Hammond (Tennessee) – TBD
NCAA Doubles Tournament | Michael D. Case Tennis Center
Tulsa, Okla. | March 26-30, 2016
Round One (32): No. 19 Matea Cutura/Christine Maddox (PEP) vs. Sydney Campbell/Courtney Colton (Vanderbilt) – TBD
Round One (32): No. 26 Luisa Stefani/Apichaya Runglerdkriangkrai (PEP) vs. Paige Hourigan/Kendal Woodard (Georgia Tech) - TBD