(Courtesy of Pepperdine Athletic Communications)
TULSA, Okla. – Freshman Luisa Stefani, of the Pepperdine women’s tennis team, bowed out of the NCAA Singles Championships semifinals at the Michael D. Case Tennis Center Sunday afternoon, falling after a hard-fought battle 7-6 (7), 6-4.
The sixth-ranked and seventh-seeded freshman went head-to-head with Virginia’s second-ranked Danielle Collins. After going down 5-2 in the first set, Stefani battle back to tie things up 5-5. With a 6-6 tie, the two went into the tiebreak decision to determine the winner of the first set. Both sides put in a strong effort, finding a 7-7 tie before Collins pulled ahead again, eventually amassing a 9-7 win to go up one set to none.
In the second set, the opposition worked ahead to the 5-1 mark before the freshman once again started to close the gap. After Stefani reached the 5-4 deficit, Collins picked up momentum and secured the 6-4 win to advance to the NCAA Singles Championship finals.
Stefani ends her freshman campaign with a 40-6 overall record throughout the 2015-16 campaign, including a 26-5 record against nationally ranked opposition. She went 22-2 in the dual season and 18-4 throughout tournament singles play. She was named ITA National Rookie of the Year, West Coast Conference Player and Freshman of the Year and to the All-WCC first team.
She was the second Wave in program history to reach the NCAA Singles Championship semifinal, with the first time occurring in the 1989 season. In her road through the singles tournament, she defeated Wichita State’s 92nd-ranked Gabriela Porubin (7-5, 6-3), Tennessee’s 50th-ranked Sadie Hammond (6-0, 6-3), Vanderbilt’s 14th-ranked Frances Altick (4-6, 6-2, 6-3) and Georgia’s 28th-ranked Kennedy Shaffer before reaching the semifinals against second-ranked Collins of Virginia.
NCAA Singles Tournament | Michael D. Case Tennis Center
Tulsa, Okla. | May 25-30, 2016
Round One (64): No. 6 Luisa Stefani (PEP) def. No. 92 Gabriela Porubin (Wichita State) – 7-5, 6-3
Round Two (32): No. 6 Luisa Stefani (PEP) def. No. 50 Sadie Hammond (Tennessee) – 6-0, 6-3
Round of 16: No. 6 Luisa Stefani (PEP) def. No. 14 Frances Altick (Vanderbilt) – 4-6, 6-2, 6-3
Quarterfinal: No. 6 Luisa Stefani (PEP) def. No. 28 Kennedy Shaffer (Georgia) – 6-1, 6-4
Semifinal: No. 2 Danielle Collins (Virginia) def. No. 6 Luisa Stefani (PEP) – 7-6 (7), 6-4
NCAA Doubles Tournament | Michael D. Case Tennis Center
Tulsa, Okla. | May 26-30, 2016
Round One (32): No. 19 Matea Cutura/Christine Maddox (PEP) def. No. 14 Sydney Campbell/Courtney Colton (Vanderbilt) – 7-6 (4), 7-5
Round One (32): No. 26 Luisa Stefani/Apichaya Runglerdkriangkrai (PEP) def. No. 13 Paige Hourigan/Kendal Woodard (Georgia Tech) – 6-2, 2-6, 10-5
Round of 16: No. 3 Brooke Austin/Kourtney Keegan (Florida) def. No. 19 Matea Cutura/Christine Maddox (PEP) – 6-3, 7-6 (4)
Round of 16: No. 4 Maegan Manasse- Denise Starr (CAL) def. No. 26 Luisa Stefani/Apichaya Runglerdkriangkrai (PEP) – 2-6, 6-4, 10-6