SAN BRUNO, Calif. - FIVE with West Coast Conference ties were selected for major ITA Tennis Regional Awards, the Intercollegiate Tennis Association announced Monday afternoon.
On the women's tennis side, Pepperdine's Luisa Stefani was named the Southwest Region Rookie of the Year and Player to Watch while San Diego's Nadia Abdala was named the Assistant Coach of the Year. For the men, Pacific senior Sem Verbeek captured three awards - Northwest Region Senior Player of the Year, Most Improved Player (Senior), and Arthur Ashe Leadership and Sportsmanship Award - while Loyola Marymount's Cristobal Rivera was the Southwest Region's Most Improved Player and San Diego's Filip Vittek was picked as the region's Player to Watch.
Select coaches in each region comprised the awards committee that picked Regional awards, while the National award winners for Division I will be announced on Tuesday, May 24.
Stefani, the WCC Freshman and Player of the Year, has amassed a 19-2 overall record this dual season from the number one singles position and has gone 33-5 throughout the 2015-16 campaign altogether. She has amassed a 20-4 record against nationally ranked opponents and is currently on a five-match winning streak heading into the NCAA Championships. Stefani was also tabbed to the All-WCC first team and the WCC All-Tournament team.
Abdala has had a profound impact both on and off the court in just her second season at San Diego. The Mexico City native came to USD after a successful playing career at Arizona State University and time on the WTA professional tour. This season she helped lead the team nearly double their win total from last season while incorporating younger Toreros into the lineup.
Verbeek, a senior from Amsterdam, The Netherlands, capped his career with the Tigers with a 19-2 singles record and 15-5 doubles mark. He went 9-0 in West Coast Conference play and a 10-0 mark against conference opponents in singles. Verbeek earned WCC Player of the Year honors and First Team All-West Coast Conference and is now recognized by the ITA as the top player in the region with with the Northwest Region Senior Player of the Year Award.
Rivera, an honorable mention All-WCC singles player in 2014 prior to his second-team nod this year, went 20-13 overall in singles play, including 10-9 in dual matches. The native of Santa Monica, Calif. was 5-2 in WCC play, and recorded three decisions at #1 singles and nine at #2 singles. On the doubles side, Rivera teamed with Charles Boyce to go 12-7 in 2016. The duo was 5-3 in WCC play, and was 12-3 when competing at #2 doubles.
Vittek enters the postseason with 23 wins in singles and a career-best 24 doubles wins. The Slovakia native has the opportunity to add to those numbers during this week's NCAA Championship Tournament as the No. 28 Toreros face the No. 34 Vanderbilt Commodores on May 13 at 10 a.m.