Blue Demons Open Their Season Sept. 22 at the Bradley Invitational
DePaul comes up short 4-0 against the No. 11-ranked team in the country
Junior who hadn't played tennis in two years delivers BIG EAST title in tournament's dramatic final match
The three-day competition wrapped up Sunday with a round of singles
Tennis standout to represent league as nominee for prestigious honor
Women's Tennis Photo Day -- 2012
Mark Ardizzone begins his 22nd season as the head coach of the DePaul women's tennis program in 2017-18. The winningest coach in the program's history, Ardizzone has established himself as mentor both on and off the court and continues to lead his squads to the next level.
When Ardizzone took the DePaul job in 1995 he had a list of goals for the program and number one was for his team to reach the NCAA Tournament. In 2010, that goal became a reality when the Blue Demons were chosen for an at-large berth to the NCAA Championship. After spending most of the season ranked in the top 30 in the ITA Team rankings, the Blue Demons reached a program-high No. 21 on March 30 and finished their historic 2009-10 season ranked No. 34. Since, the Blue Demons have become regulars at the Tournament, earning back-to-back appearances in 2014 and 2015 and qualifying again in 2017.
For the 2013-14 season, DePaul won its first-ever BIG EAST Tournament title, defeating Xavier, 4-0, to earn the conference's automatic bid. The 2014 Blue Demons climbed to as high as No. 25 in the regular season ITA polls. For his coaching efforts during the 2013-14 season, Ardizzone was named the BIG EAST Coach of the Year and the Wilson/ITA Midwest Coach of the Year. Joining him on the BIG EAST postseason awards list were Patricia Fargas, the 2014 BIG EAST Player of the Year and Most Outstanding Player at the BIG EAST Tournament, Kelsey Lawson, Jasmin Kling and Ana Vladutu, who each earned All-Conference accolades. In addition, Vladutu participated in the 2014 NCAA Individual Singles Tournament, becoming the first DePaul women's tennis player to do so.
The 2014 Blue Demons set a school record with 16 straight victories from Jan. 31 to March 27 and finished the season 22-4 overall.
In 2011-12 and 2012-13, Ardizzone mentored back-to-back BIG EAST Freshman of the Year honorees in Jasmin Kling and Matea Cutura. The Blue Demons finished both season with 15 wins and at least a share of third-place at the conference tournament. Individually, Cutura reached as high as No. 72 in the ITA poll during the 2012-13 season while the Blue Demons reached as high as No. 65. In singles play, the team was dominant finishing with a total ledger of 185-79 (.701).
In 2010-11, DePaul finished its season 15-8 and with a share of third-place at the BIG EAST Conference Championships. The Blue Demons won five of their last seven matches and, playing eight ranked teams, reached as high as No. 38 in the Campbell's/ITA Team Poll. Individually, freshman Jasmin Kling reached as high as No. 105 in the singles rankings and was named BIG EAST Freshman of the Year while teaming up with Gia McKnight to rank as high as No. 64 in the doubles poll.
The 2010-11 season saw the Blue Demons reach the semifinals of the BIG EAST Championship for the third consecutive season while DePaul finished the Championship in third with a 4-3 win over Marquette. Finishing with a 15-11 mark on the season, Katarina Milinkovic and Gia McKnight were both tabbed All-BIG EAST performers while DePaul's team GPA of 3.618 was tops in the BIG EAST.
In a laundry list of firsts during the 2009-10, Selma Salkovic and Anna Redecsi became the first doubles pair to be chosen for the NCAA Doubles Championship bracket. Salkovic and Redecsi, who reached a program-best No. 9 in the Campbell's/ITA doubles ranking, finished the season with a remarkable 30-8 record while the pair won the ITA Midwest Regional and advanced to the quarterfinals of the ITA Indoor Championship.
Both Redecsi and Salkovic were named All-BIG EAST while Katarina Milinkovic was also honored with all-conference accolades after the Blue Demons finished second at the BIG EAST Championships for the second consecutive season. Leading up to the BIG EAST Championship, Sandra Zmak and Salkovic were named the BIG EAST Women's Tennis Athletic of the Week while Redecsi took home the honor twice on her way to a No. 68 ranking in the final ITA Singles rankings.
The 2009 was highlighted by a second place finish in the BIG EAST Conference Championship while the Blue Demons shut out league opponents on five occasions, while suffering just two narrow losses to the No. 3 team in the nation, Notre Dame. After cruising to the championship match, Dunja Antunovic, Milinkovic, Redecsi, and Salkovic were elected to the BIG EAST All-Conference Team. In addition, Ardizzone was voted BIG EAST Coach of the Year and the Midwest Region Coach of the Year by his peers.
An accomplished recruiter, Coach Ardizzone has brought to DePaul some of the highest quality talent women's tennis has to offer. Three student-athletes were selected on four occasions as the BIG EAST Player of the Week during the 2008-09 season. Antunovic and Salkovic earned the honor once, while Redecsi added the title to her resume twice this season. In addition, freshman Gia McKnight had a break-out season, posting a team-high 30-8 singles record.
The Blue Demons spent the entire season on the ITA team rankings and reached No. 26 while ending the year at No. 47. Individually, Redecsi registered as high as No. 84 on the singles poll, while she earned a doubles ranking as high as No. 64 with Salkovic as her partner. Antunovic and Kirsten Gambrell ended the season at No. 80 in the doubles poll, but spent more than a month as the No. 36-ranked team after a spectacular run in the ITA Midwest Regional. The duo knocked off ranked opponents from Michigan and Northwestern to reach a program-first championship match.
In the Midwest Region, the team ended its season as the No. 6-ranked squad. Redecsi and Antunovic represented the Blue Demons on the singles poll, registering in at No. 9 and No. 17, respectively. Gambrell and Antunovic ranked in at No. 9 on the doubles poll, while Redecsi and Salkovic ended the season at No. 10.
Off the court, Ardizzone has instilled a high standard of academic integrity and community involvement in his student-athletes. Antunovic earned the ITA/Arthur Ashe Award for Leadership and Sportsmanship, named to ESPN The Magazine's Academic All-District second team, and was the BIG EAST Scholar-Athlete Sports Excellence Award winner. As a team, they were recognized by the NCAA for having an Academic Progress Rate (APR) in the top-ten percent of all Division I women's tennis teams. The APR provides a real-time look at a team's academic success each semester or quarter by tracking the academic progress of each student-athlete. The APR includes eligibility, retention, and graduation in the calculation and provides a clear picture of the academic culture in each sport.
The 2008 campaign saw a significant milestone occur in Ardizzone's career. On March 8, 2008, he picked up his 200th victory as a Division I head coach. He ended the season with a record of 18-8, bringing his career total to 206-118.
In BIG EAST action, the Blue Demons posted a 7-4 record to finish in fourth place, up two spots from the previous year. BIG EAST All-Tournament honors were given to Antunovic and Gergana Ganeva. DePaul ended the year No. 61 on the ITA National Rankings and No. 9 in the Midwest.
Academic success was equally prominent in the women's program during the 2007-08 season. Eight student-athletes were selected to the BIG EAST All-Academic Team. Antunovic was named to the conference's Scholar-Athlete Sports Excellence Team, in addition to being the recipient of the prestigious ITA/Cissie Leary Award for Sportsmanship. As a team, the women were honored by the BIG EAST as Team Excellence Award winners.
The 2007 campaign saw the Blue Demons fight through a series of injuries to finish with a winning record of 13-12 and a BIG EAST record of 6-5 despite playing five weeks of the season shorthanded. Antunovic posted a 26-5 singles record, reached a national ranking of No. 77 and picked up All-BIG EAST Tournament honors. All eight members of the squad made the Athletic Director's Honor Roll and Petra Rehusova was the Midwest Region recipient of the ITA/Arthur Ashe Award for Leadership and Sportsmanship.
The 2005 season gave DePaul its first 20-win campaign. The Blue Demons went 20-8 overall and only lost one conference match in their final Conference USA season.
In 2000, DePaul spent four weeks ranked in the nation's top 75. Off the court, the squad was honored by the ITA as an All-Academic Team for boasting a cumulative GPA of 3.47. Individually, Barbara Fuzesi was named to the ITA Scholar-Athlete All-American team.
Mark came to DePaul from the College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn, Illinois, where he was the assistant coach for both the men's and women's teams. Both of those teams qualified for the National Junior College championships during his tenure. Truly committed to the game, he has served as Chairman of the NCAA Midwest Region ranking committee.
Ardizzone has a long history of coaching tennis. He served as the Director of the Nike Tennis Camp in 1998 and has worked at the Northern Illinois Tennis Camp. Mark was also the assistant coach at Northwest Missouri State and was the professional at both the Arrowhead Swim and Tennis and Lockport Racket Clubs.
As a player, Mark was a two-year captain at Northwest Missouri State where he was nationally ranked in both singles and doubles. Off the court, he was an Arthur Ashe Sportsmanship Award winner and captured numerous scholarships. Prior to playing at NWMS, Ardizzone played two seasons at the College of DuPage.
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