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No. 4 USC women's tennis is on its best run in nine years thanks to an influx of freshmen talent led by No. 1 singles Zoe Scandalis and No. 3 Sabrina Santamaria, but the pressure matches have fallen on the third member of the 2011 recruiting class, Gabriella DeSimone.

DeSimone-UCLA-McG.JPGTypically on court No. 5, DeSimone has clinched seven dual match victories for the Women of Troy, which is five more than anyone else on the team.  The highlight win came in a match-decider over No. 5 Cal at Marks Stadium in February.

However, like any freshman, she has been forced to learn some tough lessons as well this season.  The Trojans' 4-3 loss to UCLA on March 1 came down to her three-set match against Chanelle Van Nguyen, which went 6-3 to the Bruin.

With nearly a full season under their belts, the young Trojans will finish off the regular season campaign with a gauntlet of dual matches against No. 6 Stanford, No. 10 Cal and finally No. 1 UCLA.  With a trio of tight road matches expected, keep your eyes on DeSimone to cast the swing vote.

(Photo by John McGillen)

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