Trojan Tennis Locks Into Nation's Top-5 To Open 2014
Jan. 3, 2014
USC men's and women's tennis are both top-5 teams once again as the 2014 spring season gets underway. NCAA quarterfinalists last year, the USC men -- who lead the nation with 20 national championships -- kick off their 2014 campaign ranked No. 4 in the nation. The USC women, meanwhile, have drummed up a No. 5 national ranking entering this season's action.
The Women of Troy finished up the 2013 season as Pac-12 Champions and ranked No. 6 in the nation after a 23-3 mark that saw them reach the NCAA Round of 16, where USC was ousted by eventual national champ Stanford. The 2014 Trojans boast a strong group of returning talent, having graduated All-American Danielle Lao as well as Valeria Pulido from last year's squad. Reinforcements have come up big for the Women of Troy, however, with newcomers Brynn Boren and Zoë Katz teamed up as the nation's No. 3 doubles pair for 2014 -- their first season as Trojans. A second USC duo -- Giuliana Olmos and Zoë Scandalis -- also stand tall in the top-10 with a No. 7 doubles ranking to start the year. USC's defending NCAA doubles champions Kaitlyn Christian and Sabrina Santamaria will open their defense of that 2013 title with a No. 33 ranking for 2014.
All-American Sabrina Santamaria also sits atop the USC women's singles ladder as the No. 13 ranked singles player in the nation. Junior Giuliana Olmos is locked in at No. 60 in the singles standings, joined in the top-100 by fellow Women of Troy Gabriella DeSimone at No. 80 and senior newcomer and All-American Brynn Boren at No. 96. Boren and Christian are USC's two standout seniors this season, both holding All-American honors during their careers. This past summer, several Women of Troy teamed up to win a bronze medal for Team USA at the World University Games. Santamaria claimed a silver medal in singles to help her teammates Christian, DeSimone and Ellie Yates bring home hardware from Russia. In all, USC boasts four ITA All-Americans on its 2014 roster in Boren, Christian, Santamaria and Scandalis. USC head coach Richard Gallien has also added transfer Paige Keating to the roster.
In 2013, the Trojan men came up just short in their efforts to defend a string of four consecutive national championships, as USC was bumped out of the NCAA Tournament in the quarterfinals to finish the year at 26-5 overall and with a No. 5 national ranking. Only one member of that 2013 team has departed Troy, with Emilio Gomez having entered the pro ranks. The remaining Trojan contingent is a powerful crew, with six players already boasting at least one NCAA championship ring. The 2014 Trojans are led by senior All-American Ray Sarmiento, who starts up 2014 in the same place he began 2013 -- ranked No. 10 in the nation in singles. He is joined on the national rankings list by four more Trojans -- No. 32 junior Yannick Hanfmann, No. 67 junior Jonny Wang, No. 70 senior Michael Grant and No. 113 junior Roberto Quiroz. All five of those Trojans have been members of at least one NCAA championship squad. In all, USC boasts three ITA All-Americans on its 2014 roster in Hanfmann, Quiroz and Sarmiento. Also back in action for the USC men is junior Eric Johnson and sophomore Max de Vroome, while USC head coach Peter Smith has welcomed three newcomers to the roster in freshmen Rob Bellamy, Nick Crystal and David Laser.
The 2014 USC tennis season gets rolling this month. Both teams will host their first dual matches of the season with the ITA Kick-Off Weekend coming up Jan. 24-25 at Marks Stadium. For full schedules, visit the respective schedule pages at usctrojans.com.
(as of Jan. 2, 2014)
USC MEN - #4
USC WOMEN - #5