Johnson, Santamaria & Scandalis Advance In NCAA Singles
May 24, 2012
ATHENS, GA. - USC tennis has pushed three Trojans through to the NCAA Singles Round of 16 after winning days from senior Steve Johnson - now with 68 straight singles wins -- on the men's side and freshmen Sabrina Santamaria and Zoë Scandalis in the women's draw. The perfect pairing of Steve Johnson and Roberto Quiroz stayed strong for their 20th straight win together to also advance to tomorrow's Round of 16 doubles competition.
Freshman Sabrina Santamaria opened the Round of 32 for the Trojans with her fifth straight singles win - a testament to why she was selected to the NCAA All-Tournament Team after three dual-match wins in Athens. Santamaria cruised through Florida's #61 Sofie Oyen with a 6-3, 6-0 win that gave the USC freshman some time to cool off and rest before her evening doubles venture with Kaitlyn Christian.
Soon after Santamaria won on the top courts, USC's #1 Steve Johnson passed up #53 Nassim Slilam of Florida with an 6-3, 6-2 win that notches the senior's 68th straight singles win. #26 Santamaria will now face Baylor's #23 Nina Secerbegovic in tomorrow's Round of 16, where Johnson goes up against LSU's #55 Neal Skupski.
In a valiant effort against the nation's #5 player, Henrique Cunha of Duke, senior Daniel Nguyen fought off six match points during his second set as he battled back from an 0-5 deficit. The No. 5 seed would stand strong in his third chance to close from the service line, however, closing out Nguyen's collegiate career with a 6-4, 6-4 loss. The four-time NCAA Team champion wraps up his time at Troy with a 135-38 (.780) career singles record to go with a 58-17 (.773) record in dual-match singles play. In doubles, Nguyen went 114-40 (.740) overall and 85-24 (.780) in dual matches as a Trojan.
Sophomore Ray Sarmiento also had tough Round of 32 singles matchup as he went up against Virginia's No. 2 seed Mitchell Frank. Sarmiento got up an early break on Frank, but the Cavalier held his ground against #25 Sarmiento and served up a 6-4, 6-1 decision. Sarmiento - an NCAA All-Tournament Team selection after five wins during the Trojan run to the national championship - wraps up his sophomore year with a 38-12 overall singles record (22-6 in dual matches).
Fellow sophomore Emilio Gomez had a 9-16 seeded opponent on his hands on the upper courts. Gomez got up a break, but fell in a first-set tiebreaker and lost steam in the second to take a 7-6 (5), 6-3 loss to #9 Blaz Rola of Ohio State. That loss closes down #57 Gomez' sophomore season and his first NCAA individual appearance with a 36-9 overall singles record after a 21-5 dual-match singles effort this year.
Sophomore Danielle Lao - in her second NCAA singles appearance - was up against the draw's top seed in #1 Allie Will of Florida. Lao held her ground against Will with a powerful effort, but Will pulled out the 6-4, 6-4 decision to advance. Lao completes her sophomore season with NCAA All-Tournament Team honors for doubles, while finishing up the year with a 31-8 overall singles record. In dual-match singles, Lao went 20-3 for the Women of Troy.
Freshman #14 Zoë Scandalis - recently crowned the ITA National Player to Watch -- was worth watching as the last Trojan standing in singles today, and she put forth and impressive comeback victory over Miami's #18 Anna Bartenstein. Bartenstein came out firing and put Scandalis on her heels with a 6-1 decision in the first set, then taking a 3-1 lead in the second. Scandalis was undeterred, however, and she subsequently won the next seven straight games. Scandalis eclipsed Bartenstein with a 6-3 win in the second, then fought out of a 2-4 hole in the third for a four-game run to the finish line and a 1-6, 6-3, 6-4 comeback effort that puts her in the Round of 16 singles action tomorrow along with Santamaria and Johnson. Scandalis will face No. 5 seed Mallory Burdette of Stanford in the next round.
When singles play finished up, it was time for the Trojan contingent to turn to doubles play. USC's No. 4 seeded women's pair of Kaitlyn Christian and Sabrina Santamaria took on #11 Michigan duo Bektas/Bolender first. The Wolverines proved to be a tough matchup for the Trojans. USC managed a late break in the first set to win that one, but the Michigan pair managed to get a lead in the second, then push for the upset win with a three-set comeback for a 5-7, 6-2, 6-2 decision. The loss puts the young Trojan pair with a 33-13 overall record together this season.
After a long delay, USC's #2 Steve Johnson and Roberto Quiroz took the courts against Tulsa's #11 Marsland/Watling. The Trojans remained plugged in, however, jumping out on the Tulsa pair for a 6-3 lead in the first set. After getting broken midway through the second, Johnson/Quiroz rattled off the next four games to tack up the 6-3, 6-3 win and move along to tomorrow's Round of 16 action against an Alabama pair. Johnson/Quiroz will carry a perfect 20-0 record together into the next round.
Complete USC results and schedules below:
WOMEN'S NCAA SINGLES CHAMPIONSHIPS (Dan Magill Tennis Complex - Athens, Ga.)
Round of 32 - May 24
WOMEN'S NCAA DOUBLES CHAMPIONSHIPS
MEN'S NCAA SINGLES CHAMPIONSHIPS (Dan Magill Tennis Complex - Athens, Ga.)
Round of 32 - May 24
Round of 16 - May 25
MEN'S NCAA DOUBLES CHAMPIONSHIPS
Round of 16 - May 25