No. 4 USC Women Take First Loss of 2013
Feb. 9, 2013
CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA. -- The No. 4 USC women's tennis team suffered its first loss of 2013 in a hard-fought nailbiter, falling 4-3 to No. 8 North Carolina in the quarterfinals of the 2013 ITA National Team Indoor Championships in Charlottesville, Va. The match was made of momentum shifts, with the Tar Heels stealing the last late surge to pull out two three-setters against the Trojans and clinch the win. USC goes to 6-1 overall with the loss.
After the uphill battle USC ended up in in dropping the doubles point in yesterday's match, the Trojans were all business in doubles play today vs. UNC. USC's top guns Christian/Santamaria won again -- the pair's 17th straight win of the season -- with an 8-3 win over #7 Dai/Kay on court one. USC was in the driver's seat on courts two and three as well, with Lao/Olmos delivering the clincher in matching Christian/Santamaria's score with an 8-3 decision over #51 Lyons/McHale. With the doubles point in-hand, #13 DeSimone/Scandalis' match on court two was suspended, as the teams turned to singles play.
UNC would even things up with a rare loss by USC's Giuliana Olmos on court five. #36 Caroline Price got the best of Olmos with a 6-2, 6-2 decision, and that locked things up 1-1 in the match. USC had only snagged first-set wins on courts one and two, where #17 Sabrina Santamaria and #14 Danielle Lao were on solid paths against their respective UNC opponents. At the No. 4 spot, meanwhile, #56 Gabriella DeSimone -- clincher of yesterday's Round of 16 match -- had fought back to force a third set against #111 Lauren McHale. #19 Zoë Scandalis, too, had regrouped from a first-set loss and forced a third on court three against #21 Whitney Kay. The Women of Troy had proven a stubborn foe for the Tar Heels down the line. Another big boost would come from the top. Lao finished off #28 Zoe De Bruycker 6-3, 6-2 to bump the Trojans ahead 2-1, and Santamaria closed out #11 Gina Suarez-Malaguti with an identical 6-3, 6-2 win. That put USC up 3-1 on the Tar Heels, with the remaining Women of Troy making pushes in search of the clincher.
UNC would crank up the pressure by tallying another singles point with Kaitlyn Christian's 6-2, 6-3 loss to #65 Ashley Dai on court six. DeSimone then was edged out by McHale in the third set to fall 6-1, 4-6, 6-4, and the match was locked up 3-3. Scandalis had taken a lead in the third against Kay, only to see the Tar Heel streak out ahead and steal the match for UNC with a 6-2, 5-7, 6-3 win over Scandalis.
The Women of Troy will now play in a consolation match tomorrow (Feb. 10) at 6:30 p.m. ET. Following that, the Trojans will return home, with their next match set for Feb. 20 against San Diego State at 1:30 p.m. at Marks Stadium.