No. 4 USC Women Rally Past No. 28 Arizona
April 6, 2012
LOS ANGELES, CALIF. -- The No. 4 USC women's tennis team shook off an early deficit and made a stubborn singles surge against visiting No. 28 Arizona today at Marks Stadium in a long match that showcased a gutsy performance by the Women of Troy. When the dust settled, USC had turned a 1-0 disadvantage into a 6-1 win over the Wildcats, clinched by a dramatic-turned-dominant effort by Zoë Scandalis on court one. USC's eighth straight win was set up by senior Alison Ramos in her final regular-season weekend at Marks Stadium. Ramos delivered a steaming ace to cap off her singles win and lift USC up 3-1 in the match. The Pac-12 win keeps the Women of Troy undefeated in conference action at 6-0 to go with an overall mark of 17-2.
It was a dramatic doubles scene to start up the day's action with tight battles down the line. USC's #52 Valeria Pulido / Zoë Scandalis fought out of 3-0 hole on court two on the power of strong service games and two breaks to work up to a 7-5 lead. Pulido/Scandalis would be the first to finish with an 8-6 win over Arizona's Johnson/Landsman, but the Wildcats would not give up after USC snagged the first win. On court three, Arizona's McRann/Stubbe finally snapped the on-serve stretch of action with a late break of USC's Lao/Ramos, and pulled off the 8-6 win to tie up the doubles competition. That left a war still going at the No. 1 spot to decide the first point of the match. Some impressive rallies and hustle plays gave USC's #2 Kaitlyn Christian / Sabrina Santamaria a lift to fight out from down a break to eventually take an 8-7 lead on a hold from Santamaria. But Arizona would answer to tie it up 8-8 and force the tiebreaker. The Trojans fought off four match points in the tiebreak before Arizona finally managed the win, clinching at 1-0 lead for the Wildcats in the match.
USC's lift into the lead was sparked by decisive straight-set wins from freshmen Gabriella DeSimone and #36 Sabrina Santamaria. That tagteam pumped the Trojans up to a 2-1 advantage with their wins over Susan McRann and Sarah Landsman, respectively. The rest of the matches, however, were largely still very much up for grabs. Senior Alison Ramos brought things back into Trojan control with her 6-2, 7-6 (4) win over Laura Oldham on court six, but only after USC's top two Trojans had pulled off first-set tiebreakers to put the Wildcats up against a wall. Scandalis would battle through a long game for a break that snarled her No. 1 singles match with #66 Lacey Smyth at 6-6 to bring up a tiebreaker. There, Scandalis stayed solid and grabbed the 7-5 win. In her second set, Scandalis was all business and cruised to a 7-6 (5), 6-0 win that iced the win for the Trojans, putting them up 4-1 in the match with her 30th singles victory of the season.
Meanwhile, #76 sophomore Kaitlyn Christian shrugged off a first-set loss and generated a lead on Kim Stubbe in the next two sets to tally a 3-6, 6-2, 6-2 win that left Lao as the last match going. #15 junior Danielle Lao had battled to win her first-set tiebreaker with #81 Natasha Marks on court two. Lao would tire Marks out down the stretch, working ahead with two breaks of Marks to round out a 7-6 (4), 6-3 victory and finish the day's action as a 6-1 USC win.
The Trojans now line up for their final regular-season home match of the year when No. 29 Arizona State comes to Marks Stadium tomorrow (April 7) for a 12 p.m. Pac-12 match against USC.
#4 USC 6, #28 Arizona 1