No. 5 Trojans Trounce No. 7 UCLA For Perfect Pac-12 Finish
April 18, 2013
LOS ANGELES, CALIF. -- The No. 5 USC women's tennis team pounded crosstown rival UCLA 6-1 for the second straight season in the teams' Pac-12 meeting, this time on the Trojans' home courts. Today's dominating win over the Bruins also secured the Women of Troy as the undefeated champions of the Pac-12 for 2013. USC entered today's match already owning at least a share of the conference crown, but the 6-1 win over No. 7 UCLA iced a perfect Pac-12 finish for the Trojans, who have won 13 straight matches as they close the regular season with a 21-2 overall record and that shining 10-0 Pac-12 finish. The victory also marked USC's first back-to-back wins over UCLA since the 2006 season.
The Women of Troy made their first ringing statement in doubles play, where USC ripped out ahead of the Bruins with two relatively easy wins on courts one and two. USC's Olmos/Scandalis found a winning groove first as they busted out ahead of UCLA's Anderson/Dolehide at the No. 2 spot for an 8-2 win. The Trojans' top guns, #2 Christian/Santamaria had to fend off a late push by Bruins Montez/Morton on court one, but the Trojan tandem proved far too tough and wrapped up the doubles point for USC with an 8-3 win -- the pair's 26th win of 2013 as they remain undefeated on the year. On court three, the teams would play out their match with a tiebreaker after snarling at 6-6. USC's DeSimone/Lao cruised in the tiebreaker to win it 7-6 (1) for some extra Trojan momentum entering singles.
The Pac-12 Networks broadcast the singles action live from Marks Stadium, and the Trojans put on a powerful performance. The tangle on court one between USC's #2 Sabrina Santamaria and #3 Robin Anderson looked to be the battle of the match, but Santamaria proved the aggressor from the start and gave her highly ranked opponent no slack in the match. After surrendering just one early game to Anderson, Santamaria wound up winning the last nine games of the match for a lopsided 6-1, 6-0 victory that plugged a second point on the board for the Women of Troy.
Over on court three, meanwhile, USC's #30 Zoë Scandalis was in a similarly dominant form against UCLA's Pamela Montez. Scandalis was in complete control there, too, and shut down Montez with a 6-2, 6-1 win that had the Trojans in the driver's seat for victory. At the No. 5 slot, USC's #75 Gabriella DeSimone toyed with match point for a moment against UCLA's Courtney Dolehide before finally taking the match from the service line to clinch it all for the Trojans with her 6-3, 6-4 victory. The win marked DeSimone's seventh match-clinching singles win of the season for the sophomore, who also had a contingent of family in town from Boston for the match.
On court four, USC's Giuliana Olmos was performing some impressive heroics against UCLA's #88 Catherine Harrison. Olmos had trailed 3-5 in the first set before battling back and going into a tiebreaker. There, Harrison got the upper hand again in taking a 5-2 lead, only to see Olmos win the next five straight points to steal away the set. In the second, Olmos turned on the juice and rolled out to win it 7-6 (5), 6-2 and take her Trojans ahead of the Bruins 5-0.
Still going on the remaining courts were #8 senior Danielle Lao -- who had been honored at Senior Day before the match alongside fellow seniors Valeria Pulido and Jackie Owens. Lao was engaged in a tough matchup against UCLA's #66 Kyle McPhillips, and would end up falling 6-2, 6-4 as the Bruins snagged their lone point of the match. On court six, USC's Kaitlyn Christian had perked up after a first-set loss and wound up gutting out an impressive 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 comeback effort to cap the day's action as a decisive 6-1 Trojan victory over the rival Bruins.
With the undisputed Pac-12 championship now in their sole possession, the Women of Troy now turn to individual competition next week at the Pac-12 Championships in Ojai, Calif.
#5 USC 6, #7 UCLA 1