Kaitlyn Christian And Sabrina Santamaria Are NCAA Doubles Champions!|
May 27, 2013
URBANA, ILL. -- USC's Kaitlyn Christian and Sabrina Santamaria carved their names deeper into the Trojan history books today, slicing their way to the first NCAA Doubles Championship for the Women of Troy. Already holding an ITA/Riviera All-American doubles title and back-to-back Pac-12 and ITA National Indoor doubles crowns, Christian/Santamaria put an extra flourish on their expanding honor roll with today's 6-4, 6-3 victory in the 2013 NCAA Doubles Championship in Urbana, Ill.
Back in 1980, Trojans Trey Lewis and Anne White teamed up for the AIAW doubles crown for USC. Not since then, however, had any USC women's doubles team won any national title. At least, until longtime friends Christian and Santamaria paired up as Trojan teammates last season. Christian, a junior, had helped make some USC history before Santamaria arrived when she and then-senior Maria Sanchez reached the 2011 NCAA Doubles semifinals.
Last year, Christian and Santamaria fell in the first round of NCAA doubles play. But this year the pair was prepared and hungry for success. So hungry, in fact, that they would not surrender a single set during their NCAA doubles run. The Trojan pair took down teams from Northwestern, Oklahoma State, Illinois and Tennessee in order to earn the right to play for it all today. The Women of Troy would line up against a familiar foe in the title match, facing crosstown rival UCLA's Anderson/Morton. The pairs had last squared off in October during the ITA/Riviera All-American semifinals, and the Trojans had prevailed. But last year was a battle of attrition between the two teams, clashing six times in 2011-12 and winding up even 3-3.
Seeded No. 2 for this year's NCAA run, Christian/Santamaria had only gotten stronger, though. The Trojans' first and only loss of the season had come last week during team play, and they regrouped and refocused immediately. The winning mentality that had racked up 36 wins since that 2012 NCAA doubles first-round loss came through in force today, as Christian/Santamaria stayed the course, overcoming early breaks in both sets and firing right back. The USC duo locked in on key late breaks and held strong to hone in on the victory, taking down Anderson/Morton with the 6-4, 6-3 win in today's NCAA title match.
The NCAA championship victory also earns the Trojan pair a wildcard into this summer's US Open, as they finish off their second collegiate season together with a 37-1 overall record. That mark is arguably one of the best -- if not the most dominant -- collegiate doubles finishes ever. Christian/Santamaria have now accomplished the rare feat of a collegiate "Triple Crown" in winning three titles in the three major national tournaments in a singles season: the ITA All-American, the ITA National Indoors and the NCAA Tournament.
"We finished tough last year with a first-round loss (at NCAAs), and we came into the season just staying really positive with each other, and after we won All-Americans we just kept rolling and were really having a lot of fun on the tennis court, and I think that's contributed to our success."
On Anderson and Morton...
Complete USC results below.
NCAA WOMEN'S DOUBLES CHAMPIONSHIPS
Round of 16 - May 24
Quarterfinals - May 25
Semifinals - May 26
Championship - May 27