Jan. 17, 2011
The No. 19 USC women dig in to their home courts of Marks Stadium to host their first dual matches of the year this week. The Women of Troy kick things off with a clash against Cal State Northridge on Tuesday (Jan. 18) at 1:30 p.m. for their season premier. Next, Long Beach State comes to town for a 1:30 match on Friday (Jan. 21) as USC gets on its way in 2011 competition.
ITA RANKING UPDATES
The first round of 2011 Campbell/ITA national rankings were released January 4, with the Women of Troy weighing in at No. 19 in the nation to start the year. On the individual side, USC has three Trojans ranked in singles and two doubles teams in the mix. Maria Sanchez leads the pack as the reigning National Indoor Singles Champion and the nation's #3 singles player. ITA Southwest Regional Singles Champion Danielle Lao opens the year in the top-10 at #10 on the list. And freshman Kaitlyn Christian kicks off her Trojan career with a #114 singles ranking. In doubles, USC's ITA Southwest Regional Doubles champs Valeria Pulido / Alison Ramos follow up a powerful fall with a #11 rank to start 2011, and Christian/Sanchez have combined forces to rank #80.
SCOUTING THE COMPETITION
Cal State Northridge comes to Troy with a 1-0 record after opening its 2011 campaign with a 4-3 win over Nevada last week. Friday's matchup against Long Beach State will be the first action of the year for the 49ers. This will be the first-ever meeting between USC and Cal State Northridge. USC faced Long Beach State last season in the Trojans' 2010 season opener and notched a 7-0 win over the 49ers.
USC made it a championship sweep at the Freeman Memorial Championships in Las Vegas over the weekend. Senior Maria Sanchez
reigned supreme across the board with a winning run to the singles title as well as the doubles crown alongside freshman teammate Kaitlyn Christian
. Ranked No. 3 in the nation on the singles side, Sanchez snagged the top seed in the singles draw at the Freeman Memorial. The senior served up straight-set wins to all opponents except her semifinal foe Nicole Gibbs of Stanford. But once that win was under her belt, it was cruise control for Sanchez in today's title match. Sanchez topped No. 2 seed Olivia Janowicz of Florida with a smooth 6-3, 6-0 win to claim the singles crown for the USC senior. Next, it was over to the doubles courts to team back up with freshman Kaitlyn Christian
as the draw's No. 3 seeded team in the mix. Christian/Sanchez were all business as they took on Bruins Jones/Johansson and posted a powerful 8-4 win over the UCLA pair in today's championship match to lock in on another title for the Trojans.
BACK ON THE ATTACK
USC comes off a 2010 season in which the Trojans reached the NCAA Tournament once again, and finished the year at 14-10 overall after a 5-3 mark in Pac-10 play. Whereas last year's Trojans were a largely young squad, the Trojans of 2011 have made the transition to an experienced group. Maria Sanchez clearly enters her senior season as USC's top gun as a 2010 ITA All-American and All-Pac-10 First Team selection. She's had a pair of unrelenting classmates by her side for the past three seasons in Cristala Andrews and Lyndsay Kinstler, who have snagged many a win in singles and doubles for the Trojans and remain factors in the USC lineup. Now a junior, Alison Ramos has proven herself a tough competitor with a knack for winning, and sophomores Danielle Lao and Valeria Pulido have their first year under their belts and are also now widely regarded as talented winners.