Women's Tennis
    No. 18 USC Women Travel Up North To Open Dual Match Season

    Jan. 18, 2017

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    THIS WEEK

    The No. 18 Women of Troy begin their 2017 campaign as they kick off dual match season by traveling up the coast to take on the UC Santa Barbara Gauchos on Thursday (Jan. 19) at 2:15 p.m. at the Tennis Club of Santa Barbara. Thursday’s match, originally scheduled for Friday (Jan. 20), was rescheduled to avoid rain.

    THE LAST MEETING
    UC Santa Barbara3
    USC4
    January 20, 2016
    Marks Stadium
    No. 2 USC Women Fight Back For Season-Opening Victory
    The No. 2 USC women’s tennis team was put to the test in its season opener against No. 59 UC Santa Barbara, but the Women of Troy proved their resiliency and pulled off a 4-3 comeback win over the visiting Gauchos today at Marks Stadium. USC and UCSB were neck-and-neck throughout the match, with it all coming down to court six as the decider. There, it was sophomore Meredith Xepoleas who dug in her heels and fought back to win her three-set battle and clinch the match for the Trojans, who now enjoy a 1-0 start to the 2016 campaign.

    ORACLE/ITA RANKINGS UPDATES

    On Jan. 4, the Trojans earned a No. 18 team ranking after a successful fall tournament season. In today’s (Jan. 18) updated team rankings, USC remains at No. 18. Four other Pac-12 teams have received placement in the ITA Top 25: Stanford (No. 4), California (No. 8), Arizona State (No. 22) and UCLA (No. 25). In the first set of individual rankings, the Women of Troy boast three players with national singles rankings. Sophomore Jessica Failla enters the dual match season rankings No. 46 in the nation, followed closely behind by junior Madison Westby at No. 52 and USC’s lone senior Zoë Katz at No. 56. In addition to her singles ranking, Katz also possesses two national doubles rankings. Katz and junior Gabby Smith are ranked No. 18 in the nation, while Katz and junior Madison Westby are tied with LSU’s Costa/Foster for the nation’s No. 27 ranking.

    SCANDALIS JOINS USC COACHING STAFF

    Former USC ITA All-American and NCAA Women of the Year Finalist Zoë Scandalis will return to Troy as a volunteer assistant coach for the Trojans, head coach Richard Gallien has announced. The former Pac-12 Tom Hansen Conference Medal winner will work alongside Gallien and associate head coach West Nott.

    “We are really excited to have Zoë Scandalis joining us this season,” said Gallien. “Zoë is a tireless worker, loyal to our program and passionate about our current team. I feel like I’m always continuing to learn, so I look forward to getting Zoë’s perspective so I too can better help our team. Zoë may be young, but she is an old soul, and has wisdom beyond her years. We are certainly looking forward to working with her each and every day.”

    While at USC, Scandalis had a decorated list of accomplishments both on and off the court. She was a two-time ITA All-American, a two-time All-Pac-12 first team selection and a two-time All-Pac-12 second team honoree. She helped her teams to two NCAA Semifinal appearances, was selected as the 2014-15 team captain, was awarded the 2014 Female Trojan of the Year and was named the 2012 ITA National Player to Watch as a freshman. She set the record for Pac-12 Player of the Week honors as she collected six awards throughout her career. Scandalis was ranked at high as No. 7 in the nation in both singles and doubles, and went 108-48 in singles and 103-53 in doubles during her time at Troy.

    Off the court, Scandalis was the winner of an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship. She was the 53rd Trojan recipient of this scholarship and the first women’s tennis player to earn the award. She also was a three-time Pac-12 All-Academic first team honoree and a 2014 Capital One Academic All-District team selection. In addition Scandalis was a 2014-15 Pac-12 Tom Hansen Conference Medal recipient. This awarded is issued to the top male and female senior student-athlete at each Pac-12 institution. The award recognizes the exhibition of the greatest combination of performance and achievement in scholarship, athletics and leadership.

    Upon graduation, Scandalis played professionally on the ITF Professional Tennis Circuit. Last year, she took a break from the professional tour to return home to fulfill a dream of applying to be a Rhodes Scholar. Late in 2016, Scandalis was selected as a Rhodes Scholar Finalist.

    FALL TOURNAMENT SEASON

    The Women of Troy showed great promise throughout the fall tournament season.

    The USC women’s tennis team took to the Riviera Tennis Club from Oct. 1-7 in Pacific Palisades, Calif. where they competed at the ITA/Riviera Women’s All-American Championships. The pre-season ranked No. 33 Trojan duo of Zoë Katz/Gabby Smith made an impressive showing in the tournament as they defeated some of the top teams in the nation to earn a place in the quarterfinals. Katz/Smith powered through their three qualifying rounds to secure placement in the main draw bracket. After winning their opening two matches against the pre-season ranked No. 23 and No. 7 pairs in the country, they drew a tough opponent versus pre-season No. 2 Florida’s Austin/Keegan in the quarterfinals. Katz/Smith put up a tough fight, but ultimately fell to the Gators in an extremely close match 8-7(3).

    Katz continued to be a force to be reckoned with as she made an impressive showing at the ITA Southwest Regionals in San Diego where she advanced to the championship match on Oct. 24. Throughout the tournament, 12th seeded Katz collected win after win to secure a place in the final match. In both the quarterfinal and semifinal, she upset higher seeded opponents to move forward in the draw as she defeated No. 1 seed Lauren Maker from Arizona in the quarters and No. 10 seed Dzina Milovanovic from Pepperdine in the semis. Unfortunately, Katz lost in the final to Pepperdine’s Ashley Lahey 6-2, 6-3.

    Zoë Katz and Madison Westby ran the table at the Jack Kramer Invitational to claim the doubles championship on Nov. 6 in Palos Verdes, Calif. After a bye and winning three straight matches with ease, the USC pair took on Northwestern’s Rheeya Doshi and Jillian Rooney in the final where they swiftly defeated the Wildcats 6-4, 6-3.

    Most recently, the USC women’s tennis team traveled to the Sunrise Country Club in Rancho Mirage, Calif. to compete in the National Collegiate Tennis Classic where junior Gabby Smith was a finalist. Smith battled her way through the competitive singles bracket to secure her place in the championship match. After defeating Wichita State’s Fatima Bizhukova in the first round 6-4, 6-1, Smith swiftly took down the tournament’s No. 1 seed Lauren Marker from Arizona with a 6-0, 6-3 score. She continued to remain victorious throughout the weekend and defeated Stanford’s Caroline Lampl in the semifinals 6-4, 6-1. Although she was scheduled to face off against Texas’ Bianca Turati in the final match, it was not played as Texas was scheduled to fly home at that time.

    LAST SEASON

    The USC women’s tennis team had its NCAA path come to a close in Malibu as the No. 20 Trojans fell to No. 8 seeded host Pepperdine 4-2 in the NCAA Second Round. The loss wrapped up the Trojans’ 2016 season with a 13-6 overall record, having reached the NCAA Tournament for the 25th consecutive year and coming off a runner-up finish in the Pac-12 Conference race. The USC women have recorded a 72-33 all-time record in the NCAA Tournament and have made a remarkable 25 straight appearances, including three NCAA Semifinal trips in the last 11 seasons. 2016 senior Giuliana Olmos and her partner former sophomore Gabby Smith finished out their 2016 campaign ranked No. 6 in the nation in doubles, garnering All-American status for the two Women of Troy. They would go on to climb as high as No. 4 in the national doubles rankings, and earned a place in the NCAA Doubles Championships as a 5-8 seed. The duo compiled a 19-9 record together overall, and went 10-5 in dual matches along with a 4-0 mark in Pac-12 play.