Women's Tennis
    No. 18 USC Women Head To Auburn For ITA Kick Off Weekend

    Jan. 25, 2017

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    THIS WEEK

    The No. 18 Women of Troy enjoyed a 1-0 start to the season and are ready to head down south for ITA Kick Off Weekend in Auburn, Ala. Their first match will be against Rice on Saturday (Jan. 28) at 12 p.m. CT. Depending on the outcome of the match, USC will face either Auburn or Fresno State on Sunday (Jan. 29).

    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. 25) 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. 21) and UCLA (No. 24). 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 ranked 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.

    SCOUTING RICE

    The Rice Owls opened the 2017 campaign with a 7-0 victory over Lamar University on Saturday (Jan. 21). The Owls have two nationally ranked singles players: No. 102 Alison Ho and No. 110 Katherine Ip. In addition, Rice has one doubles pair nationally ranked, No. 30 Ho/Zhang. This will be the first meeting of USC and Rice in program history.

    SCOUTING AUBURN

    The No. 15 Auburn Tigers are 3-0 to start the season after most recently defeating Louisiana-Monroe 4-1 and Georgia State 4-0 in a double header on Sunday (Jan. 22). Auburn has two players ranked nationally in singles: No. 13 Alizee Michaud and No. 101 Andie Dikosavljevic. In doubles, the Tigers have No. 25 Michaud/Russo and No. 31 Axon/Turner in the national rankings. USC is 1-0 against Auburn all-time, with their only encounter occurring in 2010 as the Women of Troy defeated the Tigers 4-0 in the ITA National Team Indoor Championships.

    SCOUTING FRESNO STATE

    The Bulldogs began their season with a 6-1 win at Sacramento State, with help from their nationally ranked doubles team, No. 50 Lawson/Stloukalova. The Trojans are 18-1 all-time versus Fresno State.

    Gabby Smith WINS PAC-12 PLAYER OF THE WEEK

    USC junior Gabby Smith kicked off the dual match season with a winning road trip up the coast. Due to her dominance on the court, Smith has been named the Pac-12 Player of the Week for the second time in her career.

    Smith is currently riding a six-match winning streak. In addition to defeating UC Santa Barbara’s Jaimee Gilbertosn 7-6(5), 6-0 last week to help secure the team win for USC, Smith went undefeated at the National Collegiate Tennis Classic in Rancho Mirage, Calif. on Jan. 14-15. During her winning spree in the desert, Smith took down nationally ranked No. 18 Lauren Marker of Arizona 6-0, 6-3.

    In addition, Smith and her partner Zoë Katz are currently ranked No. 18 nationally in doubles.

    CONQUERING THE CENTRAL COAST

    The No. 18 women’s tennis team opened the dual match season on a high note as it locked down its first win over UC Santa Barbara 5-2 in Santa Barbara, Calif. The Women of Troy now enjoy a 1-0 start to the 2017 campaign.

    Originally slated to begin at 2:15 p.m., the match was placed on hold due to rain delay and wouldn’t begin until close to 5 p.m PT. USC kicked off the match with doubles. No. 18 Zoë Katz/Gabby Smith unfortunately fell to UCSB’s Dubavets/Stojic 6-4. Shortly after, Trojan pair Angela Kulikov/Madison Westby brought USC back into the game with a 6-3 victory over Santa Barbara’s Baker/Yamada. With the Trojans and the Gauchos each holding one point, it would come down to the outcome of USC duo Jessica Failla/Rianna Vadles versus DaSilveira/Gilbertson. After the Gauchos fought back from a 3-1 deficit to close the gap to 4-3 with a USC advantage, Failla/Valdes made the final push to win their match 6-4 and claim the doubles point for the Trojans.

    In the singles portion of the competition, senior No. 56 Zoë Katz was overtaken by Santa Barbara’s Palina Dubavets 6-4, 6-4. Trojan junior Gabby Smith turned on the momentum for USC as she was victorious over Gaucho Jamie Gilbertson 7-6 (5), 6-0. Debuting in her first dual match for the Trojans, freshman Angela Kulikov blasted through her match to secure her win 6-0, 7-6 (4) and setting up her team to clinch.

    The Gauchos had not bowed out yet. Santa Barbara’s Natalie Da Silveira defeated USC’s Rianna Valdes in an extremely tight match 7-6 (1), 7-6 (4). At this point the Trojans led 3-2 in the match with two more courts remaining in play. After stumbling in the first set, freshman newcomer Sydney Van Alphen clinched the match for the Women of Troy 2-6, 6-3, 6-2 over Gaucho Melissa Baker. Junior No. 52 Madison Westby closed out the match on a high note with a victory over Amanda Atanasson 6-7(5), 6-4, 7-5.

    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.