No. 18 Women of Troy Host Home Opener|
Jan. 31, 2017
The No. 18 Women of Troy return to Los Angeles to host their home opener against San Diego State (Feb. 1) and the No. 1 team in the nation, Florida (Feb. 3). Both matches will be held at Marks Stadium at 1:30 p.m.
ORACLE/ITA RANKINGS UPDATES
On Jan. 4, the Trojans earned a No. 18 team ranking after a successful fall tournament season. In the 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.
Although Gabby Smith is currently unranked, she is riding an eight-match winning streak, which includes defeating five ranked opponents. She hopes to extend that streak this weekend.
SCOUTING SAN DIEGO STATE
The San Diego State Aztecs hold the same 2-1 record as the Women of Troy. They are coming off a 4-0 loss to Cal State Fullerton on Saturday (Jan. 28) and a 4-3 win against UC Irvine on Sunday (Jan. 29). San Diego State currently does not have any ranked singles or doubles players. The Trojans are 43-4 all-time against the Aztecs. In their last meeting, USC swept San Diego State 7-0 in March of 2015 in Marks Tennis Stadium.
The top-ranked Florida Gators opened the season 2-0. Florida defeated DePaul on Saturday (Jan. 28) 6-1 and Florida International on Sunday (Jan. 29) 4-0. Florida boasts an impressive five nationally ranked singles players, all within the top 39: No. 15 Josie Kuhlman, No. 24 Kourtney Keegan, No. 30 Anna Danilina, No. 37 Belinda Woolcock and No. 39 Spencer Liang. In doubles, the Gators have four pairs who hold national rankings: #7 Austin/Keegan, #12 Kuhlman/Woolcock, #21 Danilina/Liang and #22 Keegan/Porter. The Trojans are 8-13 all-time against Florida, with their last meeting resulting in a 7-0 sweep by the Gators in February of 2016 in Gainesville, Fla.
FLYING AWAY WITH VICTORY
The No. 18 USC women's tennis team kicked off ITA Kick Off Weekend with a bang as they defeated Rice 4-2 at the Yarbrough Tennis Center in Auburn, Ala. on Saturday, Jan. 28. By defeating the Owls in their first meeting in school history, the Women of Troy improved to 2-0 on the season.
The Women of Troy had a challenging start in doubles as Kulikov/Westby fell to Rice's Ip/Durkin 6-2. Shortly after their loss, USC's duo of Failla/Valdes tied up the score 1-1 as they defeated the Owl pair of Ho/Niezgoda 6-4. The doubles point would be determined by the outcome of court one where Hodge/Zhang upset the No. 18 Trojan twosome of Katz/Smtih 6-4.
Rice entered the singles portion of the competition with a 1-0 advantage. The Women of Troy responded with vigor as No. 52 Madison Westby came out hot defeating Rice's Savannah Durkin 6-3, 6-0. The momentum kept rolling for the Trojans as Gabby Smith, the Pac-12 Player of the Week, took down No. 110 Katherine Ip 6-2, 6-1. This win increased Smith's winning streak to seven straight matches.
Rice's Fernanda Astete kept the Owls in the match as she beat USC's Angela Kulikov 6-3, 6-1 to tie the overall match score at 2-2. Trojan Zoë Katz claimed another win for the Trojans from court one by defeating Wendy Zhang 6-4, 6-2.
With two courts left in play, it was a race to the finish. After winning her first set over Rice's No. 102 Alison Ho, USC's Rianna Valdes fell behind 2-5 in the second set on court three. With racquet ablaze, Valdes claimed the next five games to win the set 7-5 and clinch the match for USC. No. 46 Jessica Failla's match versus Lindsey Hodge was left unfinished.
TUMBLING TO THE TIGERS
The No. 18 USC women's tennis team battled hard but fell to No. 15 Auburn 4-1 on the second day of ITA Kick Off Weekend on Sunday, Jan. 29 in Auburn, Ala. With the loss, the Women of Troy fall to 2-1 on the season.
The Trojans came out swinging to open the doubles portion of the competition as Kulikov/Westby defeated Auburn's Muller/Zwaan 6-2 on court three. The two other Tiger duos were relentless as USC's No. 18 Katz/Smith fell to Auburn's No. 25 Michaud/Russo 6-4 on court one and Trojan pair Failla/Valdes were defeated by Tiger twosome Dikosavljevic/Griffin in a close match 7-6 (8-6). Auburn claimed the doubles point and entered singles with a 1-0 advantage.
Court one was the first to finish as Auburn's No. 13 Alizee Michaud defeated Trojan No. 56 Zoë Katz 6-4, 6-2. Soon after, USC's No. 52 Madison Westby lost to Tiger Roos van der Zwaan 6-3, 6-3 on court four.
Trojan Gabby Smith continued to be a dominant force as she extended her winning streak to eight matches. The Pac-12 Player of the Week trounced yet another ranked opponent in Auburn's No. 101 Andie Dikosavljevic 2-6, 6-2, 6-1.
Unfortunately, Auburn would have the final word as Alannah Griffin beat USC's No. 46 Jessica Failla in a nail biter of a second set, 6-2, 7-6 (7-4).
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.