Sabrina Santamaria and Kaitlyn Christian are the nation's #3 ranked doubles duo.
Feb. 1, 2012
USC Women's Tennis Release
The No. 16 USC women's tennis team brings a three-match win streak home to Marks Stadium this week for a pair of nonconference contests. The Women of Troy (3-0) go up against St. Mary's at 1:30 p.m. on Thursday (Feb. 2) before taking on Pepperdine in a 12 p.m. match on Saturday (Feb. 4).
ITA RANKING UPDATES
The latest round of 2012 Campbell/ITA national team rankings were unfurled Jan. 24, with the USC women at No. 16 in the land for the second straight cycle after finishing 2011 at No. 19. Four Women of Troy also pop up in the Jan. 3 individual rankings as well. Freshman Sabrina Santamaria (winner of the 2011 ITA Southwest Regional singles crown) tops the singles list at No. 18 just a step ahead of her No. 19 classmate and fellow regional finalist and recent Freeman Memorial champ Zoë Scandalis. Junior Danielle Lao -- winner of the NCTC singles crown last week -- is next at No. 42, and sophomore Kaitlyn Christian is No. 99. Christian and Santamaria also own the title of 2011 National Indoor Doubles Champions, and start out 2012 as the No. 3 ranked doubles team in the nation.
SCOUTING ST. MARY'S
The No. 41 Gaels are 1-1 overall after beating Oklahoma 4-3 and falling to UCLA 4-0 in the ITA Kick-Off Weekend last week. St. Mary's has #68 Jenny Jullien, #82 Catherine Isip and #116 Jade Frampton ranked in singles. USC's first-ever meeting with St. Mary's was last season in the NCAA First Round, where the Trojans beat the Gaels 4-1.
The No. 26 Waves took a 1-0 start to the year with a 4-3 win over San Diego State before taking on Cal State Northridge on Feb. 1. Pepperdine has #72 Ale Granillo ranked in singles. In USC's last meeting with Pepperdine, the Trojans claimed a 5-2 win over the Waves last season in Malibu.
After missing a trip last year, the USC women are back in the mix for the ITA National Team Indoor Championships thanks to a powerful run at the ITA Kick-Off Weekend in Tempe, Ariz., last weekend. The Women of Troy made a statement with a 7-0 opening shutout of No. 48 Sacramento State before delivering a solid 6-1 win over No. 20 host Arizona State to win the weekend's action and secure that spot in the ITA's top team tournament next week. USC's doubles tandems of Danielle Lao / Alison Ramos and Valeria Pulido / Zoë Scandalis opened both matches with wins to claim the first point of the day. In singles, USC rolled undefeated down the line on both days until #19 Scandalis was edged out in a 10-point tiebreak by ASU's #9 Jacqueline Cako 7-6, 3-6, 1-0 (10-6). The first day was highlighted by a complete shutout pitched by Lao, who followed up an 8-0 win with Ramos in doubles with a 6-0, 6-0 sweep at the No. 2 position.
PICK OF THE PAC
Riding the momentum of an upset win over top-ranked Mallory Burdette of Stanford and #8 Robin Anderson of UCLA en route to the ensuing Freeman Memorial singles championship, #19-ranked freshman Zoë Scandalis stepped into the No. 1 singles slot for her first dual match as a Trojan and shut out her UC Irvine opponent. For her recent successes, Scandalis was named the Pac-12 Women's Tennis Player of the Week on Jan. 28 making her the first Trojan to win the honor this season. Scandalis tallied the first doubles win and first singles win of the day in USC's season opener, winning 8-2 at the No. 3 doubles position with teammate Valeria Pulido, then took to the singles courts to deliver a 6-0, 6-0 sweep of UC Irvine's Courtney Byron on court one. Scandalis is now currently 20-4 overall in singles play.
WINNING BIG IN VEGAS
USC freshman Zoë Scandalis delivered an upset blow to the top-ranked player in the nation as she gutted out a 6-7 (8), 7-6 (5), 6-3 comeback win over Stanford's #1 Mallory Burdette to win it all at the Freeman Memorial in Las Vegas on Jan. 15. Also in title match action in Vegas was Trojan doubles pair Kaitlyn Christian and Sabrina Santamaria. The sophomore-freshman combination worked into today's doubles final at the Freeman Memorial with an 8-4 win over UCLA's Anderson/Morton. In the championship, the Trojan duo faced another Bruin combination in Montez/Dolehide. Christian/Santamaria were unable to pull out the win, however, taking an 8-4 loss to finish as runners-up in the doubles draw. That gives #3 ranked Christian/Santamaria their second tournament title together, going along with the 2011 National Indoor Championship claimed in the fall as the pair now holds a 16-3 overall doubles mark with a 1-0 mark in dual matches.
LAO RISES TO NCTC TITLE
While USC's underclassmen were winning titles in Las Vegas, junior Danielle Lao won her first title since the 2010 ITA Southwest Singles Championship when she upset top-seeded and #29 ranked Emily Fraser of Virginia in a decisive second set in a 7-6 (5), 6-0 win. That claimed the singles crown at the National Collegiate Tennis Classic in La Quinta, Calif., on Jan. 15 for #42-ranked Lao, who now holds a 12-3 singles mark on the season with a 3-0 stand in dual matches.
SANTAMARIA STRETCHES USC'S SOUTHWEST SUCCESS
Freshman Sabrina Santamaria became the fourth straight Trojan to win the ITA Women's Regional Singles Championship with her winning run through the 2011 ITA Southwest Championship tourney in San Diego this fall. The Trojan went up against fellow freshman Zoë Scandalis in the title match, netting a 6-2, 6-1 win. Santamaria was unseeded entering the tourney, and served up surprises for four top-10 seeds during her run to the title. Scandalis was one of those seeded opponents, sitting as No. 10 and with a pair of victories over seeded opponents during her course to the final. One of those wins came in another all-Trojan battle, as Scandalis and defending champ, top-seeded teammate Danielle Lao, squared off in the quarterfinals. It was the third all-Trojan singles final in the past four regionals, as the Women of Troy have claimed the regional singles crown for four straight seasons now. Maria Sanchez won back-to-back titles in 2008 and 2009 (beating teammate Alison Ramos in 2008); Danielle Lao won in 2010 (beating Sanchez); and now Sabrina Santamaria has claimed the 2011 title. USC missed out on the singles title in 2007, but got another championship from Sarah Fansler in 2006 and also a title from Amanda Fink in 2005 to make it six Trojan championships in the past seven seasons. Santamaria currently holds a 14-4 overall singles record with a 3-0 mark in dual matches.
The USC women are coming off a 15-8 record and a 4-4 finish in Pac-10 play in 2011. The Trojans wound up the year ranked No. 19 in the final ITA team rankings after reaching the NCAA Second Round. In NCAA individual action, Kaitlyn Christian and Maria Sanchez made history with an appearance in the NCAA Doubles Semifinals, becoming the first Women of Troy team ever to reach the NCAA doubles semis. Both earned ITA All-American honors in 2011, with freshman Christian also named the ITA Southwest Region Player to Watch, and senior Sanchez the ITA National Senior Player of the Year to go along with her honor as the Pac-10 Player of the Year. Danielle Lao was named to the All-Pac-10 Second Team. Playing in the NCAA individual tournament were Christian (doubles), Lao (singles, Valeria Pulido (doubles), Alison Ramos (doubles) and Sanchez (singles and doubles). Final ITA rankings had Sanchez #3 in singles and #5 in doubles with Christian. Christian was #90 in singles, and Lao was #23 in singles. Pulido/Ramos were #28 in doubles.