No. 6 USC Women Head East for ITA National Team Indoor Champs
Seeded No. 5 in the draw, Women of Troy join the nation's best to fight for an early season crown.
Feb. 5, 2014
USC Women's Tennis Release
THIS WEEKTOURNAMENT CENTRAL
The No. 6 USC women's tennis team carries a 3-0 start to 2014 action across the country for competition at the ITA National Team Indoor Championships. The Women of Troy will hole up in Charlottesville, Va., as one of 16 teams that made it out of the ITA Kick-Off Weekend to fight for the first national crown of 2014. USC is seeded No. 5 in the draw, which consists of 16 of the nation's top-17 ranked teams. The No. 6 Trojans will open their run with a Round of 16 battle against No. 12 Alabama at 3:30 p.m. ET on Friday (Feb. 7). A win there would put USC into Saturday's quarterfinals against either No. 4 seed UCLA or No. 17 ranked Texas. Semifinals are slated for Sunday and the championship match will be played Monday (Feb. 10).
ITA PREVIEW & TEAM CAPSULES
ITA RANKING UPDATES
The Women of Troy opened 2014 ranked No. 5 in the nation, although the latest rankings now have USC listed at No. 6 in the land as of Jan. 29. The first individual rankings of 2014 went up on Jan. 2, with four Women of Troy locked into the national singles scene and three Trojan doubles duos also on the list. Junior Sabrina Santamaria leads the charge in singles as the No. 13 player in the nation. Also locked into the top-100 for USC are No. 60 Giuliana Olmos, No. 80 Gabriella DeSimone and No. 96 Brynn Boren. USC's doubles teams are a daunting group. The Trojans boast two top-10 teams as well as the defending NCAA champions. A new Trojan pairing of senior transfer Boren and freshman Zoë Katz reign supreme as the nation's No. 3 team. Junior duo Olmos and Zoë Scandalis are also high on the list at No. 7 in the land. And 2013 NCAA champs Kaitlyn Christian and Sabrina Santamaria begin their 2014 campaign ranked No. 33.
AT LAST YEAR'S TOURNEY
In 2013, the USC women posted three 7-0 sweeps along with 6-0 and 4-0 decisions during the ITA Kick-Off Weekend to build up a hefty head of steam entering the ITA National Team Indoor Championships. There, the Trojans made a move into the quarterfinals with a 4-1 win over No. 12 Virginia. That broke up USC's stretch of shutout wins, and the Trojans would take their first loss of 2013 with a tight 4-3 defeat at the hands of No. 8 North Carolina. The Tar Heels would go on to win it all, taking the ITA Indoor title with a victory over UCLA in the final. USC, meanwhile, would find redemption in a solid 4-1 consolation match over No. 7 California, bringing USC's overall record to 7-1. At tournament's end, USC would land Danielle Lao on the ITA National Indoor All-Tournament Team for her strength at No. 1 singles, along with Kaitlyn Christian and Sabrina Santamaria on the team for No. 1 doubles.
USC was in full control of last week's nonconference clash with No. 44 Pepperdine. The Women of Troy whipped up the doubles point and then knocked out four straight singles wins en route to the 5-2 final victory over the visiting Waves at Marks Stadium. Junior Gabriella DeSimone was the clincher of the day, staging a potent comeback win to bring home USC's third team victory of the year. Doubles play opened with a bang for the Women of Troy, with Kaitlyn Christian and Gabriella DeSimone heating up early and cruising to a 6-0 sweep of Pepperdine's Cutura/Granillo on court three. From there it was neck-and-neck on the other two courts as both Trojan duos were working their way toward the clincher. On court two, #3 Brynn Boren and Zoë Katz got to the finish line first, displaying some hustle and handiwork in posting a 6-2 win over #40 Waves Capannolo/Chiang. At the No. 2 spot, USC's #7 Giuliana Olmos and Zoë Scandalis were poised for victory before their match was suspended at 5-3 against Guillermo/Maddox to bring up singles play. Sprinting to the first singles win of the day was freshman Zoë Katz, who left no prisoners in her speedy 6-0, 6-0 sweep of Danielle Feneridis on court six. Compared to her quick fix, the next USC point was a long time coming, and yet still it was a dominating 6-1, 6-1 victory from USC's #60 Giulians Olmos over Pepperdine's #93 Ale Granillo that jumped the Trojans ahead 3-0. Coming through with the clincher was a solid comeback effort from USC's #80 Gabriella DeSimone, who shrugged off a loss in the first set to even the score. In the 10-point tiebreaker to decide it all, the junior fought out of a 3-5 hole on court four to win it with a 1-6, 6-2, 1-0 (10-6) decision that secured the match for the Trojans, up 4-0. Action continued on the remaining courts, with USC's Zoë Scandalis punching up a 6-3, 6-4 victory over #79 Matea Cutura on court two. Scandalis persevered through a second set that saw Cutura try to reel in the Trojan before Scandalis drummed up a hold and a break for victory. The last two matches featured gutsy efforts that wound up in 10-point tiebreakers. On court one, USC's #96 Brynn Boren was within reach of an upset of #19 Lorraine Guillermo. Boren had snagged the first set in a tiebreaker and fought out of an 0-5 hole in the second, only to wind up short of the upset with a 6-7 (3), 7-5, 1-0 (10-4) loss that registered the first point of the match for the Waves. Court five's matchup between USC senior Kaitlyn Christian and Pepperdine's Christine Maddox also extended into a 10-point decider, and the Waves caught the edge there, too. Christian had forced the third with a good win in the second set, but Maddox rang up the victory to make it a 5-2 final on her 7-5, 3-6, 1-0 (10-7) decision.
USC junior Giuliana Olmos was near unstoppable on both the doubles and singles courts at the ITA Kick-Off Weekend. She lost no more than two games per set in her two singles wins, and swept up two doubles shutout wins as the Women of Troy punched their ticket to the ITA National Team Indoor Championships with a pair of 4-0 wins at the ITA Kick-Off. Playing at the No. 3 singles spot, Olmos topped Valenzuela of North Texas 6-1, 6-2 on day one and then pounded Saint Mary's Kaur 6-0, 6-1 on the second day for another USC win. And playing with Zoë Scandalis on the doubles courts, Olmos pitched two perfect matches with 6-0 sweeps against both opponents at the No. 2 doubles spot.
DOMINATING FREEMAN DOUBLES
The big winners at the 2014 Freeman Memorial were Trojan doubles duo Giuliana Olmos and Zoë Scandalis, who streaked to the title match, where the Women of Troy took down a UCLA pair in the championship bout on Jan. 22. Olmos and Scandalis were the No. 3 seeded pair in the tourney. Ranked #7 in the nation, the Trojans lived up to their billing, registering solid wins in their first two matches before pulling off a 7-5 win in the semis to move into the title match. There, Olmos/Scandalis squared off against UCLA's Harrison/McPhillips, and the Trojans took care of business with a 6-4 victory that planted the championship trophy in the hands of Olmos and Scandalis.
BACK IN ACTION
The 2014 Trojans boast a strong group of returning talent, having graduated All-American Danielle Lao as well as Valeria Pulido from last year's squad. Reinforcements have come up big for the Women of Troy, however, with newcomers Brynn Boren and Zoë Katz teamed up as the nation's No. 3 doubles pair for 2014 -- their first season as Trojans. A second USC duo -- Giuliana Olmos and Zoë Scandalis -- also stand tall in the top-10 with a No. 7 doubles ranking to start the year. USC's defending NCAA doubles champions Kaitlyn Christian and Sabrina Santamaria will open their defense of that 2013 title with a No. 33 ranking for 2014. All-American Santamaria also sits atop the USC women's singles ladder as the No. 13 ranked singles player in the nation. Junior Giuliana Olmos is locked in at No. 60 in the singles standings, joined in the top-100 by fellow Women of Troy Gabriella DeSimone at No. 80 and senior newcomer and All-American Brynn Boren at No. 96. Boren and Christian are USC's two standout seniors this season, both holding All-American honors during their careers. This past summer, several Women of Troy teamed up to win a bronze medal for Team USA at the World University Games. Santamaria claimed a silver medal in singles to help her teammates Christian, DeSimone and Ellie Yates bring home hardware from Russia. In all, USC boasts four ITA All-Americans on its 2014 roster in Boren, Christian, Santamaria and Scandalis. USC head coach Richard Gallien has also added transfer Paige Keating to the roster.
USC junior Sabrina Santamaria played a key role in continuing the USA's winning tradition at the Master'U BNP Paribas Championships in France. The Trojan world traveler, who won silver in singles out at the World University Games in Russia this past summer, teamed up with collegiate players from around the nation for competition in Aix-en-Provence, France, against college-age athletes from Belgium, China, France, Germany, Great Britain, Ireland and Russia. In the USA's first match against Ireland, Santamaria teamed up with UVA's Mitchell Frank for a mixed-doubles victory that countered a three-set singles loss taken by Santamaria to Ireland's Sinead Lohan. The U.S. squad would take down Ireland 6-1 in that quarterfinal match and move on to play host France in the semifinals the next day. There, Santamaria ripped through Anais Van Cauter with a smooth 6-2, 6-1 win that helped propel the USA to another 6-1 victory. And in the final, Santamaria and her USA teammates shut out Russia 7-0 to claim the United States' third straight championship at the tournament. Santamaria, who ranks as the nation's No. 1 singles player and half of the No. 1 doubles team, was joined by UCLA's Robin Anderson and Georgia's Lauren Herring as the U.S. women on this year's trip to France. On the men's side, UCLA's Marcos Giron, Ohio State's Peter Kobelt and Virginia's Mitchell Frank rounded out the USA contingent for the Master'U competition. Santamaria follows in the footsteps of several other standout Trojans to make the venture to France for Master'U action. USC's Steve Johnson,Daniel Nguyen and Maria Sanchez have also represented Team USA in the past and helped win titles for the United States in past years.
The Women of Troy finished up the 2013 season as Pac-12 Champions and ranked No. 6 in the nation after a 23-3 mark that saw them reach the NCAA Round of 16, where USC was ousted by eventual national champ Stanford. Dynamic doubles duo Kaitlyn Christian and Sabrina Santamaria finished off a triple crown on the season when they added the 2013 NCAA Doubles Championship to the ITA/Riviera All-American and ITA National Indoor doubles crowns they had also picked up along the way.