Women's Tennis
    USC Women Host Three Teams This Week
    Valeria Puiido and the Trojans have three matches ahead in the next week.
    Valeria Puiido and the Trojans have three matches ahead in the next week.

    Feb. 7, 2011

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    THIS WEEK
    The No. 19 USC women settle back into Marks Stadium for a busy week of competition with three teams coming to Troy this week. The action begins on Tuesday (Feb. 8) when the Trojans (3-1) host No. 58 San Diego State at 1:30 p.m. Two days later, USC turns to face #25 South Florida in another 1:30 p.m. clash on Thursday (Feb. 10). The week will be capped off on Sunday (Feb. 13) with another solid matchup against No. 21 Texas at 12 p.m.

    ITA RANKING UPDATES
    The latest 2011 Campbell/ITA national team rankings were released February 3, with the Women of Troy ranked No. 19 in the nation. Individual rankings came out Jan. 4, with three Trojans ranked in singles and two doubles teams in the mix. Maria Sanchez leads the pack as the reigning National Indoor Singles Champion and the nation's #3 singles player. ITA Southwest Regional Singles Champion Danielle Lao opens the year in the top-10 at #10 on the list. And freshman Kaitlyn Christian kicks off her Trojan career with a #114 singles ranking. In doubles, USC's ITA Southwest Regional Doubles champs Valeria Pulido / Alison Ramos follow up a powerful fall with a #11 rank to start 2011, and Christian/Sanchez have combined forces to rank #80. The next team rankings will come out Feb. 8, and individual rankings will be updated on Feb. 14.

    SCOUTING SDSU
    The Aztecs are ranked No. 58 in the latest ITA rankings and are 3-1 overall after falling to No. 15 Washington 6-1 last week. SDSU has #27 Ellison/Ellison ranked in doubles. USC is 38-4 all-time against the Aztecs after posting a 5-2 win last season.

    SCOUTING USF
    The Bulls are ranked No. 25 in the Feb. 3 ITA rankings after going 1-1 to open the year with a 4-3 win over Illinois and a 4-2 loss to Georgia Tech at the ITA Kick-Off Weekend. USF has #24 Irene Rehberger ranked in singles, and #25 Bejikova/Martinez and #45 Rehberger/Vasenina ranked in doubles. USC is 1-0 all-time against the Bulls with their only other meeting coming in 1979 during the AIAW Nationals.

    SCOUTING UT
    The Longhorns rank No. 21 in the Feb. 3 ITA rankings after starting the year 2-1 with a 4-3 loss to Washington and a 6-1 win over Princeton at the ITA Kick-Off Weekend. Texas has #8 Aeriel Ellis ranked in singles and #87 Damico/Ellis ranked in doubles. USC is 12-7 overall against Texas with the Trojans claiming the latest win in a 2008 victory in Austin.

    LAST WEEK
    USC's last action came on a long trip to Michigan for the ITA Kick-Off Weekend in Ann Arbor. USC opened up the action with a tight 4-3 win over No. 46 NC State to move into the championship match against host No. 8 Michigan, which beat the Trojans 5-2 to put USC at a 3-1 overall record on the year. Against NC State, USC won the doubles point and got three straight-set singles wins from Maria Sanchez, Kaitlyn Christian and Alison Ramos to clinch the match early. Against Michigan, USC fought hard to snag the doubles point, but only Sanchez was able to grab a singles victory as the Wolverines emerged with the victory to steal away the ticket to the ITA National Team Indoor Championships coming up in a couple weeks. Sanchez has now her last 12 straight singles matches.

    FREEMAN SWEEP
    USC made it a championship sweep at the Freeman Memorial Championships in Las Vegas over the weekend. Senior Maria Sanchez reigned supreme across the board with a winning run to the singles title as well as the doubles crown alongside freshman teammate Kaitlyn Christian. Ranked No. 3 in the nation on the singles side, Sanchez snagged the top seed in the singles draw at the Freeman Memorial. The senior served up straight-set wins to all opponents except her semifinal foe Nicole Gibbs of Stanford. But once that win was under her belt, it was cruise control for Sanchez in today's title match. Sanchez topped No. 2 seed Olivia Janowicz of Florida with a smooth 6-3, 6-0 win to claim the singles crown for the USC senior. Next, it was over to the doubles courts to team back up with freshman Kaitlyn Christian as the draw's No. 3 seeded team in the mix. Christian/Sanchez were all business as they took on Bruins Jones/Johansson and posted a powerful 8-4 win over the UCLA pair in today's championship match to lock in on another title for the Trojans.

    BACK ON THE ATTACK
    USC comes off a 2010 season in which the Trojans reached the NCAA Tournament once again, and finished the year at 14-10 overall after a 5-3 mark in Pac-10 play. Whereas last year's Trojans were a largely young squad, the Trojans of 2011 have made the transition to an experienced group. Maria Sanchez clearly enters her senior season as USC's top gun as a 2010 ITA All-American and All-Pac-10 First Team selection. She's had a pair of unrelenting classmates by her side for the past three seasons in Cristala Andrews and Lyndsay Kinstler, who have snagged many a win in singles and doubles for the Trojans and remain factors in the USC lineup. Now a junior, Alison Ramos has proven herself a tough competitor with a knack for winning, and sophomores Danielle Lao and Valeria Pulido have their first year under their belts and are also now widely regarded as talented winners.

    TOP CLASS
    USC will welcome four new players to the courts next season, with the recent signings of a group of individuals who have each been ranked in the U.S. National top-10 in the past year. Joining the Women of Troy for the 2011-12 season are Gabrielle DeSimone, Giuliana Olmos, Sabrina Santamaria and Zoe Scandalis, USC head coach Richard Gallien announced. The class has been tabbed No. 1 in the nation according to Tennis Recruiting Network.