Women's Tennis
    No. 17 USC Women Set Sail For San Diego

    Feb. 23, 2011

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    THIS WEEK
    The No. 17 USC women are back in action this week witha road trip on the agenda. The Trojans take a 6-1 overall record down to San Diego for a bout with the No. 27 Toreros at 1:30 p.m. on Friday (Feb. 25).

    ITA RANKING UPDATES
    The latest 2011 Campbell/ITA national team rankings were released Feb. 22, with the Women of Troy ranked No. 17 in the nation. Individual rankings came out Feb. 14, with two 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 #1 singles player. ITA Southwest Regional Singles Champion Danielle Lao opened the year in the top-10 at #10 on the list and is now #25 in the land. In doubles, USC has Kaitlyn Christian and Sanchez up to #9 after starting out at #80, and ITA Southwest Regional Doubles champs Valeria Pulido / Alison Ramos now rank #15.

    SCOUTING USD
    The Toreros are ranked No. 27 in the latest ITA rankings and are 5-2 overall after sweeping UC Irvine 7-0 last week. San Diego has Stephanie Hoffpauir ranked #66 in singles. USC is 23-3 all-time against the Toreros after a 4-0 win during the 2010 ITA Kick-Off Weekend.

    LAST WEEK
    USC's last action was a busy week of three matches. The Trojans pounded out three decisive wins during that stretch, beating No. 60 San Diego State 7-0 before pinning up 6-1 wins over both No. 27 South Florida and No. 22 Texas at Marks Stadium. Maria Sanchez, Danielle Lao, Kaitlyn Christian and Cristala Andrews all went 3-for-3 in singles action on the week to help boost the Trojans to a winning run. In doubles, the pairings of Christian/Sanchez and Kinstler/Lao also enjoyed a sweep of the week from the doubles courts.

    SANCHEZ REIGNS SUPREME
    USC senior Maria Sanchez has ridden a 15-match win streak all the way to the top of the ITA/Campbell National Rankings, as the Trojan now stands as the top-ranking player in women's collegiate tennis. Sanchez opened the spring ranked No. 3 overall, having established herself as a national champion in winning the prestigious ITA National Indoor Championships during the fall. Now officially No. 1 in the land, Sanchez holds the highest ranking of her career, and becomes the first USC women's player to rank No. 1 since Amanda Fink did so in 2006. Boasting a dominating 20-1 overall singles record, Sanchez' only loss to date came in a three-setter to her own teammate, Danielle Lao, in the ITA Southwest Regional Championship match. During her winning surge to the top, Sanchez has captured wins over four top-10 singles players and has pieced together six consecutive straight-set victories.

    MORE FOR MARIA
    For her winning run through three dual matches in mid-February, Maria Sanchez picked up her fourth career honor as the Pac-10 Player of the Week on Feb. 14. She had a hand in at least one clinching victory in all three USC wins, coming through with the winner in the doubles point against San Diego State and Texas, and locking down the match-winning singles victories against South Florida and also against Texas. Sanchez pinned up straight-set wins in singles in all three matches - taking down both the No. 25 ranked player and the No. 8 player in the nation in the process. In doubles, she and teammate Kaitlyn Christian upset USF's No. 45-ranked team and also beat Texas' No. 87 pair.

    FREEMAN SWEEP
    USC made it a championship sweep at the Freeman Memorial Championships in Las Vegas over the weekend. Maria Sanchez dominated 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 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 the championship match to lock in on another title for the Trojans. For her powerful efforts in the first action of the spring, Sanchez grabbed the first Pac-10 Player of the Week award of the year on Jan. 18.

    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 entered 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.