Women's Tennis
    No. 4 USC Women Prep For More Pac-12 Play

    Already past the 300 career win mark as a head coach, Richard Gallien is looking for his 300th win with the Trojans this week.

    March 27, 2012

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    The No. 4 USC women settle back into the friendly confines of Marks Stadium this week, beginning a four-match home stand of Pac-12 play. USC head coach Richard Gallien enters the stretch with a 299-127 overall record with the Women of Troy as he looks to tally his 300th win at USC. The first opportunity comes on Friday (March 30) when USC (14-2, 3-0 Pac-12) hosts No. 59 Oregon (9-5, 0-4) at 1:30 p.m. at Marks Stadium. Then the Trojans take on No. 22 Washington (6-7, 0-4) in a 12 p.m. match on Saturday (March 31) to wrap up this week's action.

    The latest round of 2012 Campbell/ITA national team rankings were unfurled today (March 27), with the USC women now ranked No. 4 in the land. From Feb. 28 to March 5, USC sat at No. 2 in the nation to carry their highest ranking since 2006. USC first cracked the top-10 this year on Feb. 16. Four Women of Troy are holding strong in the top-100 individual rankings (released March 27), led by #15 Zoë Scandalis, who is followed by #22 Danielle Lao, #36 Sabrina Santamaria and #76 Kaitlyn Christian. In doubles, USC has Christian/Santamaria at #2, with Valeria Pulido and Scandalis ranked #52.

    USC swept through the mountain states for two 7-0 wins in the Trojans' first-ever visits to Utah and Colorado last week in Pac-12 action. Against the Utes, the Trojans rolled through doubles action after #49 Pulido/Scandalis kick-started the winning day with an 8-3 win on court two. USC's top pair of #4 Christian/Santamaria stayed strong with an 8-6 win at the No. 1 spot, and USC had its 1-0 win in the books just before Lao/Ramos wrapped up their Utah opponents 8-4 on court three to move into singles play. The bottom of the lineup was the spark in singles. Senior Alison Ramos made short work of Sammie Watson on court six with a 6-3, 6-2 win for a lift to 2-0 for the Trojans in the match. Gabriella DeSimone set USC up for victory next with her 6-4, 6-0 win at the No. 5 position, while #65 Kaitlyn Christian was shrugging off a first-set slip-up and hitting the cruise control by not giving up a single game in the next to sets for her 5-7, 6-0, 6-0 clincher. At the No. 1 spot, Zoë Scandalis also had dipped in the first set before rallying back to victory. The #21 freshman finished off #63 Anastasia Putilina with a 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 comeback that made it a 5-0 USC lead. Meanwhile, second-set tiebreakers led into 10-point tiebreaks to decide the remaining matches on courts two and three. Both Women of Troy proved resilient en route to victory. First, #18 Danielle Lao recovered from a tough loss in the second set to win her No. 2 singles match vs. Sarah Pham 6-3, 6-7 (4), 1-0 (10-5). And #31 Sabrina Santamaria also flipped a winning switch in the final stretch to beat Callie Craig 2-6, 7-6 (1), 1-0 (10-2) and wrap up the shutout for the Women of Troy. Two days later in another high-altitude matchup, it was domination down the line for the Trojans over Colorado today, with three solid doubles wins giving way to a run of straight-set singles wins. USC's trusty doubles duos of #4 Christian/Santamaria, #49 Pulido/Scandalis and Lao/Ramos powered the Trojans past the Buffs on the doubles courts. Lao/Ramos have now won five matches in a row together, and today's win was the clincher to haul in the first point of the day for USC. In singles, Valeria Pulido was all business in her No. 5 position, giving up nothing to Colorado's Carla Manzi Tenorio in a 6-0, 6-0 sweep that marked Pulido's sixth consecutive singles win. On court one, #21 Scandalis was similarly dominant with her 6-2, 6-0 win over Kristina Schlech, and USC was a win away from securing its victorious Pac-12 road trip. At the No. 4 spot, DeSimone sealed the deal on a 6-3, 6-2 win over Erin Sanders to lock the freshman in on her seventh match-clinching singles win of the year. Now up 4-0 in the match, the rest of the Trojan lineup brought it home. Ramos delivered a 6-2, 6-3 win over Ashley Tiefel on court six; #31 Santamaria pinned up a 6-2, 6-3 win over Winde Janssens at the No. 2 spot, and #65 Christian wrapped up the day's action with a 6-0, 6-4 win over Julyette Steur for the 7-0 sweep.

    The No. 59 Ducks are 9-5 overall and 0-4 in Pac-12 play after falling 5-2 to ASU and 6-1 to Arizona and beating Northern Arizona 6-1 in the last week. Oregon has no players nationally ranked in singles or doubles. USC is 16-0 all-time against the Ducks after a 7-0 win over Oregon last year in Pac-10 play in Eugene.

    The No. 22 Huskies enter the week at 6-7 overall and 0-4 in Pac-12 play after falling 4-3 at Arizona and 5-2 at ASU last week. Washington has #20 Denise Dy nationally ranked in singles. USC is 18-2 all-time against the Huskies a 6-1 win over Washington last year in Pac-10 play at Marks Stadium.

    USC head coach Richard Gallien collected his 300th career win last season, but he's now just moments away from also notching win No. 300 at USC. Gallien entered the 2012 campaign with USC record of 285-125 (not including matches later vacated per NCAA penalty issued in 2009 due to ineligible player). Now with his Women of Troy gripping a 14-2 overall record and sitting as the No. 4 team in the nation, Gallien is one win away from hitting the 300-win mark at Troy. Come cheer the Trojans on as they look to get Gallien his 300th win at Troy this week!

    20-WIN CLUB
    The Women of Troy have four players standing tall in the 20-win section of the singles world to date, led by 27-7 Zoë Scandalis and her fellow freshman Sabrina Santamaria, who is up to 24-5 overall. Sophomore Kaitlyn Christian and Danielle Lao both recently hit the 20-win mark, with Christian at 22-6 overall and Lao giving up the least ground with just four losses to 21 total wins to date. There's also one Trojan doubles tandem also now in the club, with the youthful Christian/Santamaria combo locked in at 22-8.

    Freshman Gabriella DeSimone secured her first career Pac-12 Player of the Week award on Feb. 27 after serving up two match-clinching singles wins, including a winner in the Trojans' upset victory over No. 5 California to snap a five-match losing skid for USC against the Bears. DeSimone opened the week with an impressive three-set comeback win that clinched an eventual 7-0 USC win over UC Santa Barbara. DeSimone bounced back from a first-set loss to Paola Cos with a dominating effort in the next two sets, including a shutout in the third for a 2-6, 6-1, 6-0 victory. Two days later, DeSimone held strong against her ranked Cal opponent, #103 Cecilia Estlander, to register another big clincher in a 7-5, 6-2 win that put the Trojans ahead 4-2 in the match. USC's eventual 4-3 decision over the Bears was the second upset win over a top-10 team for the Trojans this season. The winning week improved the No. 7 USC women to 9-1 overall -- USC's best start to a season since 2006. DeSimone is now 17-7 overall in singles and 12-3 in dual match play.

    For her efforts on both the singles and doubles courts in two Trojan shutout wins, Kaitlyn Christian earned her first career selection as Pac-12 Player of the Week on Feb. 6. Christian didn't lose a single set in singles that week, and also won out in doubles as USC topped #34 Saint Mary's and #27 Pepperdine with shutouts. Her singles wins from her No. 4 position were both dominating. #99 Christian beat Anna Chkhikvishili 6-2, 6-2 on Thursday, then blasted Arianna Colffer 6-1, 6-2 on Saturday. Teamed up in doubles with Sabrina Santamaria at the No. 1 position, the #3 pair served up 8-4 wins in both matches. Christian is currently 14-2 in dual-match singles now with a 22-6 overall record. In doubles with Santamaria, she holds a 22-8 overall record with a 7-5 dual-match record at the No. 1 position.

    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 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 27-7 overall in singles play and 9-4 at the No. 1 singles spot.

    The USC women reached the semifinals of the ITA National Team Indoor Championships for the first time since 2003 and third time overall with an impressive run at the action out in Charlottesville, Va. To open, USC gutted out its first win over a top-10 team since 2009 with a 4-2 comeback win over No. 8 North Carolina in the first round. After UNC sneaked away with the doubles point, USC buckled in for the long haul in singles, claiming three straight-set victories before junior Danielle Lao pinned up the heroic clincher with a three-setter from court two. In the quarterfinals, USC locked in on its best start since 1999 in claiming its seventh straight win of 2012 with a 4-1 comeback win over No. 17 Tennessee. The Vols were riding an upset of No. 5 Baylor from the previous day on the way into the quarterfinal clash with the Trojans, but again USC was undeterred when the doubles point slipped away from its grasp. Instead, USC answered the call and flexed its singles muscle with four straight-set wins to plow to a 4-1 win over the Vols, clinched this time by Gabriella DeSimone. In the semis, USC went up against No. 4-ranked rival UCLA and this time was unable to fight back from falling in the double point, as the Bruins claimed a 4-0 win over the Trojans on their way to winning it all with a sweep up top-seeded Duke in the title match.

    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 gave #3 Christian/Santamaria their second tournament title together, going along with the 2011 National Indoor Championship claimed in the fall.

    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 then-#42-ranked Lao. She's now up to #16 in the land, holding a 21-4 singles mark on the season with a near-perfect 12-1 stand in dual matches.

    USC's doubles duo of Kaitlyn Christian and Sabrina Santamaria topped off their historic run at the ITA National Indoor Championships by etching their names as champions with a comeback win in the doubles title match. The two Women of Troy were the first to reach a doubles final, and now stand as the first USC doubles team -- female or male -- to win the doubles crown at the tourney. Kelly Henry and Sue Pendo were the only other USC women's doubles team to reach the final back in 1984. The Trojans' resurgence to the title match saw sophomore Christian and freshman Santamaria serve upsets of the No. 2, No. 4 and finally the No. 3 seeded teams in the draw. In the championship clash with No. 3 seeded Frilling/Mathews of Notre Dame, the Women of Troy fell behind in the first set before rallying back to take the match and the title with a 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 victory at the USTA-Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on Nov. 6.

    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 24-5 overall singles record with an 13-1 mark in dual matches.

    USC posted 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.