USC Women Get Air Time Against Arizona Friday, Face ASU Saturday|
April 5, 2016
The Women of Troy make their 2016 Pac-12 Networks debut this week in a televised matchup against Arizona on Friday (April 8) at Marks Stadium. No. 24 USC's quest to keep the ball rolling on its undefeated Pac-12 record will see the streaking Trojans (10-4, 5-0 Pac-12) tangle with No. 66 Arizona (12-9, 1-6) starting with doubles play at 2 p.m. that day. Singles action -- and the start of the Pac-12 Networks broadcast on Pac-12 Los Angeles and Pac-12 Arizona -- is set for a 3 p.m. start. From there, the Trojans will turn to another conference clash on Saturday (April 9) at 12 p.m. against No. 26 Arizona State
ORACLE/ITA RANKINGS UPDATES
The Women of Troy -- NCAA semifinalists in 2015 -- started the new year right where they left off, as the No. 2 team in the land in the first team rankings of 2016. In the latest round of national rankings (April 5), USC stands as the No. 24 team in the land. In the latest set of individual rankings (April 5), USC has five Trojans locked in with singles rankings. Senior Giuliana Olmos continues to lead the way, now ranked #22 in the nation. She's followed by a set of underclassmen -- sophomore #103 Gabby Smith, freshman #113 Jessica Failla, sophomore #117 Madison Westby and freshman #120 Rianna Valdes In doubles, USC boasts the #8 pair in the land in Olmos and Smith, while Zoë Katz and Westby now stand at #56.
The No. 66 Wildcats are 12-9 overall and 1-6 in Pac-12 play after beating WSU 5-2 and losing to Washington 4-3 last week. Arizona has #42 Lauren Marker nationally ranked in singles. In doubles, Arizona has #35 Austin/Marker. USC is 50-15 all-time against the Wildcats after a 5-2 win last season in Tucson.
The No. 26 Sun Devils are 15-4 overall and 6-1 in Pac-12 play after beating Washington 4-1 and WSU 6-1 last week. ASU has two players nationally ranked in singles: #23 Desirae Krawczyk and #84 Kassidy Jump. In doubles, ASU has #26 Osborne/Panoho and #65 Hampton/Jump. USC is 52-22 all-time against the Sun Devils after a 5-2 win last season in Tempe.
USC scooped up another pair of Pac-12 wins last week in a road trip through Utah and Colorado. On Friday in Salt Lake City, the Trojans pinned up their third consecutive shutout victory with a 4-0 decision over No. 74 host Utah. After snapping up the doubles point, the Women of Troy powered on through in singles and tacked up a trio of straight-set victories to lock in the road win. In singles action, the winning tone was set by senior Giuliana Olmos on court one. The #22 Olmos would churn out a 6-0, 6-0 sweep of Utah opponent Margo Pletcher to help set USC on its course to victory. At the No. 4 spot, USC's #108 sophomore Gabby Smith whipped up a 3-0 advantage for the Trojans with her 6-3, 6-1 win over Jena Chang to set the Trojans up to clinch things early. That's when #95 freshman Jessica Failla followed suit and matched Smith's second-set score with a 6-4, 6-1 victory over Taylor Calton on court five to put an end to the day's action with the 4-0 USC advantage. That suspended the remaining matches, where junior Zoë Katz was working on a comeback push on court two, #123 Madison Westby was closing in on a win at the No. 3 spot and #106 Rianna Valdes was also leading in her second set on court six. On Sunday in Boulder, USC stayed in winning mode on its Pac-12 road trip in pinning up a 6-1 victory over host Colorado. USC drummed up the doubles point before stringing together a set of three straight singles wins to secure the victory, clinched by Westby's win on court three. USC's path to victory was paved first by a powerful performance in doubles. Freshmen Failla and Valdes ripped off a 6-0 sweep on court two to start things off, and then Westby and Katz punched the first point up on the board for the Trojans with their 6-2 win at the No. 1 spot. The momentum built in doubles carried the Trojans right on into singles action. On court four, #95 Failla whipped up a 6-2, 6-2 win over Colorado's Alex Aiello to make it a 2-0 USC advantage. Up on court two, junior Katz looked right at home as she served up a 6-4, 6-1 win over Colorado's Jeannez Daniel to put her team in position for victory. On court three, #123 Westby answered the call and clinched victory for the Trojans with her 6-1, 7-5 win over Andrinopoulos. With that 4-0 advantage locked in, #106 Valdes retired from her match on court five against Colorado's Kyra Wojcik. Values had won the first set in a tiebreaker before retiring with the second set locked a 2-2 to surrender a point to the Buffs. Finishing out the match on a winning note were USC's #22 Olmos and freshman Kristen Venter. Olmos held court at the No. 1 spot and posted a 7-6 (4), 6-2 win over Colorado's #74 Nuria Ormeno Ruiz to make it 5-1, and then Venter scored her first dual-match win of her young Trojan career with a 7-6 (4), 2-6, 1-0 (10-7) victory over Brigitte Beck to wrap up a 6-1 decision for the Women of Troy.
SOLID SENIOR STATUS
USC's lone senior this season is the talented top gun Giuliana Olmos, the Trojans' only ITA All-American on the roster and a true veteran for USC. Her list of accolades continues to grow. A 2014 Pac-12 Doubles Champion with then-senior Kaitlyn Christian, Olmos would also earn All-Pac-12 Honorable Mention and reach the NCAA Singles and Doubles Rounds of 32 in her sophomore season. As a junior, Olmos won the ITA Southwest Regional Doubles Championship with partner Gabby Smith and went on to reach the Pac-12 singles semifinals, earned a place on the All-Pac-12 First Team and worked her way into the NCAA Singles Round of 32 as a 9-16 seed and to the NCAA Doubles Round of 16. Now a senior captain for the Women of Troy, Olmos continues to raise the bar as she's stepped into the No. 1 singles and No. 1 doubles slots this season. Olmos opened the 2015-16 season with her highest career singles ranking at #10 in the land. Her highest career doubles rank was #4 in February 2014 alongside Zoë Scandalis.
Senior Giuliana Olmos and junior Zoë Katz are the veterans on the Trojan roster this season, with three sophomores and two freshmen joining them for the bulk of the playing time in 2016. Sophomores Gabby Smith, Madison Westby and Meredith Xepoleas got a lion's share of experience as freshmen as they helped anchor USC's run to a No. 1 ranking and a run to the NCAA Semifinals in 2015. This year, that trio of sophomores brings back their savvy in helping USC's newcomers settle into the lineup. Freshmen Jessica Failla and Rianna Valdes are key components in the USC ladder, and both are ranked national singles rankings.
BY THE NUMBERS
USC's winningest Trojan in the singles realm this season so far is freshman Jessica Failla, who has claimed a team-best 18 singles wins to date. That has her just a step ahead of junior Zoë Katz' and senior Giuliana Olmos' 16 wins each, while sophomore Gabby Smith weighs in with 15 in the win column. In doubles, USC's winningest pair is the powerful #8-ranked Olmos and Smith, who have tacked up 13 wins together so far this season.
USC had two Pac-12 road matches canceled by rain in March. USC's March 11 matchup at No. 23 Stanford was the first to be rained out. On March 12, USC was in Berkeley to take on top-ranked California, but rain caused that match to be postponed until the next day. March 13 wasn't much better, as the teams barely got started in doubles when rain halted the match. Both matches will be played as necessary in April in conjunction with the Pac-12 Championships in Ojai, Calif.
ROSE CUP TO THE RESCUE!
Four years ago, USC women's tennis decided it wanted to make a difference in the world. When then-junior Kaitlyn Christian's mother was diagnosed with breast cancer, now-senior Giuliana Olmos was moved to find a way to help. Olmos and her teammates started the Rose Cup -- named for Kaitlyn's mother -- to raise money and awareness for breast cancer research. Every fall since the event's inception in 2012, USC student-athletes combine forces on the courts at Marks Stadium in support for the cause. Rose has since beaten her disease, and this season the Trojans dedicated their efforts in honor of Madison Westby's aunt Pam, who is currently in her own fight with breast cancer. At the fourth annual edition of the Rose Cup -- held in November 2015 -- the $5,000 raised through the tournament, t-shirts sold and other donations went directly to Dr. Julie Lang's research lab at the USC Norris Comprehensive Cancer Center.
MARKS STADIUM UPGRADE
The USC men's and women's tennis teams have called the David X. Marks Tennis Stadium home since its construction in 1971. This year, Trojan tennis moves back into a revamped and renovated home that is up-to-date and in line with the impressive accomplishments of both programs. The courts were open for action throughout construction, and a ribbon-cutting and dedication for the new facility was held on Feb. 16 to officially unveil the newest additions to the Marks Tennis Stadium -- the Buntmann Family Tennis Center, Fritz B. Burns Center Court, Lisa and Douglas Goldman Family Student-Athlete Learning Center and Michael Uytengsu Tennis Pavilion -- the happy home of the USC men's and women's tennis teams. The Buntmann Family Tennis Center entrance and lobby welcomes fans and visitors and put on display the rich history of USC tennis. To improve the building functionality and support the tennis program operations, the new Lisa and Douglas Goldman Family Student-Athlete Learning Studio supports direct collaboration between coaches, staff and athletes on a daily basis. The teams also utilize and enjoy brand-new suites with lockers, showers, team meeting rooms and lounges. Both teams have access to a new training room, a stringing storage area and a large multi-purpose room. To better accommodate and enhance the spectator experience, new spectator shade canopies have been added and a new elevator to the seating area has been installed. In addition to the lead gift from the Buntmann family, the renovation has been made possible thanks to financial support from the Lisa and Douglas Goldman family, the Fritz B. Burns Foundation, John Shea and Michael Uytengsu.
The 2015 Women of Troy had a banner season in earning their first #1 national ranking in over a decade and working their way to the NCAA Semifinals for the second time in four seasons. USC's 25-3 final overall record marked the most wins by the program since USC won the NCAA title in 1985 and the most wins in head coach Richard Gallien's 20-year tenure with the program. The Trojans also went undefeated in Pac-12 play in 2015 to win another conference title, and worked its way to the top of the national rankings for the first time since 2003. USC also was seeded No. 1 in the 2015 NCAA draw -- the Trojans' 24th consecutive trip to the tournament -- entering the tourney as the top seed for the first time since 1985, when USC last won a national championship. In all, it was an outstanding season for the Women of Troy, who were a balanced mix of veteran strength and freshman talent. For seniors Gabriella DeSimone, Sabrina Santamaria and Zoë Scandalis, the year marked their second NCAA Semifinal appearance, having reached that round as freshmen in 2012. Santamaria and junior Giuliana Olmos both picked up ITA All-American honors at the close of the season. Scandalis would go on to earn high honors as a top-9 finalist for the NCAA Woman of the Year awards.