April 15, 2014
USC Women's Tennis Release
The No. 12 USC women's tennis team will play its regular-season finale in Westwood this week, making its Pac-12 Networks debut with a rivalry clash against No. 2 UCLA. The Trojans and the Bruins tangled last month at Marks Stadium, but this week's face-off marks the final match of Pac-12 competition for both teams, ratcheting up the importance of this one. No. 12 USC (16-6, 7-2 Pac-12) will pay a visit to No. 2 UCLA (20-2, 8-1) for action beginning at 12:30 p.m. on Friday (April 18). Doubles play will be first on the docket, followed by singles play starting at 2 p.m. along with the broadcast portion of the match on Pac-12 Networks. Tennis commentators Paul Sunderland and Paul Goldstein will be on the call in Westwood. WATCH LIVE ONLINE
ITA RANKING UPDATES
The Women of Troy opened 2014 ranked No. 5 in the nation, and the latest rankings have USC listed at No. 12 in the land as of April 15. The latest individual rankings of 2014 also went up on April 15, with four Women of Troy locked into the national singles scene and three Trojan doubles duos still on the list. Junior Sabrina Santamaria -- who has been sidelined for the season by injury -- leads the charge in singles as the No. 16 player in the nation. Also locked in for USC are No. 26 Zoë Scandalis, No. 77 Giuliana Olmos and No. 93 freshman Zoë Katz, who stepped into the singles rankings for the first time in her Trojan career on Feb. 25. USC's doubles teams are a daunting group. The Trojans boast three top-25 teams. Junior duo Olmos and Zoë Scandalis remain secure in the top-10 at No. 8 in the land this week, while the new Trojan pairing of senior transfer Boren and freshman Zoë Katz weigh in at No. 17. 2013 NCAA champs Kaitlyn Christian and Sabrina Santamaria rank No. 24, although their campaign has come to a close following Santamaria's season-ending injury.
The No. 2 Bruins are 20-2 overall and 8-1 in Pac-12 play after beating Arizona and Arizona State both 7-0 last week. The Bruins have five players nationally ranked in singles: #2 Robin Anders, #10 Jennifer Brady, #13 Chanelle Van Nguyen, #30 Kyle McPhillips and #72 Catherine Harrison. In doubles, UCLA has three ranked teams: #1 Anderson/Brady, #6 Harrison/McPhillips and #29 Brady/Harrison. USC is 48-41 all-time against UCLA in a series dating back to 1977. The Bruins have claimed two wins over USC this season, first taking a 4-0 win in the ITA National Team Indoor semifinals and then a 5-2 win in a nonconference match at Marks Stadium. Last year, the Trojans beat the Bruins twice -- 4-2 in Westwood and then 6-1 at Marks Stadium to finish off USC's undefeated Pac-12 season and claim the 2013 Pac-12 Championship.
In their final regular-season matches on home turf, USC whipped up two important Pac-12 wins last week as the Trojans topped No. 19 Arizona State 4-2 and then silenced No. 25 Arizona 4-0 to take over as the conference's No. 4 team in the standings. Against the Sun Devils, snagging the doubles point was key for the Trojans cause, and they made a powerful move to the lead with success in the doubles realm. In singles, ASU would close the match to a one-point margin twice, but the Women of Troy had the last word. USC's two Zoës were up to the challenge, but it was junior Zoë Scandalis who reached the finish line first to claim the clincher on her 7-5, 6-4 win on court one. That put the Trojans up 4-2, leaving freshman Zoë Katz' match suspended with her up 3-1 in a second-set tiebreaker on court six. The next day against the Wildcats, the clincher once again came from Scandalis on court one, where the #26 ranked junior manufactured comebacks in both sets en route to a straight-set victory that wrapped up the day's action. USC's doubles duos were on point again, finding their winning touch with strong performances down the line. At the top spot, Kaitlyn Christian and Scandalis paired well together once again for an 8-2 win over Arizona's Marker/Stubbe. The Trojans were poised for victory at both the No. 2 and No. 3 slots later, but it was Brynn Boren and Giuliana Olmos who hit the finish line first with an 8-4 finish of Austin/Smyth on court two to secure the doubles point for USC and suspend Gabriella DeSimone and Zoë Katz' match with the two Women of Troy holding a 7-2 lead on James/McRann. In singles play, the Women of Troy stated their case early in snagging the first sets on all but one court. Two Trojans slammed their foot on the gas from there. On court four, Gabriella DeSimone steamrolled Akilah James with a 6-1, 6-1 victory that took USC to a 2-0 lead. Over on court five, #76 Giuliana Olmos won the first nine games of her matchup with Shayne Austin before pulling off her 6-0, 6-2 win to take the Trojans to a 3-0 advantage. Things tightened up on the remaining courts after that, though. Third sets popped up on courts two and six, although Brynn Boren was able to regain control in her third set at the No. 2 spot against Kim Stubbe. While she was closing in on victory, Zoë Scandalis got down to business on court one. The #26 junior had trailed 1-4 in the first set before taking it 7-5, and she had again fallen in a 1-4 hole in the second. Undeterred, Scandalis charged on and finished off the match with a 7-5, 6-4 clincher over Arizona's #60 Lacey Smyth to make it a 4-0 final.
USC junior Zoë Scandalis has now notched two Pac-12 Player of the Week selections this season -- both after posting back-to-back match-clinching singles wins for the Trojans in Pac-12 competition. Her first statement trip through a winning conference weekend came on the road at Colorado and Utah. She'd pick up her first pick of the year as Pac-12 Player of the Week on March 18 for her efforts there after having secured wins over Colorado's Julyette Steur and then over Utah's #125 Tereza Bekerova. Both wins locked the Trojans in with their fourth point of each match. This past week, Scandalis duplicated that effort with two more clinchers to claim the Pac-12 Player of the Week pick on March 15. Playing again at the No. 1 singles spot, Scandalis secured straight-set wins -- both 7-5, 6-4 -- over ASU's #68 Stephanie Vlad and then over Arizona's #60 Lacey Smyth to secure victory for the Trojans and improve USC to 16-6 overall. Scandalis also paired with Kaitlyn Christian in No. 1 doubles for the weekend, having their first match together suspended when USC clinched the doubles point against ASU. The next day, Christian and Scandalis grabbed the first win of the day with an 8-2 victory over Arizona's Marker/Stubbe. Now ranked No. 26 in the nation in singles and No. 8 in doubles with teammate Giuliana Olmos, Scandalis has improved her overall singles record to 17-7 and is now 13-3 in dual match singles play. She and Olmos are 22-7 overall together in doubles.
SANTAMARIA OUT FOR SEASON
World University Games silver medalist and one half of the defending NCAA Doubles Championship team, junior Sabrina Santamaria has been sidelined for the remainder of the season after suffering an ACL tear in her No. 1 singles match on March 2. Santamaria entered the 2013-14 season ranked No. 1 in the nation in singles and in doubles with senior teammate Kaitlyn Christian. A four-time ITA All-American, Santamaria was the 2013 Pac-12 Player of the Year as a sophomore -- the same season that she and Christian became USC's first-ever NCAA doubles winners and completing the first collegiate tennis "Triple Crown" as doubles champs at the ITA All-American Championship, the ITA National Indoors Championship and the NCAA Tournament. The pair also has been named the Pac-12 Doubles Team of the Year the past two seasons. In her two-and-a-half seasons of work to date, Santamaria has gone 79-19 overall in singles and 83-18 in doubles.
BEATING THE BEARS
USC was a force to reckon with in its first clash of the year against No. 4 California, taking out a big Pac-12 foe with a strong 6-1 victory at Marks Stadium and marking a big win into the books for 2014 action. The victory over the Golden Bears came with the Trojans snagging a tight doubles point and then rattling off four straight-set singles wins in a row to bring home the win. Freshman Zoë Katz showed no fear against her ranked opponent in coming through with the clincher on her 6-0 6-4 victory over Cal's #84 Klara Fabikova. On court one in doubles, USC's defending NCAA champs Kaitlyn Christian and Sabrina Santamaria were in winning form for an 8-2 victory at the top. The Golden Bears answered back with an 8-6 win over USC's #4 Olmos/Scandalis to even the score, cranking up the tension on court three. The decider would come down to a tiebreaker there, with USC's #8 pair of Brynn Boren and Zoë Katz pulling of the clutch win with a 9-8 (2) decision over Cal's Chi/Duranteau to notch a big 1-0 lead for the host Trojans. That edge was an important momentum boost for the Women of Troy. At the No. 4 spot, #50 Zoë Scandalis rebounded from that doubles defeat and was all business in her singles clash with #15 Denise Starr. Scandalis drummed up a 2-0 lead for the Trojans with her swift 6-1, 6-1 decision. Fellow junior #26 Sabrina Santamaria delivered a 6-2, 6-1 win over Cal's #37 Annet Schutting on court one next, and USC was up 3-0 on the No. 4 Bears. Freshman Zoë Katz came out with guns blazing against #84 Klara Fabikova at the No. 5 spot. Katz shut out her Golden Bear foe in the first set and would roll on to a 6-0, 6-4 victory that got USC ahead 4-0 for the clincher. On court four, junior #99 Giuliana Olmos followed her doubles partner Scandalis to end the day on a win with her 6-3, 7-5 upset of #66 Lynn Chi, and USC was holding a 5-0 lead on the Bears. Cal's only point of the day would come on court two, where #16 Zsofi Susanyi was able to fend off USC's #118 Boren with a 6-3, 6-2 decision that made it 5-1. The Women of Troy would be sure to have the last word, however, with #123 Gabriella DeSimone finishing off one last upset with her 6-3, 3-6, 1-0 (6) victory over Cal's #59 Maegan Manasse on court six to wrap the 6-1 win for USC.
USC freshman Zoë Katz had match-clinching victories in back-to-back matches for the Trojans while also picking up doubles wins as well as the Trojans topped #58 San Diego State 7-0 and upset #4 California 6-1. For her winning efforts, Katz was named Pac-12 Player of the Week, becoming the first of the Women of Troy to win the award this season. Against Pac-12 power Cal, Katz showed no fear in the No. 9 Trojans' big match against No. 4 Cal. She and doubles teammate Brynn Boren fought back and pulled out the doubles point with a tense 9-8 (2) victory for an important boost against the higher ranked Bears. In singles, Katz stayed in high gear and pulled off the match-clinching upset of #84 Klara Fabikova on court five. Katz silenced Fabikova in the first set and continued to roll in the second for a 6-0, 6-4 win that sealed a 4-0 lead for the Trojans to bring home the win. In USC's Tuesday match on the road at San Diego State, Katz teamed with Boren for an 8-5 win at the No. 2 spot before taking in the clincher in singles on her dominating 6-0, 6-1 win over SDSU's Somoracz on court five. Now ranked No. 93 in the nation in singles, Katz is 11-8 overall in singles and 20-6 in doubles with Boren as the nation's #13 ranked pair.
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. The junior is now ranked No. 76 in the nation in singles with a 15-9 overall record and an 11-5 mark in dual matches. She and Scandalis rank No. 6 in the nation in doubles with a 22-7 overall record together to date.
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. Then 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 having kicked off spring competition ranked 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 opened the year standing tall in the top-10 with a No. 7 doubles ranking. USC's defending NCAA doubles champions Kaitlyn Christian and Sabrina Santamaria began 2014 with a No. 33 ranking for 2014. All-American Santamaria also sat atop the USC women's singles ladder as the No. 13 ranked singles player in the nation. Junior Giuliana Olmos locked in at No. 60 in the first round of 2014 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.