USC Women Sweep Pac-12 Top Honors
May 15, 2013
The USC women's tennis team established itself as a dominant force to reckon with in the Pac-12 Conference this season. The undefeated league champs have also scored the No. 5 seed into the 2013 NCAA Championships, but for an extra boost into their coming Round of 16 competition, the 23-2 Women of Troy have earned a special set of high honors. USC has a near-sweep of this year's Pac-12 awards, with Sabrina Santamaria named Pac-12 Player of the Year, Richard Gallien named Pac-12 Coach of the Year and Kaitlyn Christian and Sabrina Santamaria named Pac-12 Doubles Team of the Year for the second year in a row. Santamaria and Danielle Lao have also landed spots on the All-Pac-12 First Team, and Zoë Scandalis has earned All-Pac-12 Second Team honors.
Sabrina Santamaria is the fourth USC woman to be be named Pac-12 Player of the Year. Just a sophomore, Santamaria has been ranked No. 1 and No. 2 in the nation in singles this season. Entering this week's NCAA action, she has won 21 straight singles matches for an overall record of 30-3 to date. In dual-match play, Santamaria holds a perfect 17-0 mark, having gone 9-0 during Pac-12 play. She's also tabbed as the No. 2 seed in the NCAA Singles draw and the No. 2 seed in doubles with teammate Christian. Now a four-time ITA All-American, Santamaria joins former Trojan Pac-12 Players of the Year Nicole Leimbach (2005), Lindsey Nelson (2007) and Maria Sanchez (2011) in the history books. An All-Pac-12 Second Team selection as a freshman, Santamaria holds All-Pac-12 First Team honors this year to go along with her 2013 Player of the Year status and now back-to-back honors as a member of the Pac-12 Doubles Team of the Year.
Sabrina Santamaria has teamed up with her trusty partner and longtime friend Kaitlyn Christian for the second straight season, and the power pair has not faltered in any realm of doubles competition. Now back-to-back Pac-12 Doubles Team of the Year, the dynamic Trojan duo have also successfully defended their Pac-12 Doubles Championship and ITA National Indoor Doubles Championship this season. Undefeated this season with a 32-0 overall record and a 15-0 mark in dual matches, Christian/Santamaria are ranked No. 2 in the nation, although they held the No. 1 spot for the bulk of the season until mid-April rankings had them slide to No. 2. ITA All-Americans last season as the No. 4 seed into the 2012 NCAA Doubles tourney, the pair has locked in another set of All-American honors with this year's No. 2 seed in the coming NCAA Doubles Championships.
Now a four-time Pac-12 Coach of the Year, USC head coach Richard Gallien led the Women of Troy to a perfect 10-0 finish in the competitive Pac-12 Conference, as no team was able to take more than two points from USC in a Pac-12 dual match. The Trojans carry a 15-match win streak for a 23-2 overall record into the NCAA Round of 16, holding the No. 5 seed in the draw. For the first time since 2006, USC beat crosstown rival UCLA in back-to-back matches. Gallien's Trojans also started the season with its most dominant start to a season in program history, set in 1982 with five straight shutout wins. This season, Gallien has seen his players rank No. 1 in both singles and doubles. Three different Trojans have been ranked in the nation's top-10 in singles during the season, and doubles pair Christian/Santamaria has been at No. 1 and No. 2 throughout the year. Now with his 17th 20-win season with the Women of Troy, Gallien's overall record stands at 332-131 at USC and 402-155 in his career [Due to NCAA penalty, 7 previous wins left undecided and 1 win became a loss; revised USC record: 324-132 and revised career total: 387-156]. Gallien also was awarded the Pac-12 Coach of the Year honors in 1999, 2006 and 2009.
Making her debut on the All-Pac-12 First Team is senior Danielle Lao. An ITA All-American for the first time last year, Lao now has 2013 ITA All-American status as well with this year's pick as a 9-16 seed in the 2013 NCAA Singles draw for her fourth trip to the NCAA Singles competition in her four years as a Trojan. The leader of the Women of Troy, Lao has the most dual-match singles wins (19) on the team and holds an overall singles record of 26-5 while standing as the nation's No. 9 ranked singles player. She climbed as high as No. 3 in the nation earlier this season. This is Lao's first selection to the All-Pac-12 First Team, having landed Second Team honors as a sophomore and junior and Honorable Mention as a freshman. This year, the senior captain was named to the ITA National Indoor All-Tournament Team at the No. 1 singles spot, and also won the ITA Southwest Regional Doubles Championship.
Landing a spot on the All-Pac-12 Second Team this year -- as well as making a return trip to NCAA Singles action -- is sophomore Zoë Scandalis. A 2012 ITA All-American and the ITA National Player to Watch, Scandalis is currently ranked No. 27 in the nation in singles and is 19-8 overall to date. She was an All-Pac-12 First Team pick last year. This season, Scandalis has posted a 15-2 record in dual-match singles play, going 9-1 in Pac-12 action to help the Trojans bring home back-to-back Pac-12 Team titles.
Sabrina Santamaria (USC)
Pac-12 Coach of the Year
All-Pac-12 Second Team