Women's Tennis
    Trojans Pop Up In ITA Preseason Rankings
    Ray Sarmiento leads the pack at No. 15 entering the 2011 preseason.
    Ray Sarmiento leads the pack at No. 15 entering the 2011 preseason.

    Sept. 13, 2011

    ITA preseason rankings are out with Trojan tennis well represented in the lineup. USC boasts a bevy of talent on the men's and women's side, stacked with a solid set of veterans and a some exciting fresh faces. In all, three men and two women have landed in the top-70 singles slots, with a doubles team apiece appearing among the preseason picks.

    Three-in-a-row national champion USC men's tennis boasts an impressive returning roster with sophomores Ray Sarmiento and Emilio Gomez and senior Daniel Nguyen all ranked in the singles department. German newcomer Yannick Hanfman comes in at No. 2 on the 2011 Newcomer/Freshman list. Meanwhile, Nguyen and Sarmiento come in at No. 35 on the national doubles scene after teaming up for a 9-1 record last season, including four wins together during the NCAA Team Championships.

    The clincher for USC's past two titles, Daniel Nguyen enters his final season at USC ranked No. 16 with his eyes on a fourth ring. Nguyen landed an All-Pac-10 Honorable Mention to his prolific résumé last season as a junior and finished the year ranked No. 40 in singles.

    Returning All-American Ray Sarmiento starts his sophomore season at No. 15 in singles, having turned heads with his trip to the NCAA Singles Round of 16 in his freshman season. An All-Pac-10 Second Team honoree, Sarmiento finished the year ranked No. 39 in the nation.

     

     

    Emilio Gomez earned a spot on the NCAA All-Tournament Team and All-Pac-10 Honorable Mention after going 24-5 overall in singles play at the No. 5 spot as a freshman. He'll start up his second season at USC with a No. 66 singles ranking.

    Absent from the 2011 preseason rankings is USC senior and defending NCAA singles champ Steve Johnson, who is not competing for the Trojans this fall but will return to USC for competition in the spring as the Trojan men take aim at a fourth straight NCAA championship.

    On the women's side of the game, junior Danielle Lao tops the list at No. 16 for singles, with sophomore Kaitlyn Christian ranked No. 60. Christian also pairs up with freshman Sabrina Santamaria at the No. 18 doubles slot.

    Finishing the 2011 season ranked No. 23, Lao has climbed the charts seven spots, looking to lead the Women of Troy to a national championship. In her sophomore season, Lao reached the NCAA Singles Round of 32 and earned a spot on the All-Pac-10 Second Team. She'll also be looking to defend her title as the reigning ITA Southwest Region Singles Champion.

    Entering her second year at Troy, Kaitlyn Christian comes in with a 26-9 overall singles record, and earned honors as an ITA All-American in doubles last season to help secure her both singles and doubles preseason rankings in her second season. She finished spring 2011 ranked No. 90 in the nation in singles and was at No. 5 in doubles with teammate Maria Sanchez. Christian will team up with freshman Sabrina Santamaria for doubles this fall, as the pair enjoy a No. 18 start to the season.

    The USC men open their fall season next week at the Harvard Crimson Invitational starting September 23 in Cambridge, Mass. The women, meanwhile, will kick off the fall at the Riveria/ITA All-American on October 2 in Pacific Palisades, Calif.

    TROJANS IN THE ITA PRESEASON RANKINGS

    MEN'S SINGLES
    #15 Ray Sarmiento
    #16 Daniel Nguyen
    #66 Emilio Gomez

    MEN'S DOUBLES
    #35 Daniel Nguyen / Ray Sarmiento

    MEN'S NEWCOMERS/FRESHMEN
    #2 Yannick Hanfmann

    WOMEN'S SINGLES
    #16 Danielle Lao
    #60 Kaitlyn Christian

    WOMEN'S DOUBLES
    #18 Kaitlyn Christian / Sabrina Santamaria