Women's Tennis
    ITA Southwest Regionals Start Up For Trojans
    Danielle Lao enters the 2011 women's tournament as the defending singles champ.
    Danielle Lao enters the 2011 women's tournament as the defending singles champ.

    Oct. 19, 2011

    USC men's and women's tennis plans to divide and conquer this week with trips to their respective ITA Southwest Regional Championships. The USC men are sending six players into singles action along with three doubles teams into the mix in Malibu, Calif., for competition running Oct. 20-23. The Women of Troy also have six singles slots filled on the women's side in San Diego, Calif., and all six will also be teaming up for three doubles pairs in action.

    USC junior #16 Danielle Lao enters the women's singles bracket as the defending champion. She upended teammate Maria Sanchez last season in the singles title match just after two other Women of Troy -- Valeria Pulido and Alison Ramos -- claimed the 2010 doubles crown. Pulido won't be in action at this year's ITA Women's Southwest Regional Championship, as the junior is competing for Mexico at the Pan American Games. Instead, senior Ramos will team up with standout freshman Zoe Scandalis in doubles play as Ramos looks to repeat as a regional doubles winner. Both Ramos and Scandalis are also lined up for singles play, along with Lao, junior #60 Kaitlyn Christian -- a quarterfinalist in singles and doubles last year -- and freshmen Gabriella DeSimone and Sabrina Santamaria. In doubles, DeSimone will pair with Lao, while Christian will play alongside Santamaria to round out the Trojans' full plate of action in San Diego. That pairing is ranked #18 in the nation for fall action.

     

     

    The USC men will pack a similar punch in their trip to the ITA Men's Southwest Regionals hosted by Pepperdine. Although senior #16 Daniel Nguyen, who reached the singles final last season, won't compete in singles this time around, the Trojans have six others players slotted for singles, led by No. 2 seeded sophomore #15 Ray Sarmiento. Undefeated #66 Emilio Gomez picked up the No. 8 seed into the tourney, and freshman Yannick Hanfmann is seeded No. 12. Joining that seeded trio in the singles draw are sophomore Corey Smith and freshmen Eric Johnson and Jonny Wang. Sarmiento, who paired up with Steve Johnson last year in doubles on the way to a spot in the 2010 regional doubles final, will team with Gomez for this year's doubles draw as the No. 7 seeded duo. Nguyen, meanwhile, will step in for doubles play alongside freshman Hanfmann as the tournament's No. 4 seeded pairing. The freshman pair of Eric Johnson and Wang will also do work in doubles in their first trip to the ITA regional competition.

    The action begins Thursday (Oct. 20) for both tournaments. Follow along with draws and results posted here:

    ITA Men's Southwest Regional Championships (Malibu, Calif.)

    ITA Women's Southwest Regional Championships (San Diego, Calif.)