Women's Tennis Begins NCAA Tournament In Virginia

May 8, 2001

This Week -- The 12th-ranked USC women's tennis team (17-7, 6-2 Pac-10) received its 19th all-time bid to the 2001 NCAA Championships. Seeded 10th in the entire tourney and first in the region, the Women of Troy face Maryland-Baltimore County in the first round on Saturday, May 12, in Norfolk, Va. Old Dominion and South Alabama will square off in the other match. The winners of each match will face each other on Sunday, May 13, in the second round.

Sophomore Jewel Peterson was selected to compete in the NCAA Singles Championship, while Maureen Diaz was named the first alternate. Peterson and Tiffany Brymer will also compete in the Doubles Championships.

2001 NCAA Championships 1st and 2nd Round

Saturday, May 12, 10 a.m. EST
Old Dominion vs. South Alabama

Saturday, May 12, 2 p.m. EST
USC vs. Maryland-Baltimore County

Sunday, May 13, Noon EST
USC/UMBC vs. Old Dominion/S. Alabama

2001 NCAA Championships -- The NCAA selected 64 teams to participate in the 2001 NCAA Division I Tennis Championships. First and Second Round matches will be played at 16 host sites May 11-13, with the winner of each regional site advancing to the finals. The championships will be held in Atlanta, Ga. at the Stone Mountain Tennis Center, hosted by Georgia State University, May 17-20. Individual championships will consist of 64 singles players and 32 doubles teams, and will take place following the team championships.

Last Year at the NCAA Championships -- For the second-consecutive year, USC made an outstanding showing at the 2000 NCAA Championships by advancing to the Quarterfinals. This time the Women of Troy upset Louisiana State in the Round of 16, before falling to eventual-champion Georgia. As a freshman Jewel Peterson made her own mark in the singles championships as she won her way into the Quarterfinals. Her streak ended with a 6-1, 6-1 loss to Lauren Granville of Stanford who went on to win the 2000 singles title.

Women of Troy History at NCAA Championships -- With its 10th consecutive (19th overall) bid to the NCAA Tournament, USC has long been a force in collegiate women's tennis. Since the inception of the NCAA postseason in 1982, the Women of Troy have earned two national titles (1985, 1983), to compliment four previous AIAW titles. The Trojans have twice played in the NCAA championship match (runner-up - 1984, 1886) and have reached the quarterfinals five times (1982, 1989, 1990, 1999, 2000).

Opponents

Maryland-Baltimore County: Unranked UMBC enters the NCAAs as an automatic qualifier after winning its second-consecutive NEC championship. The Retrievers became the first school in NEC history to earn back-to-back sweeps of both the men's and women's conference titles. UMBC captured its third straight crown with a 4-0 win over Quinnipiac. Posting a 15-6 overall record and 6-0 mark in conference play, the team is led by sophomore Anita Pushpanathan (Czech Republic) at the No. 1 position. Pushpanathan owns a 16-5 overall singles record and 11-6 doubles record with partner Jana Karaskora (McClean, Vir.). This will mark the second-straight meeting between the Trojans and Retrievers. The two opened last season's NCAA Tournament in Los Angeles. USC defeated UMBC, 5-0.

Old Dominion: No. 37 Old Dominion received its first-ever bid to host a tennis regional event. The Lady Monarchs are currently 21-1 and have won 20 consecutive matches. Their only loss this season came to then-ranked No. 15 William & Mary on Jan. 25. The team is led by freshman Nataly Cahana (Qiriat Bialik, Isreal) at the No. 1 position. She remains undefeated with a 22-0 overall singles record. In doubles, Cahana and Ana Radeljevic (Zagreb, Croatia) paired to post a 20-1 overall record this season. Both players received bids to compete in the NCAA singles and doubles championship. USC and Old Dominion have never met before.

South Alabama: The 22nd-ranked Jaguars of South Alabama posted a 20-5 record in 2001 and won their 10th-consecutive Sun Belt Conference Championship. The team enters the tournament on a five-match win streak, including three conference championship tournament matches. South Alabama is led by 53rd-ranked Martina Ondrejkova (Bilovec, Czech Republic) who owns a 19-4 overall singles record and a 14-4 mark in doubles with partner Iva Puflerova (Horni Slavkov, Czech Republic). Last season, the Jaguars advanced to the NCAA Round of 16. USC and South Alabama have never met before.

Final Pac-10 Standings -- Stanford captured both the men's and women's team titles in 2001, with the Cardinal women posting an undefeated 8-0 record in Pac-10 play. This also marks the eighth-straight year that Stanford has won the women's title.

USC's second-place finish this season is a great improvement after finishing fourth in 2000. The last time the Women of Troy finished second was in 1999 when the team finished with a 7-1 record. Since 1989, 1999 and 2001 are the only two years USC finished as high as second in conference play. Prior to that, the Trojans finished first nine times, second twice and fourth once.


School Conference W-L Overall W-L Rank

Stanford 8-0 24-0 No. 1
USC 6-2 17-7 No. 12
Washington 6-2 18-7 No. 14
Arizona State 5-3 17-5 No. 10
California 3-5 14-6 No. 7
Washington St. 3-5 11-8 No. 27
UCLA 2-5 6-17 No. 30
Arizona 1-7 6-13 No. 41
Oregon 0-7 5-16 ----

Two Honored As All-Pac-10 -- The 2001 women's tennis Pac-10 all-conference selections were announced Monday, May 7, by Pac-10 commissioner Tom Hansen. USC had two representatives on the list - Jewel Peterson (first team) and Maureen Diaz (second team). This was the second All-Pac-10 selection for Peterson (she was named honorable mention in 2000) and the first for Diaz.

The Nation's Toughest Conference -- Once again, the Pacific-10 conference proved to be the toughest tennis conference in the country. Eight of the nine Pac-10's universities which sponsor women's tennis were ranked among the top-100 - six of which have consistently remained in the top-15. In singles, seven of the top-25 competitors are from the Pac-10, and seven among the top-25 in doubles. There are 16 total singles players who represent the conference in the top-100, and 15 doubles pairs.

At the Pac-10 Championships -- It was an all-USC affair as teammates Melissa Esmero and Krissy Hamilton-Heinberg faced each other in the Pac-10 Invitational Women's Singles Final. In a battle between a newcomer and a veteran, it was the freshman who came out on top as Esmero took a two-set victory 6-2, 6-2 to win the 2001 Invitational singles title. En route to her first collegiate tournament championship, Esmero defeated Nicole Havlicek of Cal in the semifinals 6-2, 6-1. Havlicek had previously defeated the Trojans' Bernadette Bayani, 6-7(3), 6-1, in the Invitational Quarterfinals. This was Hamilton-Heinberg's first appearance in the Pac-10 Invitational finals. Last season she advanced to the quarterfinals before falling to Elizabeth Schmidt of UCLA. In both the 2001 Pac-10 Tournament (main draw) and Invitational (back draw), USC women's tennis had two players advance to the finals, one to the semifinals and two to the quarterfinals. Maureen Diaz made it to the semifinals of the Tournament main draw before falling to Raquel Kops-Jones of Cal, 6-4, 6-2. Kops-Jones upset the Trojans' Jewel Peterson 6-2, 7-6 in the quarterfinals.

Peterson Wins Second Rolex Regional Title -- Jewel Peterson highlighted USC's fall season by capturing her second-straight ITA Rolex Regional Singles Championship. Peterson defeated Michelle Gough of Arizona in the finals in straight sets 6-3, 6-3 and upset UCLA's Sara Walker - the third-ranked player in the country - in the semifinals.

New Additions -- Jim Buck joined the 2001 Women of Troy coaching staff as a volunteer assistant this season. Buck is a 1960 graduate of USC who helped lead the Trojans to the 1959 national championship.

Opening Match Proves Important For Diaz -- On Jan. 17 USC opened the 2001 dual match season with a 7-0 victory over UC Irvine. The match was probably most important to sophomore Maureen Diaz who is in her first season at USC after transferring from UC Irvine. Diaz played at the No. 1 position for the Anteaters last season and advanced to the NCAA Singles Championships. In that match, Diaz swept her singles and doubles matches with a 6-0, 6-1 win over Natalie Exon in singles and an 8-1 victory with partner Melissa Esmero in doubles.

Another Miami Match-Up -- On March 11 USC easily defeated No. 38 Miami, 6-1, in a nonconference match at Marks Tennis Stadium. The three-hour, 45-minute match was a stark contrast to the last meeting between these two teams. In 1999, USC advanced the NCAA Championship Round of 16 after defeating the Canes 5-4 in a match that lasted nearly eight hours and did not come to an end until 3:30 a.m.

USC News & Notes -- With its second win over UCLA on March 30, the Trojans swept the Bruins for the first time since 1988... The Trojans have not lost a match this season after winning the doubles point (14-0 after winning doubles point)... Maureen Diaz owns the team's best record so far with a 31-10 mark and .756 win percentage... In the fall, Diaz won the back draw title at the ASU Invitational, keeping the championship in the family - sophomore Anita Loyola won the title last season... This year's roster features no seniors, three juniors, three sophomores and two freshmen... USC's top-six are all underclassmen (freshmen and sophomores).

Head Coach Richard Gallien -- Richard Gallien is in his sixth season at the helm of the USC women's tennis program. Last season he guided the 2000 Trojans to a 18-9 overall record, a No. 11 final team ranking and a quarterfinal appearance at the NCAAs. Gallien began his career at Pepperdine, coaching the men's team for three years, before joining the Trojan family. Over the last nine years, he has compiled a 157-85 (.649) overall record and his teams have made five appearances in the NCAA Tournament.

Player Profiles

Bernadette Bayani
17-19 Overall / 10-13 Dual Matches / 8-11 Pac-10 Matches / 14-15 Doubles
Despite struggling through much of the regular season, Bernadette Bayani's best performance this year was at the Pac-10 Indoor Championships were she advanced to the finals with wins over Mariko Fritz-Krockow of UCLA and Amelia Anderson of Stanford. She fell to Sarah Pestieau of Stanford in the championship match. During the regular season, Bayani began playing at the No. 4 position but endured a six-match losing streak in March. Since moving to No. 5 she has won the last 4-of-8 matches, including a 6-1, 6-2 win over Cal's Sekita Grant to end the regular season. In doubles, Bayani began the season with partner Anita Loyola and the pair posted a 4-3 record. Since February, Bayani has teamed with Maureen Diaz for a 10-12 mark. Bayani captured two victories at the Pac-10 Invitational to advance to the Quarterfinals before falling to Nicole Havlicek of Cal. Diaz and Bayani dropped in the second round of the Pac-10 Doubles Invitational after receiving a bye in the first round.

Tiffany Brymer
14-11 overall / 13-8 Dual Matches / 6-8 Pac-10 Matches / 17-16 Doubles

Not having played singles in the fall, Tiffany Brymer's playing year began in the regular season. Over the course, she moved from the No. 6 spot in the lineup to No. 4 by season's end. Brymer was most successful in the month of March when she won 5-of-8 matches, including four-straight victories against Arizona, Miami, William & Mary and UCLA. Brymer ended the season with an important victory over Jieun Jacobs of Cal. Playing at No. 1 doubles for the second-straight year, Brymer and Jewel Peterson have been ranked in the top-20 for much of the season and own a 17-15 overall record. In the fall the pair advanced to the quarterfinals of the Rolex Regionals and the semifinals of the Pac-10 Indoor Championships. Brymer was unable to get past the first round of the Pac-10 Singles and Doubles Tournament, falling to Claire Carter of Washington in singles and Faye DeVera and Adria Engel of Arizona State in doubles. Brymer and Peterson will compete in the NCAA Doubles Championship.

Maureen Diaz
31-10 overall / 18-6 Dual Matches / 16-6 Pac-10 Matches / 18-15 Doubles

With the team's best record overall and in dual and Pac-10 matches, Maureen Diaz has had an outstanding first year with the Women of Troy after transferring from UC Irvine in 2000. In her first fall tournament, Diaz captured the ASU Invitational Main Draw Consolation Championship by defeating Celena McCoury of Arizona State 6-2, 6-4. She also advanced to the third round of the Rolex Regional and the semifinals of the Pac-10 Indoor Championships. Playing all but one dual match at No. 3, Diaz has been a consistent point for the team. Between February 17 and March 17 she won eight consecutive matches - her longest win streak of the season. In doubles, Diaz began the season with partner Melissa Esmero and the pair posted a 6-3 record. Since February, Diaz has teamed with Bernadette Bayani for a 10-12 mark. Recently, Diaz advanced to the semifinals of the Pac-10 Singles Tournament before falling to Raquel Kops-Jones of Cal. Diaz and Bayani dropped in the second round of the Pac-10 Doubles Invitational after receiving a bye in the first round.

Melissa Esmero
23-9 overall / 15-7 Dual Matches / 8-8 Pac-10 Matches / 16-14 Doubles

With a .719 win percentage as a freshman, Melissa Esmero has been a consistent and top player for the Women of Troy. She only competed in one fall tournament before reaching the semifinals of the Pac-10 Indoor Championships in January. Esmero won her first 6-of-7 dual matches at No. 5 despite suffering from sudden symptoms of vertigo. She was officially diagnosed in late January. In March, Esmero moved to No. 6 in the lineup and since then has posted a 9-4 record. Esmero is currently riding a seven-match win streak after defeating Emilia Anderson of Stanford and Nicole Havlicek of Cal to end the regular season, and winning the Pac-10 Singles Invitational with a 6-2, 6-2 victory over teammate Krissy Hamilton-Heinberg. In doubles, Esmero began the season with partner Maureen Diaz and the pair posted a 6-3 record. Since February, Esmero has teamed with Anita Loyola for a 10-10 overall record. Despite four-straight losses in the month of April, the duo finished the season with an 8-4 win over Cal's Christina Fusano and Sekita Grant, but was eliminated in the first round of the Pac-10 Tournament.

Anita Loyola
16-19 overall / 11-12 Dual Matches / 7-12 Pac-10 Matches / 16-14 Doubles

In one year Anita Loyola jumped from No. 5 in the lineup to No. 2 where she played at in all but one match this year. In the fall, Loyola reached the consolation semifinals of the ASU Invitational and the third round of the Rolex Regionals with a big win over ASU's Celena McCoury in the second round. At the start of the regular season, Loyola played and won one match at No. 1 against Long Beach State. The remainder of the season has been full of ups-and-downs - she has lost and won no more than three-straight matches. Loyola did earn big wins over ranked opponents such as Debbie Larocque of Arizona, Cintia Torterella of Pepperdine and Petya Marinova of UCLA during the season. In doubles, Loyola began the season with partner Bernadette Bayani and the pair posted a 4-3 record. Since February, Loyola has teamed with Melissa Esmero for a 10-10 overall record. Despite four-straight losses in the month of April, the duo finished the season with an 8-4 win over Cal's Christina Fusano and Sekita Grant but was eliminated in the first round of the Pac-10 Tournament. Loyola was also eliminated in the first round of the Pac-10 Singles Tournament.

Jewel Peterson
26-12 overall / 15-8 Dual Matches / 11-8 Pac-10 Matches / 17-15 Doubles

Taking over the No. 1 position as a sophomore, Jewel Peterson was quick to start off where she left off after an outstanding freshman campaign. In the fall she captured her second-consecutive Rolex Regional Singles Championship with a 6-4, 6-3 victory over Michelle Gough of Arizona in the finals. En route, Peterson upset third-ranked Sara Walker of UCLA in the semis. She advanced to the Rolex National Indoor Championships but fell to eventual champion Ipek Senoglu of Pepperdine in the second round. Peterson evened the score by defeating Senoglu twice during the dual match season. She did not lose a match in the month of November (seven-straight wins) and recorded six straight victories between Feb. 22 and March 16. Peterson has been ranked in the top-25 throughout the season. Playing at No. 1 doubles, Peterson and Tiffany Brymer have been ranked in the top-20 for much of the season and own a 17-15 overall record. In the fall the pair advanced to the quarterfinals of the Rolex Regionals and the semifinals of the Pac-10 Indoor Championships. Recently, Peterson and Brymer were eliminated in the first round of the Pac-10 Tournament with an 8-4 loss to Arizona State's Faye DeVera and Adria Engel. In the singles tournament, Peterson earned two three-set victories to advance to the quarterfinals but was eliminated by Cal's Raquel Kops-Jones.

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