Women Of Troy Prep For Rematch With Northwestern

May 15, 2001

This Week -- The 10th-ranked USC women's tennis team (19-7, 6-2 Pac-10) received its 19th all-time bid to the 2001 NCAA Championships and will be making its fifth-consecutive appearance in the Round of 16. The Trojans will face No. 9 Northwestern on Thursday, May 17, at the Lincoln Tennis Center in Stone Mountain, Ga. Seeded 10th in the entire tourney and first in the region, the Women of Troy defeated Maryland-Baltimore County 4-0 in the first round on May 12, then earned a 4-1 victory over South Alabama on May 13, in the second round for the right to advance.

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 Championship Schedule

Thursday, May 17, 8 a.m. EST
USC vs. Northwestern


Thursday, May 17, 8 a.m. EST
Baylor vs. Georgia

Friday, May 18, 11 a.m. EST
USC/Northwestern vs. Baylor/Georgia

Saturday, May 19, 1/4 p.m. EST
NCAA Semifinals

Sunday, May 20, 1 p.m. EST
NCAA Finals

2001 NCAA Championships -- The NCAA selected 64 teams to participate in the 2001 NCAA Division I Tennis Championships. First and Second Round matches were 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.

Match Recaps

NCAA First Round
USC def. Maryland-Baltimore County, 4-0: The Women of Troy earned a 4-0 victory over Maryland-Baltimore County in the first round on Saturday, May 12. USC played the second match of the day and posted an impressive victory by giving up just five sets in the win. The Trojans were paced by doubles victories at courts two and three to start the match as Melissa Esmero and Anita Loyola blanked Karri Bielewicz and Karen Prangley, 8-0, and Bernadette Bayani and Maureen Diaz took care of Nicole Russo and Katheryn Wheatley, 8-2. In singles, 74th-ranked Diaz and Esmero both won 6-0, 6-0 at No. 3 and 6, respectively. The final point was added when 28th-ranked Jewel Peterson captured a 6-0, 6-3 triumph at center court over Anita Pushpanatham.

NCAA Second Round
USC def. South Alabama, 4-1:
Despite dropping the doubles point, USC advanced to the NCAA Round of 16 by rallying to a 4-1 victory over No. 22 South Alabama on Sunday, May 13. The Jaguars were the first on the board, earning the doubles point with victories on the second and third courts. The Women of Troy, however, bounced back and rolled through singles play. USC collected wins at the No. 1, 4, 5, and 6 positions to seal the come-from-behind victory. Jewel Peterson started the rally with a win at center court when South Alabama's Silvia Sosnarova retired the match after starting at a 4-0 deficit to Peterson. Tiffany Brymer was the next to add a point with a solid 6-1, 6-1 win over Nienke Scheltens. The match was decided as Bernadette Bayani and Melissa Esmero finished simultaneously with 6-4, 6-3 and 7-5, 6-2 victories, respectively, for the USC win.

Opponents

Northwestern: Ninth-ranked Northwestern advances to the Round of 16 after defeating Chicago-Illinois 4-0 in the first round and earning a 4-1 win over Kentucky in the second. The Wildcats have now won their last 11-consecutive matches, including three wins which earned them their third-straight Big Ten Conference crown. With a 24-4 overall record, the team has only dropped matches to Vanderbilt, North Carolina, Fresno State and Cal this season. No. 31 Colleen Cheng leads the team at the No. 1 singles position and has combined for a 30-12 record this season. In doubles, Cheng and Marine Piriou are at the top of the lineup but have only played seven matches together and own a 5-2 overall record.

USC vs. Northwestern: The Trojans and Wildcats have already met once this season in the quarterfinal playoffs (back draw) of the ITA Team Championships on Feb. 17. Northwestern defeated USC 5-2. Prior to that, the teams have faced each other twice, USC defeated the Wildcats 5-4 in 1985 and 8-1 in 1981.

Player Profiles

Bernadette Bayani
18-19 Overall / 11-13 Dual Matches / 8-11 Pac-10 Matches / 15-16 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. In the first two rounds of the NCAAs, Bayani defeated South Alabama's Viktoria Stoklasova 6-4, 6-3 and split a pair of matches in doubles.

Tiffany Brymer
15-11 overall / 14-8 Dual Matches / 6-8 Pac-10 Matches / 18-16 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. In the first two rounds of the NCAAs, Brymer defeated South Alabama's Nienke Scheltens 6-1, 6-1 in singles, and Martina Ondrejkova and Iva Puflerova 8-6 in doubles.

Maureen Diaz
32-10 overall / 19-6 Dual Matches / 16-6 Pac-10 Matches / 19-16 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. Diaz held UMBC's Karri Bielewicz scoreless (6-0, 6-0) in the first round of NCAAs and split a win and a loss in doubles in the first two rounds.

Melissa Esmero
25-9 overall / 17-7 Dual Matches / 8-8 Pac-10 Matches / 17-15 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. Esmero was one of two USC players to play and win both singles matches in the first two rounds of the NCAAs, including a 6-0, 6-0 win over UMBC's Nicole Russo. She split a win and a loss in doubles.

Anita Loyola
16-19 overall / 11-12 Dual Matches / 7-12 Pac-10 Matches / 17-15 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. Loyola left her NCAA first and second matches unfinished and split a pair of matches in doubles.

Jewel Peterson
28-12 overall / 17-8 Dual Matches / 11-8 Pac-10 Matches / 18-15 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. Peterson won all three matches (2 singles, 1 doubles) played in the first two rounds of the NCAAs.

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