Women's Tennis Heads To Florida For NCAA Championships

May 13, 2003

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This Week -- The fifth-ranked USC women's tennis team (21-5, 5-3 Pac-10) received its 21st all-time bid to the 2003 NCAA Championships and will be making its seventh-consecutive appearance in the Round of 16. The Trojans will face unseeded Kansas State (15-7) on Thursday, May 14, at Florida's Varsity Courts at the Ring Tennis Complex (other matches we be played at the Stadium Courts) at 5 p.m. EST. Seeded fifth in the entire tourney, the Women of Troy defeated No. 62 Sacramento State, 4-0, in the first round on May 9, then earned a 4-0 victory over No. 31 Georgia Tech on May 10, in the second round for the right to advance.

Jewel Peterson, Maureen Diaz and sophomore Luana Magnani were selected to compete in the NCAA Singles Championship. Partners Peterson and Tiffany Brymer will compete in the Doubles Championships.

2003 NCAA Championships - Round of 16 and Quarterfinals

Thursday, May 15, 5 p.m. EST (Varsity Courts)
USC vs. Kansas State

Thursday, May 15, 5 p.m. EST (Varsity Courts)
Cal vs. North Carolina

Friday, May 16, 2 p.m. (Stadium Courts)
USC/Kansas State vs. Cal/North Carolina

Follow each NCAA Tournament match with live stats at www.gatorzone.com.

NCAA Championships -- The NCAA selected 64 teams to participate in the 2003 NCAA Division I Tennis Championships. First and second round matches were played at 16 host sites May 9-11, with the winner of each regional site advancing to the final four rounds. The championships will be held in Gainesville, Fla., at the Ring Tennis Complex on the Florida campus, May 15-24. Individual championships will consist of 64 singles players and 32 doubles teams, and will take place May 19-24 following the team championships.

USC Earns Three ITA Regional Awards -- USC received three 2003 Intercollegiate Tennis Association west regional awards. Head coach Richard Gallien has been named Wilson/ITA West Regional Coach of the Year, Jewel Peterson was honored with the west region's ITA/Arthur Ashe Jr. Award for Leadership and Sportsmanship and Luana Magnani was tabbed as the ITA West Region Player to Watch.

Gallien Earns 200th Career Victory -- Head coach Richard Gallien collected his 200th career victory with a 4-0 win over No. 31 Georgia Tech in the second round of the NCAA Tournament on May 10. Currently in his 11th overall season, Gallien boasts 200-99 (.669) career record and 138-75 (.648) mark at Troy.

A Last Hurrah For Four Seniors -- The 2003 Women of Troy have been guided by the leadership of four seniors this season. Jewel Peterson, Maureen Diaz, Anita Loyola and Tiffany Brymer have steadily pushed USC back into the spotlight over the last four years (Diaz transferred as a sophomore). The four seniors makeup the No. 1, 3, 4 and 5 positions in the singles lineup and Nos. 1 and 2 spots in doubles.

ITA Ranking -- USC remained at No. 5 in the last regular season Omni Hotels Collegiate Tennis Poll released on April 27. In singles, Jewel Peterson is ranked No. 10, Luana Magnani jumped to No. 21, Maureen Diaz is No. 62 and Anita Loyola entered the poll at No. 119. In doubles, Peterson and Tiffany Brymer are ranked 18th.

Last Year At NCAA Championships -- The Women of Troy endured a disappointing end to the 2002 NCAA Championships. After beating Oral Roberts and Oregon in the first two rounds, USC was eliminated by rival UCLA in the Round of 16. As a junior, Jewel Peterson made her third appearance in both the singles and doubles championships. After advancing to the singles quarterfinals for the second time in her three-year career, Peterson suffered a hard-fought three-set loss to Florida's Jessica Lehnhoff, 6-3, 2-6, 6-2. In doubles, Peterson and Brymer captured their first career NCAA victory, then fell in the Round of 16.

Women of Troy History at NCAA Championships -- With its fifth consecutive (21st 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 (1983, 1985) to complement five previous AIAW and USTA titles. The Trojans have twice played in the NCAA championship match (runner-up - 1984, 1886) and have reached the quarterfinals six times (1982, 1989, 1990, 1999, 2000, 2001).

Final Pac-10 Standings -- Stanford captured the 2003 Pac-10 women's team title with a undefeated record in conference play, marking the 10th-straight year that the Cardinal has won the title. USC's difficulty in the last few matches of the season, dropped the Women of Troy to fourth place. The Trojans also finished fourth in 2000, 1996 and 1987.

Pac-10 Proves Toughest -- The Pac-10 has four of the top 10 teams in this week's poll, including three of the top five (No. 1 Stanford, No. 4 California, No. 5 USC). All nine conference teams are ranked among the top 50, making the Pac-10 the only conference to have all schools represented in the poll, at all. The SEC and Big XII are next in line with 11-of-12 teams ranked. The Pac-10 women hold down 30 spots on the most recent ITA Top-125 rankings and occupy seven spots among the Top-60 doubles.

At Pac-10 Championships -- The USC men's and women's tennis teams made up for a terrible start in the singles tournaments by capturing two doubles titles at this year's Pac-10 Individual Championships in Ojai. Daniel Langre and Parker Collins captured the Men's Pac-10 Tournament Doubles Championship, while Bernadette Bayani and Melissa Esmero won the Women's Pac-10 Invitational Doubles Championship. Bayani and Esmero dominated the field, beating Arizona's Dianne Hollands and Kelly Perry 8-5 in the final to win the 2003 title. Esmero, the 2001 Pac-10 Invitational Singles Champion, added to her set of conference titles, while Bayani capped off a season in which she has played limited matches as the eighth member of the Women of Troy lineup. The pair was relatively inexperienced, having only played together six times before the tournament. Following are complete tournament results.

Third-Straight Invite Champions -- Bernadette Bayani and Melissa Esmero's doubles victory at the 2003 Pac-10 Championships gave the Trojans their third-straight Pac-10 Invitational Championship. Teammate Tiffany Brymer won the Invitational singles title last season and Esmero claimed the 2001 singles title.

The Best Season in 15 years -- Despite suffering three losses in the final two weeks of the regular season, the 2003 Women of Troy still boasts the program's best record in 15 years. In 1988, the Trojans finished 19-5 overall and 7-3 in the Pac-10 for second place. That season, USC advanced to the NCAA Semifinals where it fell to eventual champion Stanford.

Get The Latest Info -- Updated team stats can always be found by logging on to www.usctrojans.com. They are located on the women's tennis page under 'Season Statistics.'

Head Coach Richard Gallien -- Richard Gallien is in his eighth season at the helm of the USC women's tennis program. Last season he guided the 2002 Women of Troy to a 19-8 overall record, the NCAA Round of 16 and USC's best-ever Pac-10 finish (a 7-1 record for second place). Gallien began his career at Pepperdine, coaching the men's team for three years, before joining the Trojan family. Over the last 10 years, he has compiled a 200-99 (.669) overall record and his teams have made seven appearances in the NCAA Tournament, including three appearances in the NCAA quarterfinals (1999-01).

NCAA Match Recaps -----------------------------------

NCAA First Round
#5 USC def. #62 Sacramento State, 4-0: USC defeated Sac State, 4-0, May 9 at Marks Tennis Stadium to advance to the second round of the NCAA Championships. Carine Vermeulen and Melissa Esmero began the afternoon with a shut-out victory (8-0) at No. 3 doubles. It was a much tougher battle on the remaining courts, but the Women of Troy clinched the doubles point when Luana Magnani and Anita Loyola defeated Roberta Fessenko and Amanda Sanches, 8-4, at court two. Despite playing without Magnani in the singles lineup, who withdrew after doubles due to injury, the Trojans seemed to have little difficulty against the Hornets. Tiffany Brymer was the first off the court with a 6-1, 6-0 win at No. 4. Melissa Esmero, who entered the lineup for Magnani at No. 6, followed with a 6-1, 6-1 win to give USC a 3-0 lead. The Women of Troy needed just one more match to clinch the win as Loyola and Vermeulen led 5-1 in the second set on each of their courts. Vermeulen was the first to finish, defeating Sanches, 6-1, 6-1, to complete the afternoon.

NCAA Second Round
#5 USC def. #31 Georgia Tech, 4-0:
USC defeated Georgia Tech, 4-0, May 10 at Marks Tennis Stadium to advance to the Round of 16 of the NCAA Championships. Georgia Tech did not make it easy for the Women of Troy, taking an early lead in doubles on courts one and two. The Trojans came away with the first win as Carine Vermeulen and Melissa Esmero won 8-3 at No. 3. Georgia Tech's Jaime Wong and Kelly Anderson managed to hold on to their lead, defeating Jewel Peterson and Tiffany Brymer, 8-4, at center court. Luana Magnani and Anita Loyola eventually gained the lead at No. 2 and held off the Yellow Jackets for a 8-5 win to clinch the doubles point. With a 1-0 lead heading into singles play, the Women of Troy won the first set on three-of-six courts and took advantage of the three leads to eventually close out the match. First off the court for the second-straight day was Brymer who beat Shosho, 6-4, 6-3. USC then took a 3-0 lead when Magnani defeated Wong, 6-1, 6-3, at court two. The Trojans had gained the lead in the second set on the three remaining courts, but it was Loyola who clinched the victory for the Women of Troy with a 7-5, 7-5 decision over Morris at the No. 4 spot.

Opponents -----------------------------------

Kansas State: Kansas State upset both No. 16 Northwestern, 4-1, and No. 9 Virginia Commonwealth, 4-2, to advance to the Round of 16. The Cats will be making their first-ever appearance in the Round of 16 and are one of only two unseeded teams heading to Florida (Harvard is the other). Kansas State boasts a best-ever 15-7 overall record this season under 19th-year head coach Steve Bietau. Kansas State has no players ranked among the ITA's Top 125 singles players. Their No. 1 doubles team of Petra Sedimajerova and Paulina Castillejos are ranked No. 56.

USC vs. Kansas State: Thursday's match will be the first-ever meeting between USC and Kansas State.

California: After claiming two first round victories this past weekend at the NCAA Regionals in College Station, Texas, the California women's tennis team advances to its 19th overall Sweet 16 appearance and 18th out of the last 19. The Bears will face North Carolina on Thursday, May 15. With a 21-5 overall record, Cal beat both Army and host-Texas A&M by 4-0 scores for the right to advance. The team is led by four ranked singles players, including No. 6 Raquel Kops-Jones, No. 25 Christina Fusano, No. 53 Jieun Jacobs and No. 93 Catherine Lynch. Fusano and Kops-Jones are ranked No. 3 in doubles.

USC vs. California: The Trojans are 23-21 all-time against California. The Women of Troy split their two regular season match-ups against the Bears this season, beating Cal 5-2 at home, but falling 6-1 in Berkeley. The two teams have met three times in the postseason and USC has won all three match-ups.

North Carolina: North Carolina advanced to the Round of 16 with a 4-0 win over the College of Charleston and 4-1 victory over Clemson last week in the NCAA Regionals. This is Carolina's fifth consecutive NCAA Tournament bid and second under second-year head coach Jen Callen. Last year, the Tar Heels had their best NCAA finish ever, and advanced to the quarterfinals before being eliminated by eventual champion Stanford. The Tar Heels are 19-8 overall this season. The teams is led by two ranked players: No. 13 Kate Pinchbeck and No. 42 Marlene Mejia. The team also has two ranked doubles teams: No. 45 Pinchbeck and Kendrick Bunn and No. 51 Mejia and Aniela Mojzis.

USC vs. North Carolina: USC and North Carolina have never faced each other.

Player Profiles ----------------------------------------------------

Bernadette Bayani
Singles: 8-8 Overall / 2-1 Dual / 0-1 Pac-10
Doubles: 6-3 Overall / 2-1 Dual / 2-1 Pac-10
Due to the depth on this year's squad, junior Bernadette Bayani has played a limited amount of matches this season among the lineup's top six... In the fall, Bayani posted a 2-5 record and competed at the ITA Pre-Qualifier, Omni Regional Championships and Fall Desert Classic... In January she reached the finals of the Flight #3 Pac-10 Indoor Championships, but fell to Cal's Brooke Borishoff for the title... Only played three dual matches for the Women of Troy, but topped off her season by capturing the 2003 Pac-10 Invitational Doubles Championship with partner Melissa Esmero in April.

Tiffany Brymer
Singles: 24-13 Overall / 16-8 Dual / 3-5 Pac-10
Doubles: 24-15 Overall / 13-12 Dual / 4-4 Pac-10

Despite a four-match losing skid to end the season, senior Tiffany Brymer has enjoyed a successful year... Played mainly at the No. 4 and 5 singles positions and No. 1 doubles position throughout the regular season... She and Peterson will be making their fourth-straight appearance at the 2003 NCAA Doubles Championships... Won eight consecutive matches in the month of February... In doubles, she and partner Jewel Peterson won the Flight #1 Pac-10 Indoor Doubles Championships in January... During that span, the pair also won 11 consecutive matches... Ranked No. 90 in the preseason singles rankings and No. 9 in doubles with Peterson... Posted a 6-3 singles record in fall tournaments... Advanced to the singles quarterfinals of the Omni Hotels West Regional Championship and captured the doubles title with Peterson... The pair posted a 6-1 fall record... 2003 NCAAs: Won both of her singles matches against Sac State and Georgia Tech... Dropped one doubles match with Peterson to the Yellow Jacket's Jaime Wong and Kelly Anderson.

Maureen Diaz
Singles: 21-12 Overall / 11-7 Dual / 3-4 Pac-10
Doubles: 13-6 Overall / 3-0 Dual / 0-0 Pac-10

As a senior, Maureen Diaz played mainly at No. 3 singles and did not play doubles for most of the season... Spent the entire year ranked among the top 100 singles players, including a season-best ranking of No. 55 in the ITA preseason poll ... Upset victories this year included wins over Jieun Jacobs of Cal (April 5) and Erin Burdette of Stanford (April 19)... Posted an 8-3 record in fall tournaments ... Advanced to the quarterfinals of the Omni ITA Regional Championships and the semifinals of the Fall Desert Classic.

Melissa Esmero
Singles: 14-8 Overall / 9-3 Dual / 2-2 Pac-10
Doubles: 25-12 Overall / 16-8 Dual / 4-4 Pac-10

Due to USC's deep roster, junior Melissa Esmero was No. 7 in the 2003 singles lineup and made 12 appearances at No. 6... Won nine matches in the starting lineup, including eight-consecutive in February and March... Esmero did hold a permanent spot in the doubles lineup, playing at No. 3 with partner Carine Vermeulen... The pair went 12-7 for the year... Paired with Bernadette Bayani at the Pac-10 Championships, Esmero capped off the season by capturing the Pac-10 Invitational Doubles Championship... Collected a 3-3 singles record in fall tournaments ... Competed at the Omni ITA Regional Championships and Fall Desert Classic... 2003 NCAAs: Entered the singles lineup against Sacramento State (for the injured Luana Magnani) and won her match at No. 6... Won both her doubles matches with Vermeulen against Sac State and Georgia Tech.

Anita LoyolaSingles: 20-16 Overall / 15-10 Dual / 5-3 Pac-10Doubles: 24-16 Overall / 17-9 Dual / 4-4 Pac-10Despite being unranked for most of the regular season, senior Anita Loyola ended her year back in the polls, entering the ITA rankings at No. 119 on April 27... Played at the No. 3 and 4 singles positions throughout the season... Posted wins over ranked opponents such as Cal's Catherine Lynch and Washington's Darija Klaic to end the season... In doubles, she and partner Luana Magnani reached the quarterfinals of the Pac-10 Indoor Championships in January and the quarterfinals of the Pac-10 Tournament in April... Ranked No. 103 in the ITA preseason singles rankings and No. 40 in the preseason doubles rankings with Magnani ... Posted a 4-3 singles record in fall tournaments, which included the Omni ITA Regional Championships and Fall Desert Classic... 2003 NCAAs: Clinched USC's win over Georgia Tech with a 7-5, 7-5 victory over #116 Mysti Morris at No. 4... Won both of her doubles matches with Magnani against Sac State and Georgia Tech.

Luana Magnani
Singles: 18-6 Overall / 17-5 Dual / 4-2 Pac-10
Doubles: 19-11 Overall / 17-9 Dual / 4-4 Pac-10

Currently ranked No. 21 in singles (her highest career ranking to date), sophomore Luana Magnani will be making her second appearance in the NCAA Singles Championships this season... In singles, she is 17-6 overall this season and 16-5 in dual matches... With partner Anita Loyola, she is 17-11 overall in doubles and 15-9 in dual matches... Plays at No. 2 singles and doubles... Recorded her biggest upset of the year in the final match of the regular season when she beat then-No. 14 Lauren Barnikow of Stanford, 6-4, 6-2... Did not lose more than two consecutive matches throughout the season... In doubles, she and Loyola reached the quarterfinals of the Pac-10 Indoor Championships in January and the quarterfinals of the Pac-10 Tournament in April... Did not compete in fall tournaments while recovering from injuries... Ranked No. 40 in the ITA preseason doubles rankings with Loyola... Named to the 2003 All-Pac-10 Honorable Mention team... Honored as the west region's ITA Player to Watch... 2003 NCAAs: Did not play singles against Sacramento State with a foot injury... Won her singles match against Georgia Tech's #43 Jaime Wong at No. 2... Won both of her doubles matches with Loyola against Sac State and Georgia Tech.

Jewel Peterson
Singles: 25-14 Overall / 14-9 Dual / 4-4 Pac-10
Doubles: 23-14 Overall / 12-12 Dual / 4-4 Pac-10

A returning ITA singles and doubles All-American, senior Jewel Peterson is looking to become the first four-time All-American at USC since Trisha Laux (1988-91)... Will be making her fourth-straight appearance at the 2003 NCAA Singles and Doubles Championships... Currently ranked No. 10 in singles and No. 18 in doubles with partner Tiffany Brymer... She owns a 25-14 overall singles record, 14-9 mark in dual matches, 23-13 overall doubles record with Brymer and 12-11 in dual matches... Plays at No. 1 singles and doubles... Posted a nine match singles win streak midseason, which included a win over then-No. 7 Lindsay Dawaf of Florida... In doubles, she and Brymer won the Flight #1 Pac-10 Indoor Doubles Championships in January... During that span, the pair also won 11 consecutive matches... Ranked No. 3 in ITA preseason singles rankings and No. 9 in doubles, she posted an 11-2 singles record in fall tournaments ... Captured the Omni Hotels West Regional Singles and Doubles Championship with Brymer ... The pair posted a 6-1 fall record ... Qualified for the Omni National Championship in singles, advancing to the finals before falling to Georgia's Agata Cioroch for the title... A 2003 USC Marks Scholar-Athlete... Selected to the 2003 ITA All-Star Team... Named to the 2003 All-Pac-10 First Team... Honored with the west region's ITA/Arthur Ashe Jr. Award for Leadership and Sportsmanship... 2003 NCAAs: Her first two round singles matches were suspended... She and Brymer lost one doubles match against Georgia Tech's Jaime Wong and Kelly Anderson.

Carine Vermeulen
Singles: 18-2 Overall / 18-2 Dual / 4-1 Pac-10
Doubles: 12-7 Overall / 12-7 Dual / 2-3 Pac-10

Freshman Carine Vermeulen joined the team in January of 2003 and has made a definite impact for the Women of Troy... Playing at No. 6 singles and No. 3 doubles (with partner Melissa Esmero), she compiled the team's best singles record... Only dropped two matches throughout the season and posted 13 consecutive victories in February and March... Suffered a groin injury on April 4 against Stanford (but still won her match that day against Story Tweedie-Yates) that kept her out of the lineup for four of the team's final five matches... Did not compete at the Pac-10 Tournament... 2003 NCAAs: Won her singles match against Sacramento State at the No. 5 position (lineup was moved up due to Magnani's injury)... Won both of her doubles matches with Esmero against Sac State and Georgia Tech.

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