No. 2 USC Women Move Up In Race For NCAA Crown

May 16, 2006

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THIS WEEK: The second-ranked USC women's tennis team will continue its quest for an eighth national team championship when the rest of the NCAA title-seekers converge on Stanford for the NCAA Round of 16 and beyond. The Cardinal host the team and individual NCAA action from here on out, with competition set for Taube Tennis Stadium in Palo Alto, Calif. from May 18-28. The Women of Troy received the No. 3 seed into the 2006 NCAA Women's Tennis Championships and powered through the first and second rounds with 4-0 wins over Army and No. 27 Long Beach State at USC's home courts last weekend. The Women of Troy now face VCU in the NCAA Round of 16 at 9 a.m. on Thursday (May 18). The winner of that match moves into the quarterfinals against either Georgia Tech or Northwestern at 3 p.m. on Friday (May 19).

ITA RANKING UPDATES: USC has held onto its highest ranking since 2003, sitting at a lofty #2 alongside Notre Dame behind defending NCAA champ Stanford in the latest ITA national rankings (released May 1). The Women of Troy now have six players ranked in singles. Freshman Amanda Fink is the #7 ranked player in the nation, while Lindsey Nelson has jumped up to #18, ahead of #29 Dianne Matias. Luana Magnani remains at #47, Anca Anastasiu has leapt higher in the rankings to #58, and Carine Vermeulen has popped onto the list at #101. On the doubles scene, Magnani/Nelson sit at #18, Matias/Vermeulen have moved to #28, and Anastasiu/Judy DeVera are #54.

NCAA NOTES: This is USC's 22nd trip overall to the NCAA Tournament and 15th straight appearance in NCAA action. The Trojans are now 47-21 all-time in NCAA Tournament play and have won seven national team titles. The 1983 and 1985 crowns were both NCAA titles, as the NCAA began its women's tennis championships in 1982. USC's 1977, 1979 and 1980 titles were AIAW championships, and in 1977 and 1978 the Trojans claimed the USTA national championships.

PAC-10 POWER: The Women of Troy are coming off a 17-3 regular season where they finished second in the Pac-10 behind undefeated defending conference and NCAA champion Stanford. At the recent Pac-10 Championships in Ojai, Calif., USC had two players reach the semifinals of singles competition -- sophomore Lindsey Nelson and freshman Amanda Fink. Fink made her mark on the conference by working her way into the title match, where she fell to California's Suzi Babos. Six other Trojans took part in the singles action. Anca Anastasiu, Luana Magnani and Dianne Matias all competed in the tournament side of play, but fell in the first round. Judy DeVera, Carine Vermeulen and Whitney Peterson took part in the invitational competition, DeVera won her first-round match and Vermeulen had a first-round bye, but both lost their second-round matches. Peterson lost in the first round and played in the back draw along with Anastasiu. Anastasiu won her back draw match, and Peterson lost. USC had three doubles teams in the Pac-10 tournament, and two pairs pushed through to the quarterfinals with an opening win. The quarterfinal round was not as successful for the Women of Troy, however, as two losses ended the Trojans' doubles runs. Matias/Vermeulen pushed past Cal's Bobusic/Kusano with an 8-3 decision, but later fell to Arizona State's Clarke/Pooler 8-4 in the quarters. Magnani/Nelson also notched an opening win with an 8-3 defeat of Arizona's Balzert/Mavroleon, only to fall 8-3 to UCLA's Gordon/Zalameda in the next round. USC's third doubles team of DeVera/Fink lost 8-4 in the first round to Cal's Babos/Fodor.

THIS TIME LAST YEAR: The Women of Troy hosted the first and second rounds of NCAA action in 2005 as well, and warmed up their NCAA ride with wins over Illinois-Chicago (4-0) and Arizona State (4-0). In the Round of 16, USC faced UCLA for the third time that season and posted a tight 4-3 win to advance to the Quarterfinals. There, the Trojans clashed with Florida and fell 4-2. Taking that premier NCAA experience in hand, USC sent three players on to the NCAA Singles tournament. Anca Anastasiu fell in the first round to TCU's Story Tweedie-Yates 6-2, 5-7, 6-4, and Nicole Leimbach also lost her first match in a 7-5, 6-2 decision to Texas A&M's Helga Vieira. Lindsey Nelson, however, powered through to two early wins to reach the Round of 16. Nelson beat Clemson's Romy Farah and Kentucky's Sarah Foster in the first and second rounds, respectively. She then faced VCU's Marianna Yuferova and fell 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 to close out a stellar freshman season for Nelson.

HEAD COACH Richard Gallien: Now in his 11th season at Troy, Gallien has strung together 11 straight NCAA appearances including this year's run, Under Gallien's watch, USC has finished no lower than 11th for the past seven years, garnering nine top-20 team rankings and five trips to the NCAA Quarterfinals. Entering this season at USC, Gallien has compiled a 176-87 overall record and .669 win percentage. In his 13 years as a head coach (also coaching the men at Pepperdine prior to coming to USC), he boasts a 238-111 (.682) career mark. Most recently, he was named the 2006 Pac-10 Women's Coach of the Year.