No. 5 USC Women Set Up For Three Matches This Week
Feb. 12, 2007
THIS WEEK: The No. 5 Women of Troy head into their first look at Pac-10 opponents this week following a mid-week match against nonconference foe San Diego State at Marks Stadium at 12:30 p.m. on Tuesday (Feb. 13). USC then hits the road to face two other top-10 teams out of the Pac-10 with a trip to square off against No. 2 Stanford at 1:30 p.m. on Friday (Feb. 16) and then a match at No. 9 California at 12 p.m. on Saturday (Feb. 17).
ITA RANKING UPDATES: USC (4-0) began the season ranked #3 in the nation, but despite its undefeated record has moved to #5 in the latest ITA national team rankings (released Feb. 6). On the individual side, no new rankings have been released since Jan. 9. In those last rankings, freshman Sarah Fansler sits at #9, followed by #46 Dianne Matias and #95 Judy DeVera. In doubles, Fink/DeVera are #15, ahead of #18 Matias/Nelson and #23 Matias/Fansler.
USC VS. SDSU: USC is 34-4 all-time against the Aztecs, having won the past 12 matches including last year's 7-0 victory. SDSU last beat USC 5-4 in 1992. The Aztecs (3-4) are ranked #46 as a team and have #51 Holly Bagshaw and #69 Eliska Krausova ranked in singles.
USC VS. STANFORD: USC is 17-53 all-time against the Cardinal, with the defending NCAA and Pac-10 champion having won the past 44 matches including last year's 5-2 and 6-1 decisions. USC last beat Stanford 6-3 on April 4, 1986. The Cardinal (3-1) are ranked #2 as a team and have #8 Jessica Nguyen, #13 Celia Durkin, #39 Lindsay Burdette and #89 Theresa Logar ranked in singles and #31 Durkin/Nguyen and #36 Logar/Durkin ranked in doubles.
USC VS. CAL: USC is 28-23 all-time against the Bears, having won the past five matches including last year's 4-3 and 5-1 decisions. Cal last beat USC 5-2 on April 3, 2004 in Berkeley. The Bears (4-2) are ranked #9 as a team and have #3 Susie Babos, #14 Nina Henkel, #27 Cristina Visico, #32 Zsuzsanna Fodor, #34 Marion Ravelojaona, #74 Stephanie Kusano and #77 Bojana Bobusic ranked in singles and #2 Babos/Fodor and #12 Moore/Henkel ranked in doubles.
RECENT RESULTS: USC improved to 4-0 on the year with a 7-0 win over Cal Poly last week. The Trojans were on the winning end of three tiebreakers in the match to help secure the victory. The first such battle came in doubles when #15-ranked Judy DeVera / Amanda Fink pulled out of an 0-3 hole in the tiebreaker to win the No. 1 match 9-8 (4). In singles action, #9 Sarah Fansler clinched the win with a 6-4, 6-1 decision over Brittany Blalock at No. 2. The final two matches were highlighted by first-set tiebreakers, as Lindsey Nelson and #46 Dianne Matias both had pulled out 7-6 (1) wins in their respective first sets before making quick work of the second to ensure victory at the Nos. 1 and 4 spots.
DRIVING FORCE: 2006 Honda Award finalist Lindsey Nelson is back again for the Women of Troy, holding down the fiercely competitive No. 1 singles slot for dual match play. She reached the NCAA singles final last season, and holds a 9-2 singles record so far this year as a junior. To open 2007, Nelson added to her list of successes with a win in the championship match of the National Collegiate Tournament, beating UCLA's Yasmin Schnack to claim the title.
CHEERS FOR FANSLER: USC freshman Sarah Fansler made a name for herself quickly at Troy. She has the most singles wins (14) and is USC's highest ranked singles player at #9 as the 2007 season gets underway -- a ranking earned largely from her championship run at the ITA West Regionals, where she became one of a string of Women of Troy to reach the final. Aside from 2003's tournament that was cancelled after the quarterfinals due to area fires, there has been a USC player in every ITA Western Regional singles final since 1998. Current Trojans Amanda Fink and Lindsey Nelson also reached the final in their freshman seasons, with Fink winning the title in 2005 and Nelson coming in second in 2004. Before that, Jewel Peterson won the title all four years (1999-2002), and Ditta Huber won in 1998.
LONE RANGER: 2006 Pac-10 Rookie of the Year Amanda Fink is the only lefty and the only sophomore on the USC roster, but she fits in perfectly on the Trojan ladder. She is locking down the No. 3 singles position, going 4-0 in dual match play so far.
SENIORITY RULES: USC has four seniors on the roster this year, and each and every one is loaded with experience. Three of them were members of USC's 2006 NCAA Semifinalist squad that finished out the year ranked No. 3 in the nation. This year, Academic All-American Anca Anastasiu along with Judy DeVera and Dianne Matias are joined by senior transfer Julie Smekodub, who comes to USC with a year of eligibility remaining after Tulane closed the doors on its women's tennis program following a season cancelled by Hurricane Katrina. Smekodub and Anastasiu teamed up in the fall for doubles, winning the ITA West Regional Doubles Championship with a final victory over USC teammates Fansler/Matias.
ON GALLIEN'S WATCH: As head coach Richard Gallien's enters his 12th season at Troy, he has strung together 11 straight NCAA appearances for for USC along with 10 top-20 team rankings, six trips to the NCAA Quarterfinals and last season's journey to the NCAA Semifinals. Under Gallien's watch, USC has finished no lower than 11th for the past eight years. He has compiled a 197-91 overall record and .684 win percentage at USC. In his 14 years as a head coach (also coaching the men at Pepperdine prior to coming to USC), he boasts a 259-115 (.693) career mark. In 2006, Gallien's USC squad rolled to another 7-1 mark in Pac-10 play and worked its way into the NCAA Semifinals, where the Trojans fell to Miami in a match that was interrupted by rain and resumed the next day. USC finished with a 21-4 overall record and wound up ranked No. 3 at season's close.