No. 8 USC Women Open Pac-10 Play On The Road

Feb. 28, 2007

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THIS WEEK: The No. 8 Women of Troy continue their six-match road swing with their first Pac-10 counting matches of the year. USC travels to Pullman, Wash., first to face No. 56 Washington State at 1:30 p.m. on Friday (March 2), then moves on to Seattle to play Washington at noon on Saturday (March 3).

ITA RANKING UPDATES: USC (6-2) began the season ranked #3 in the nation, but has moved to #8 in the latest ITA national rankings (released Feb. 28). On the individual side in those recent rankings, freshman Sarah Fansler sits at #12 in singles, followed by #20 Lindsey Nelson, #48 Anca Anastasiu, #77 Dianne Matias and #89 Amanda Fink. In doubles, Fansler/Matias are #24, ahead of #25 Matias/Nelson, #30 Anastasiu/Smekodub and #31 DeVera/Fink.

USC VS. WSU: USC is 12-0 all-time against the Cougars after posting a 6-0 win last season at home. WSU is 8-4 overal and 0-2 in Pac-10 play and has no players ranked in the latest ITA rankings.

USC VS. WASHINGTON: USC is 13-1 all-time against the Huskies, having won 7-0 last season at home. Washington's lone win came in a 6-1 decision in 2003 in Seattle. Washington is 1-7 overall and has no players ranked in the latest ITA rankings.

RECENT RESULTS: USC recovered from a pair of losses last week with a strong 5-2 road win over No. 19 Pepperdine. The Trojans grabbed the doubles point behind 8-4 victories from Nelson/Smekodub at the No. 1 position and from DeVera/ Fink at the No. 2 slot. That victory keeps the powerful DeVera/Fink duo undefeated in dual match doubles action, with a 7-0 mark. Fansler/Matias lost their No. 3 doubles match with an 8-4 defeat to Dickes/Banderes. With the doubles point in hand, USC proceeded to notch a clear win with four singles wins. Lindsey Nelson claimed her No. 1 singles win with a 6-1, 6-3 victory over #59 Bianca Dulgheru, marking some revenge after falling 6-4, 6-2 in their last dual match singles meeting, while Fink also posted a win at No. 3, 6-4, 6-2. Anca Anastasiu and Julie Smekodub each also pinned up singles wins at the No. 5 and 6 slots, respectively, to help carry the Trojans to victory. Fansler got stuck with her first dual match singles loss after her No. 2 match went to a 10-game pro-set after the overall match had already been decided. #94 Sylvia Kosakowski topped Fansler for a 5-7, 7-3, 10-5 win that got Pepperdine its second point of the match.

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 12-3 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. She is 5-2 in dual matches and 12-3 overall in singles this season, and has moved up to rank #20 in the ITA rankings.

CHEERS FOR FANSLER: USC freshman Sarah Fansler made a name for herself quickly at Troy. She has the most singles wins (17), is 7-1 in dual match singles, and is USC's highest ranked singles player at #12. She was #9 as the 2007 season began -- 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 6-2 in dual match play so far and 11-7 overall. She now ranks #89 in singles.

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. Anastasiu and Matias both are currently ranked in singles, with Anastasiu (7-1 dual, 14-7 overall) at #48 and Matias (5-3, 11-8) at #77.

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.

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