No. 8 USC Women Host No. 13 Fresno State On Wednesday
March 20, 2007
THIS WEEK: The No. 8 Women of Troy have a lighter week this week with only a single match, but will still have to get past No. 13 Fresno State if USC is to tack up an eighth straight dual match win. The Trojans face the Bulldogs at 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday (March 21) at Marks Stadium.
ITA RANKING UPDATES: USC (12-2, 2-0 Pac-10) began the season ranked #3 in the nation, but has moved to #8 in the latest ITA national rankings (released March 20). On the individual side, in rankings as of March 20, Lindsey Nelson sits at #8 in singles, followed by #12 Sarah Fansler, #92 Dianne Matias and #117 Amanda Fink. In doubles, Fansler/Matias are #31, ahead of #52 Matias/Nelson and #59 DeVera/Fink.
USC VS. FRESNO STATE: USC is 12-1 all-time against the Bulldogs, with Trojans having won the past five matches against Fresno State. The teams last faced in 2002 in Los Angeles, where USC posted a 6-1 win, and the Bulldogs' last win came at the start of 1997 in a 5-4 decision. #13 Fresno State is 9-2 overall and has #3 Melanie Gloria, #70 Anastasia Petukhova and #71 Renata Kucerkova ranked in singles and #41 Gloria/Rowe and #50 Kucerkova/Petukhova ranked in doubles.
RECENT RESULTS: USC extended its winning streak to seven straight dual matches with three more wins last week. USC followed a 6-1 home win over #41 Texas with a 4-3 win over #21 Arizona State and a 7-0 sweep of #32 Arizona at Marks Stadium. Rolling on in doubles action was #37 Judy DeVera / Amanda Fink, who held tight to their undeafeated dual match mark with an 8-7 (1) win over Arizona's Steinberg/Todorova to improve to 13-0 in dual match doubles and 21-4 overall, with a winning streak of 13 straight matches. In each match, a different player served up the match-clinching singles victory. Against Texas it was Amanda Fink who passed up Petra Dizdar to secure a 4-0 lead against the Longhorns; #13 Lindsey Nelson got it done against ASU, winning her No. 1 match to get USC ahead 4-2; and against Arizona it was #15 Sarah Fansler who delivered USC's third straight singles win in the sweep.
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 a six-match winning streak and a 17-3 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 10-2 in dual matches and 17-3 overall in singles this season, and has moved up to rank #8 in the ITA rankings.
CHEERS FOR FANSLER: USC freshman Sarah Fansler made a name for herself quickly at Troy. She has won five straight to boast the the most singles wins (22) on the team, is 12-1 in dual match singles, and is currently ranked #12 in singles. 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 11-3 in dual match play so far and 16-8 overall while currently holding a three-match win streak. She also is now ranked #117 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 (12-2 dual, 19-8 overall) along with Judy DeVera (8-2, 14-6) and Dianne Matias (7-5, 13-10) are joined by senior transfer Julie Smekodub (7-2, 10-4), 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. Matias is currently ranked #92 in singles.
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.