No. 8 USC Women Make 16th Straight Trip Into NCAA Action
May 7, 2007
TEAM PLAY: The No. 8 Women of Troy will begin their 16th consecutive trip to the NCAA Division I Women's Tennis Championships on the familiar courts of USC's own Marks Stadium. The Trojans open against Boston University in the first round of NCAA action on Saturday, May 12. Also visiting USC for the first two rounds of postseason play are Texas and UC Irvine, who face each other as well on May 12. Match times are tentatively set for 9 a.m. and 12 p.m. on Saturday (May 12). Texas and UC Irvine will play in the first match on Saturday, and USC and Boston University compete in the second match of the day. Winners will square off in the second-round match scheduled for 1 p.m. on Sunday (May 13) at Marks Stadium. USC enters the 2007 NCAA Championships as an at-large team with a 17-4 overall record. Boston University (13-5) claimed the America East championship to qualify, and Texas (15-9) and UC Irvine (20-4) both were at-large selections. The winner after the two rounds at Marks Stadium will advance to the NCAA Division I Women's Tennis Championships at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex in Athens, Georgia, hosted by the University of Georgia. The team championship will be held May 18-22.
NCAA SINGLES SCENE: Two USC women -- freshman Sarah Fansler and junior Lindsey Nelson -- have been selected to compete in the NCAA Singles Championships, to be held May 23-28 in Athens, Ga. Following the Trojans' competition in the NCAA Team Championships from May 11-22, the individual men's and women's tournaments will take place at Dan Magill Tennis Complex. For No. 12-ranked Sarah Fansler, this tournament will stand as the freshman's first trip to the NCAA Singles competition, but the newcomer already has established herself as a top competitor. She enters the individual tournament as one of eight players seeded 9-16 and holds the most wins on the USC roster with a 29-9 singles record entering the 2007 NCAA action. For junior Lindsey Nelson, the 2007 edition of the NCAA Singles Championships offers her the chance to go one win better than she did last season, when Nelson powered her way to the NCAA final. There, she fell to Cal's Susie Babos in the title match. However, Nelson is coming off an outstanding performance at the 2007 Pac-10 Championships, where she didn't give up a single set throughout her run to the Pac-10 title. There, she clashed again with defending NCAA champ Babos, and this time Nelson dispatched Babos in straight sets to claim the conference crown. Nelson brings in a 26-6 overall singles record. As a freshman, Nelson reached the NCAA Singles Round of 16. This season as a junior, she is the No. 4 seed in the draw.
ITA RANKING UPDATES: USC (17-4, 6-2 Pac-10) began the season ranked #3 in the nation, and currently ranks #8 in the latest ITA national rankings (released April 30). On the individual side, in rankings as of April 30, Lindsey Nelson sits at #5 in singles, followed by #11 Sarah Fansler, #73 Amanda Fink and #85 Dianne Matias. Judy DeVera / Amanda Fink aer ranked #47 in doubles.
NCAA NOTES: The Women of Troy will be making their 23rd overall appearance in the NCAA team tournament. The Trojans are 49-22 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 also claimed the USTA national championships. Last season, USC made its first trip to the NCAA Semifinals since 1988, falling in the 2006 semis to Miami.
THIS TIME LAST YEAR: USC hosted the first and second rounds of NCAA action in 2006 as well, and warmed up their NCAA ride with wins over Army (4-0) and Long Beach State (4-0). In the Round of 16, USC faced Virginia Commonwealth up in Palo Alto, and posted a 4-1 win to advance to the quarterfinals. There, the Trojans clashed with Northwestern, which USC took down to the wire before securing its first semifinal appearance since 1988 with a 4-3 decision over Northwestern. In the semis, USC's match with Miami was interrupted by rainy skies, and in the end Miami won out with a 4-1 decision. Individually, USC had five players compete in the NCAA Singles Championships. Anca Anastasiu, Luana Magnani and Dianne Matias fell in the first round, while then-freshman Amanda Fink reached the Round of 16 before falling to #10 Teresa Logar of Stanford. Lindsey Nelson declared her dominance with a powerful run to the NCAA Singles Final, where she clashed with Cal's Susie Babos in the title match, losing in two sets as Babos won the 2006 NCAA Championship. USC also had two doubles teams in the NCAA Doubles Tournament. Both pairs -- Magnani/Nelson and Matias/Carine Vermeulen -- reached the Round of 16 before falling to higher seeded teams.
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 opened her 2007 junior campaign by adding 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. Also the winner of the 2007 Pac-10 Singles Championship, Nelson is 14-5 in dual matches and 26-6 overall in singles this season, and currently ranks #5 in the ITA rankings.
GAME, SET, REMATCH: Junior Lindsey Nelson's 20th singles win of the year came in big-time fashion. She squared off against her opponent from the 2006 NCAA Singles Championship, Cal's #4 Susie Babos during USC's Pac-10 dual match with the Bears, and exacted some dramatic revenge over the 2006 title winner. Although Babos had bested Nelson in two sets in last year's NCAA final, Nelson refused to be put away in 2007. Nelson's three-set comeback -- 6-7 (4), 7-5, 6-1 -- clinched the match for the Trojans as well. She had been down 2-5 in the second set before reeling off five straight games to force a lopsided third set.
CHEERS FOR FANSLER: USC freshman Sarah Fansler has made a name for herself quickly at Troy. She boasts the most singles wins (27) on the team, is 16-4 in dual match singles, and is currently ranked #10 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 16-5 in dual match play so far and 21-10 overall and held a seven-match win streak up until USC's Pac-10 match with Cal. The next day, Fink pulled off a big upset of Stanford's #9 Celia Durkin, helping to propel the sophomore Trojan back into the ITA rankings, where she now stands at #73 entering
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 (16-5 dual, 24-12 overall) along with Judy DeVera (11-2, 19-7) and #85-ranked Dianne Matias (13-6, 19-11) are joined by senior transfer Julie Smekodub (10-3, 18-7), 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. Smekodub also recently claimed the Pac-10 Invitational Singles Championship with a clean sweep of competition at the conference action in Ojai, Calif.
SWEET FIFTEEN: USC's senior-sophomore combo of Judy DeVera / Amanda Fink have been dominant in doubles play. The pair raged to a 15-match win streak in dual match action and has had a vice grip on the No. 2 position with a 15-3 record in that slot. DeVera/Fink are 26-8 overall and 16-3 in dual match action. They have moved back into the ITA rankings to now sit at #47.
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 in those eight seasons 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 Pac-10 mark and to NCAA Semifinals, where the Trojans fell to Miami and finished with a 21-4 overall record and wound up ranked No. 3 at season's close.
NCAA Opponent Information
ABOUT BOSTON UNIV.: Boston University (13-5) earned its automatic bid into the NCAA Championships by winning the America East championship for the 14th straight year. This will be the Terriers' ninth NCAA appearance. Boston University is unranked as a team this week, having been #74 in the April 24 rankings. Cori Lefkowith (21-7), Rebecca Row (20-5) and Yana Sadovskaya (19-9) are the team's winningest singles players this season. LAst year, the Terriers lost 4-0 to eventual team finalist Miami in the NCAA First Round. This will be the first-ever meeting between USC and Boston University.
WOMEN OF TROY VS. FIRST-ROUND TEAMS AT USC
Texas -- USC is 10-7 all-time against the Longhorns after beating them 6-1 earlier this season. Texas is ranked #26 as a team and has #24 Vanja Corovic and #115 Courtney Zauft ranked in singles.
UC Irvine -- USC is a perfect 21-0 against the Anteaters since first facing them in 1977. The Trojans won the last meeting in a 7-0 victory in 2004. UC Irvine is ranked #34 as a team.