No. 8 USC Women Stay Home For Two This Week

Jan. 22, 2008

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THIS WEEK: The No. 8 Women of Troy take their 1-0 record on the year into a two-match week at Marks Stadium. USC (1-0) will host No. 41 Long Beach State on Wednesday (Jan. 23) at 1:30 p.m., and then face No. 37 UC Irvine two days later on Friday (Jan. 25) at 1:30 p.m. Both matches are set for the Trojans' home courts at Marks Stadium.

ITA RANKING UPDATES: USC (1-0) begins the season ranked #8 in the nation. In preseason singles rankings (released Jan. 8), the ITA has junior Amanda Fink ranked #51 and sophomore Gabriela Niculescu ranked #78. In doubles, Fink/Niculescu rank #5 in the nation. Long Beach State and UC Irvine have no players ranked in the preseason ITA rankings.

USC VS. LBSU: USC is a perfect 29-0 all-time against Long Beach State after opening the 2007 with a 7-0 sweep of the 49ers. #41 Long Beach State is 1-0 after opening the year with a 6-1 win over San Diego. Last season, LBSU reached its fifth NCAA Tournament in the last six years, and finished the year with a 17-9 overall record.

USC VS. UCI: USC is a perfect 21-0 all-time against UC Irvine, last facing the Anteaters in the 2006 opener, which the Trojans won 7-0. This match will be UCI's season opener. Lastr season, UCI won the Big West regular season championship and reached the first round of the NCAA Tournament and finished with a 21-5 overall record.

RECENT RESULTS: USC opened season on its 2008 campaign with a 6-1 win over visiting No. 64 LMU last week. The Trojans swept doubles action on the way into singles play, picking up five straight wins to secure the victory, getting the match-clinching decision from freshman Lyndsay Kinstler with a 6-3, 6-2 win at the No. 6 singles position.

LAST SEASON: USC made its ninth straight appearance at the NCAA Championships after making its fourth straight second-place finish in Pac-10 action. USC posted a 19-5 overall record and reached the NCAA Championships Round of 16, where the Trojans fell 4-3 to its 2006 NCAA Semifinal opponent Miami.

SENIOR STAR: Headlining the recent successes of the Women of Troy has been senior Lindsey Nelson. The 2007 Pac-10 singles champion and three-time All-American has now made back-to-back trips to the NCAA singles final. A two-time Honda Award finalist, Nelson is USC's lone senior on the roster this year, and she brings a 91-27 overall singles record into the dual match season.

BACK FOR MORE: USC has two National Rookies of the Year on the roster for 2008. Now a junior, 2006 Rookie of the Year Amanda Fink is is joined by 2007 Rookie of the Year Sarah Fansler. Fansler and Fink stacked up at No. 2 and No. 3 singles, respectively, throughout much of the 2007 season. After leading the Trojans in singles wins with 32 as a freshman, Fansler earned a spot in the NCAA Singles Championships along with Nelson. Fink shined in singles and doubles once again, and earned her second All-Pac-10 selection.

DOUBLE TROUBLE: Gabriela Niculescu sat out her first year at Troy but is good to go for 2008. She and Amanda Fink have already teamed up in fall doubles action, claiming the ITA West Regional doubles championship and entering the 2008 dual match season as the #5 doubles team in the nation.

FIRST THINGS FIRST: USC has added four freshmen to the 2008 roster, and all four have already jumped into the win column. Cristala Andrews, Leyla Entekhabi, Lyndsay Kinstler and Maria Sanchez have all proven themselves as winners, tacking up victories in dual match play and in individual tournaments this season.

WHAT'S TO COME: In order to stretch USC's NCAA appearance run to 10 straight trips, the Women of Troy will have a long dual-match season to power through. The only teams to beat the Trojans during the regular season in the past three years -- since Lindsey Nelson took up residence at Troy -- have been Pac-10 teams Stanford, Cal and UCLA, and nonconference foe Baylor. The Trojans will have their usual two clashes with the Pac-10 schools, and the only out-of-state nonconference trip on the docket will take USC to Texas for a dual match tilt in March.

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