No. 11 USC Women Visit San Diego State

Feb. 13, 2008

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THIS WEEK: The No. 11 Women of Troy (5-2) are back in California, but remain on the road this weekend for a nonconference dual match at No. 52 San Diego State. Aiming to get back on a winning track after a competitive stretch at the ITA National Team Indoors last weekend, the Women of Troy go up against the Aztecs at 2 p.m. on Friday (Feb. 15) in San Diego.

ITA RANKING UPDATES: USC (5-2) moved to #11 in the nation in the latest ITA team rankings (released Feb. 12). 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.

USC VS. SAN DIEGO STATE: The Aztecs are ranked No. 52 in the nation and are 4-2 on the year. SDSU is led by #61 Julia Trunk in singles. USC is 35-4 all-time against the Aztecs after posting a 7-0 sweep of SDSU last season.

RECENT RESULTS: In their 14th appearance at the prestigious ITA National Women's Team Indoor Championships, USC went 1-2 after three tight matches. The Trojans opened with a 4-3 win over #39 Arkansas. After capturing the doubles point for an early lead, USC fell behind 1-3 to open singles. The Trojans pulled even on wins from freshmen Leyla Entekhabi and Maria Sanchez before junior Amanda Fink sealed USC's victory with her 7-6 (7), 6-4 win over Ela Kaluder at the No. 2 position. The next day, USC endured over seven hours of tennis against #14 North Carolina, with the match coming down to a three-hour singles battle between USC's Sanchez and UNC's Laura Reichert. Sanchez evened the match by pulling out a tiebreaker in the second set, and the third went down to the wire as well, with Reichert sneaking away with a 7-5, 6-7 (3), 7-6 (5) after three hours and 7 minuets to get the Tarheels to a 4-3 win. In USC's consolation match the following day, the Trojans faced #6 Georgia and again wound up in a one-point battle. The Bulldogs got an early lead by winning doubles, and the Trojans came up just short of a comeback effort in singles as Georgia picked up the 4-3 win to close out competition in Wisconsin.

WINNING WAYS: After USC's tough run at the National Team Indoors, only freshman Leyla Entekhabi still carries an untarnished singled record in dual match play. Entekhabi played at the No. 6 slot for USC's first two matches, winning in both to hold a 6-0 dual match singles mark. Cristala Andrews stepped in for the third match and kept USC's record in that position intact, winning in her first dual match singles competition. Meanwhile, three Trojans were dealt their first dual match losses of the year while in Wisconsin, moving Lindsey Nelson to 5-2, Gabriela Niculescu to 5-2 and Amanda Fink to 5-1 entering USC's next dual match action.

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. She opened with four straight wins at the No. 1 singles slot this year, now 5-2 in dual matches and 7-5 overall.

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. Ranked No. 51 in the preseason, Fink is 5-1 in dual match singles play and is 17-4 overall. Fansler holds a 5-8 singles mark so far this season.

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. Niculescu is also proving herself a singles powerhouse as well. She's 5-2 in dual match play and is 13-5 overall, ranked No. 78 in ITA preseason rankings.

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. The freshman foursome is a combined 12-3 in singles dual match play so far this season.

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 2007 NCAA Semifinals opponent Miami.

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.

ON GALLIEN'S WATCH: As head coach Richard Gallien enters his 13th season at Troy, he has strung together 12 straight NCAA appearances for USC along with 11 top-20 team rankings, nine consecutive journeys to the NCAA Championships, six trips to the NCAA Quarterfinals and one to the NCAA Semifinals. Under Gallien's watch, USC has finished no lower than 11th for the past nine years. He has compiled a 216-36 overall record and .692 win percentage at USC. In his 15 years as a head coach (also coaching the men at Pepperdine prior to coming to USC), he boasts a 278-120 (.698) career mark.

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