No. 10 USC Women Enter Postseason Play in Ojai

April 22, 2008

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THIS WEEK: In a break from dual match action, USC kicks off the postseason push with a trip to Ojai to compete for the 2008 Pac-10 Singles and Doubles Championships. The conference tournament begins Thursday (April 24) and runs through Sunday (April 27) in Ojai, Calif.

ITA RANKING UPDATES: USC ranks #10 in the nation in the latest ITA team rankings (released April 22). The latest individual rankings also were released on April 22, with five Trojans in the rankings -- Amanda Fink broke into the top-10 as she now ranks #6, followed by #56 Lindsey Nelson, #74 Gabriela Niculescu, #94 Maria Sanchez and #122 Leyla Entekhabi. In doubles, Fink/Niculescu are ranked #6 in the nation.

PAC-10 PLANS: The Pac-10's nine women's teams head to Ojai, Calif., Thurs., April 24 through Sun., April 27, to decide the league's singles and doubles champions. For the women, the 32-player singles draw shall consist of three players from each of the nine schools that sponsor women's tennis, with five additional competitors selected by a committee of coaches, based upon the participants record. The 16-team doubles draw will have one doubles team from each school and seven additional teams selected by the committee, based upon the participants' record. The draw for the 2008 Pac-10 Championships has not yet been released.

THIS TIME LAST YEAR: USC had four singles participants (Sarah Fansler, Amanda Fink, Lindsey Nelson and Anca Anastasiu) in on the tournament action, and two doubles teams (DeVera/Fink and Matias/Nelson) competing in the Pac-10 Championships. DeVera/Fink reached the doubles semifinals, while Nelson powered through singles play and became the first Trojan to win the Pac-10 Singles Championship with a 6-2, 6-2 win over Cal's Susie Babos in the Pac-10 singles final.

RECENT RESULTS: USC lost a 5-2 match to #6 UCLA in the Pac-10 regular-season finale last week as the Bruins gathered the doubles point and were able to avoid upsets down the line, aside from #13 Amanda Fink's 5-7, 7-6 (4), 1-0 (10-8) win over UCLA's #11 Riza Zalameda at the No. 1 position. With USC's usual No. 1 singles player Lindsey Nelson out of the lineup with injury, the Trojan ladder was adjusted, and UCLA was able to hold rank at the No. 2, No. 3 and No. 5 positions. At No. 5, #92 Maria Sanchez tallied USC's first point of the day with a 6-3, 6-4 win over Ashley Joelson, but UCLA got the next three wins to help UCLA capture its first-ever share of the Pac-10 title. Fink's win was the junior's 30th singles victory of the year.

WINNING WAYS: Although her win streak was snapped at a 17-0 run through dual match singles play, Leyla Entekhabi stands out as USC's most successful dual match player, going 19-2 in dual matches and holding a 28-8 overall mark. She was named the Pac-10 Player of the Week after capturing her 14th straight win to clinch victory for the Trojans in Texas. Just a step behind in dual match wins, but leading the Women of Troy in total singles victories is Amanda Fink, who holds an overall singles mark of 30-8 and a dual match record of 18-5.

20-SOMETHING: Four Women of Troy have passed up the 20-win mark to date. Freshman Maria Sanchez captured her 20th singles win in Texas and now holds a 26-10 overall record and 17-6 record in dual matches. Amanda Fink leads the Trojans with 30 wins so far (30-8 overall, 18-5 dual), and Leyla Entekhabi (28-8, 19-2) and Gabriela Niculescu (26-9, 18-6) are next in line in the 20s. Throughout the regular season, every Trojan is at .500 or better in dual match singles play.

SENIOR STAR: Lindsey Nelson -- 2007 Pac-10 singles champion and three-time All-American -- has 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 brought 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, and ranks #56 in the ITA rankings. Battling injuries, Nelson now holds a 13-14 overall record and 11-11 dual match mark against some of the top players in the nation. Nelson's 100th career singles win came in a match against a familiar opponent -- Cal's Susie Babos, who beat Nelson in the 2006 NCAA Championship but lost to Nelson in the 2007 Pac-10 Championship -- on Feb. 29 in USC's first dual match against the Bears.

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. Last year, Fink shined in singles and doubles once again, and earned her second All-Pac-10 selection. Now ranked No. 6 in the nation, Fink leads the Trojans with 30 singles wins, going 18-5 in dual match singles play and 30-8 overall. Although injuries have limited her time on the court this year, Fansler holds a 10-10 dual record and 12-14 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 were a quick success together in fall doubles action, claiming the ITA West Regional doubles championship. The pair now ranks #5 in the nation and is 28-9 overall and 17-5 in dual match play. Niculescu is also proving herself a singles powerhouse as well. Appearing in every dual match this year, she's 18-5 in dual match play and is 26-8 overall, now ranked #90 in the ITA rankings.

FIRST THINGS FIRST: USC has added four freshmen to the 2008 roster, and all four made sure to make a quick jump 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 has gone a combined 45-10 in singles dual match play this season.

LAST SEASON: USC made its ninth straight appearance at the NCAA Championships after making its fourth consecutive 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.

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