No. 10 USC Women Head To Westwood To Face No. 11 UCLA
March 3, 2009
THIS WEEK: USC is a step ahead of UCLA in the national rankings this week, and the No. 10 Trojans (8-1) have an eye on keeping an edge on the No. 11 Bruins (10-2) with a 1:30 p.m. match at UCLA on Wednesday (March 4). The Bruins have come out ahead of the Women of Troy in the past four matches, but USC boasts five nationally-ranked singles players to lead the Trojans into the first USC-UCLA clash of 2009 - set for the Los Angeles Tennis Stadium tomorrow. After visiting the Bruins on Wednesday, USC will go up against No. 46 Oregon (7-4) in a 12 p.m. match at Marks Stadium on Saturday (March 7).
ITA RANKING UPDATES: The latest ITA national team rankings have USC ranked No. 10 in the nation, as of March 3. Singles and doubles rankings also were released March 3, with Maria Sanchez leading the way at #15 in singles and four other Women of Troy well settled in the nation's top-100: #22 Sarah Fansler, #29 Amanda Fink, #54 Gabriela Niculescu and #61 Alison Ramos. Four USC doubles duos also are nationally ranked: #12 Fink/Niculescu, #19 Niculescu/Sanchez, #62 Fansler/Kinstler and #71 Ramos/Sanchez.
SCOUTING UCLA: UCLA is ranked No. 11 in the nation and is 10-2 overall after beating Cal State Fullerton 7-0 last week. USC is 41-30 all-time against the Bruins after taking losses in the past four meetings. USC got a 4-3 win in March 2007, but fell 4-3 later that season. Last year, UCLA claimed 6-1 and 5-2 regular-season wins and won 4-0 in the 2008 NCAA Round of 16. UCLA has #36 Andrea Remynse, #37 Yasmin Schnack and #68 Maya Johansson ranked in singles and #5 Remynse/Schnack, #25 Joelson/Schnack and #76 Seguso/Wetmore ranked in doubles.
GRAB THE GAUNTLET: This week's match with UCLA marks another heated battle in the year-long Lexus Gauntlet competition between the rival schools. The USC tennis teams both are playing to pad the Trojans' lead, which currently stands at 40-25 entering this week's action. 2.5 points are on the line in each of Wednesday's tennis matches, with the USC men hosting the Bruins at 3 p.m. and the Women of Troy playing at UCLA at 1:30 p.m. USC won last year's trophy in the annual all-sports competition. It takes 57.5 points to clinch the Lexus Gauntlet.
SCOUTING OREGON: Oregon is ranked No. 46 in the nation and is 7-4 overall after beating Arizona 4-3 and losing to Arizona State 5-2 last week. USC is 12-0 all-time against the Ducks after tallying a 7-0 win in Pac-10 play last season. Oregon has no players ranked in singles or doubles.
THE 300 CLUB: USC head coach Richard Gallien hit a new benchmark early this season in claiming his 300th career victory. With a 4-0 win over Michigan State during ITA National Indoor Qualifying, Gallien bumped his career coaching record up to 300-128. He entered the 2009 season carrying an all-time record of 297-128, and he had posted a 235-104 record as head coach at USC. In his sixteen years as a head coach ¬-- 13 of which have come at USC -- Gallien has strung together 13 straight NCAA appearances for his Women of Troy, 12 top-20 team rankings, six trips to the NCAA Quarterfinals, one to the NCAA Semifinals in 2006 and Round of 16 runs in the past two seasons. Under Gallien's watch, USC has finished no lower than 11th in the past nine years.
TOP GUNS: Thanks to a tagteam effort from sophomore Maria Sanchez and junior Sarah Fansler at the No. 1 singles slot, the Trojans have had a reliable force at the top of the lineup for dual match play. #15 Sanchez leads the Women of Troy with 20 singles wins overall on the year, followed by a set of four Trojans with 15 singles wins: #22 Sarah Fansler (15-6), #29 Amanda Fink (15-7), #54 Gabriela Niculescu (15-5) and #61 Alison Ramos (15-7).
RECENT ACTION: USC grabbed two more wins in its 2009 campaign last week with a 7-0 sweep of #62 San Diego State and a 6-1 win over #72 Cal Poly. Four Trojans secured two singles wins in the two matches: Amanda Fink, Gabriela Niculescu, Alison Ramos and Leyla Entekhabi.