No. 7 USC Women Streak Into Washington
March 31, 2009
THIS WEEK: USC packs up its seven-match winning streak to take on the road for two more Pac-10 clashes this weekend. The No. 7 Trojans (15-2, 3-0 Pac-10) first take a trip to Pullman to face Washington State at 12 p.m. on Friday (April 3) and then moves on to Seattle to play No. 31 Washington in another 12 p.m. match on Saturday (April 4).
ITA/CAMPBELL RANKING UPDATES: The latest ITA/Campbell national rankings have USC bumped up to No. 7 in the nation, as of March 31. Singles and doubles rankings also were released March 31, with Maria Sanchez leading the way at #18 in singles and four other Women of Troy well settled in the nation's top-100: #26 Amanda Fink, #33 Sarah Fansler, #65 Alison Ramos and #68 Gabriela Niculescu. Three USC doubles duos also are nationally ranked: #5 Fink/Niculescu, #23 Niculescu/Sanchez and #56 Fansler/Kinstler.
SCOUTING WSU: WSU is unranked and is 7-13 after going 2-1 in Hawai'i last week, beating Wyoming and Hawaii-Pacific and falling to Hawaii. USC is 14-0 all-time against the Cougars after a 7-0 win last season in Pac-10 play. WSU has no players ranked in singles or doubles.
SCOUTING WASHINGTON: Washington is ranked No. 31 in the nation and has won five straight matches after a 3-0 run in Hawai'i last week, beating Cal Poly, Hawai'i and Illinois. USC is 15-1 all-time against the Huskies including last season's 6-1 victory in Pac-10 play. Washington has #24 Venise Chan and #78 Denise Dy ranked in singles and #60 Chan/Dy ranked in 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, junior Sarah Fansler and senior Amanda Fink all spending the bulk of their time in the top three singles positions, the Trojans have had a reliable force at the top of the lineup for much of dual match play. Though injuries have interrupted some of her court time, #18 Sanchez has accumulated a 22-8 singles record on the season. #26 Fink leads all with 23 wins so far, including a 12-match winning streak for a 23-7 singles mark. #33 Fansler is at 17-11 overall, making her one of six Women of Troy holding at least 15 wins so far. #65 Alison Ramos is 21-9 overall; #68 Gabriela Niculescu is 21-9; and Leyla Entekhabi is up to 15-8 while riding a six-match win streak playing largely at the No. 5 and 6 positions.
FINK ON THE RUN: Senior Amanda Fink has won 12 straight singles matches entering the week, with glittering highlights coming in last week's Cal-Stanford stretch. Fink's match-clinching win at No. 3 vs. Cal was followed by a jump to No. 2 with Sanchez out of the lineup and another straight-set win to open singles against Stanford. That went along with a clean slate in doubles with Gabriela Niculescu to help USC to the doubles point in both matches. For her dominance in the week, Fink picked up her first career honors as Pac-10 Player of the Week.
RECENT ACTION: USC extended its winning run out to seven consecutive dual-match victories with a big pair of home wins last week in Pac-10 action. The Trojans opened things with a 4-3 upset win over #8 Cal, clinching the match early with the doubles point and a string of straight-set singles wins capped by Amanda Fink at the No. 3 position. With #13 Maria Sanchez out of the lineup the next day against #11 Stanford with injury, the Trojans adjusted and grabbed a historic win over the Cardinal. #10 USC stormed to its first win over Stanford in 23 years with a 5-2 decision. The Cardinal had claimed the previous 50 straight dual matches against USC, but the Trojans came up big in doubles and followed up a quick win from Fink. A win at No. 5 from Leyla Entekhabi put the Trojans in position to clinch, while freshman Alison Ramos and sophomore Lyndsay Kinstler were gutting out three-setters on the other end of the court. Ramos pulled out her win first, and USC's streak-snapping win over the powerhouse Cardinal was in hand.