Fink & Niculescu Are USC's First Pac-10 Doubles Team of the Year
May 4, 2009
USC senior Amanda Fink made a little more history for USC this week. Fresh off USC's first-ever Pac-10 title sweep, Fink and her doubles partner in power Gabriela Niculescu have secured the Trojans' first Pac-10 Women's Doubles Team of the Year selection, thanks in large part to the pair's second straight trip to the top of the podium as the Pac-10 Doubles Champions. Fink - who won the Pac-10 singles crown as well - and Niculescu had a strong hand in leading USC to its first Pac-10 Team Championship, an accomplishment that head coach Richard Gallien had seen Stanford reach throughout his career at Troy. Gallien's Women of Troy rolled undefeated through Pac-10 play in 2009, however, snapping a 23-year losing streak to the Cardinal along the way to get USC to the top of the conference and help secure Gallien's third selection as the Pac-10 Coach of the Year. Gallien, Fink and Niculescu are joined with 2009 All-Pac-10 accolades by fellow Women of Troy Maria Sanchez on the All-Pac-10 Second Team and Sarah Fansler with All-Pac-10 Honorable Mention.
In USC's third match of the season, Richard Gallien tallied his 300th career victory. By the end of the regular season, the Trojans' overall record had ballooned to 20-2 while snagging wins in all eight Pac-10 matches including a historic victory over perennial Pac-10 champ Stanford. USC's 5-2 win over the Cardinal put a stop to a 50-match losing slump against Stanford. Two weeks later, Gallien's Trojans sewed up at least a share of their first-ever Pac-10 title with a road win over Arizona State. And a week after that, USC was locking down its first undefeated Pac-10 run with a 5-2 win over crosstown rival UCLA to stand alone as the Pac-10 champions for the first time in program history. USC rides a 12-match winning streak into the coming NCAA Team Championships, and is already assured its lowest loss count since the mid-1980s with this season's powerful run. USC finished with two losses in 1985 and had three in 1986. In his 14th season at USC, Gallien has the Women of Troy ranked No. 7 in the nation on the way into their 18th consecutive NCAA appearance. Gallien was named Pac-10 Co-Coach of the Year in 1999 and won it outright in 2006, making this year's pick his third career honor.
The 2009 Pac-10 Doubles Team of the Year, Amanda Fink and Gabriela Niculescu, are the first Trojan pair ever to earn the conference's top honor. Two-time Pac-10 Doubles Champions now, Fink/Niculescu rank No. 5 in the nation and are heading into their second appearance in the NCAA Doubles Championships as a top-8 seed. The pair has a 22-6 overall record and went 16-4 in dual match play at the No. 1 position, going 6-1 in Pac-10 matches.
Amanda Fink locked away her third All-Pac-10 First Team selection along with honors as a Pac-10 Team Champion and the 2009 Pac-10 Singles and Doubles Champion. In addition to her accomplishments in doubles action with Niculescu, Fink can claim a No. 22 national ranking in singles and also grabbed a Pac-10 Player of the Week honor this season. The senior rides a 22-match singles win streak into the coming NCAA Team Championships, holding a 33-7 overall singles record with a 19-1 dual match effort. She was a perfect 8-0 in Pac-10 dual matches and also has a slot in the NCAA Singles Championships. Fink was the 2006 Pac-10 Freshman of the Year and was a first-teamer in 2006 and 2008 and earned honorable mention in 2007.
Picking up her first career All-Pac-10 selection is sophomore standout Maria Sanchez. Despite injury during part of Pac-10 play, Sanchez's power and talent secured her spot on the All-Pac-10 Second Team. Playing largely at the No. 1 singles position for dual match action, Sanchez went 10-6 in dual match play and holds a 24-9 overall singles record to go along with her current No. 23 national rank on the singles scene. She was tabbed the Pac-10 Player of the Week for the first time in her career for her help in pushing the Trojans to their first-ever Pac-10 title, and is on her way into her first appearance in the NCAA Singles Championship later this month. In the fall, Sanchez was the ITA West Regional Singles Champion, and also won the ITA West Regional Doubles Championship playing with Niculescu. In doubles play this spring, Sanchez has combined forces with Alison Ramos for a 17-7 overall record including a 12-4 mark in dual match play. The pair carry a No. 78 national ranking and a nine-match winning streak into the coming NCAA Team Championships.
USC's latest Pac-10 Player of the Week selection is Sarah Fansler, who has earned 2009 All-Pac-10 Honorable Mention. The clincher in USC's big win over UCLA weeks ago, Fansler holds a 19-13 overall singles record. She was the 2007 Pac-10 Freshman of the Year with first-team honors that season, and has come through for the Women of Troy again this season. She ranks No. 42 in the nation in singles, locking in for a trip to the 2009 NCAA Singles Championships. Fansler has also been key in USC's doubles success throughout the year. Teaming up with Lyndsay Kinstler, Fansler ranks No. 62 in the national doubles rankings.