No. 8 USC Women Start ITA National Indoor Action
Feb. 10, 2010
USC entered the season secure as one of the top teams in the nation, and this week the No. 8 Women of Troy will get to prove it as they turn to competition at the ITA National Team Indoor Championships. Wisconsin hosts this year's elite early-season action from Feb. 12-15. USC (5-0) will open up against No. 15 Clemson (8-0) in the first round at 3:30 p.m. CT on Friday (Feb. 12) for a chance to move into the next day's 3:30 p.m. quarterfinals. Semifinals will be held on Sunday (Feb. 14) also at 3:30 p.m., with the championship match time still TBA on Monday (Feb. 15).
ITA RANKING UPDATES
The latest ITA national team rankings (as of Feb. 4) have USC up a spot to currently rank No. 8. The latest individual rankings were released Jan. 5. There, #8 Maria Sanchez leads the Women of Troy, with three other teammates well settled in the nation's top-50. Starting their first season asTrojans, freshmen Danielle Lao and Valeria Pulido have captured high rankings, with Lao ranked #18 and Pulido at #37. Sophomore Alison Ramos is just a step behind at #38. In doubles, Pulido/Sanchez rank #19.
Up against No. 40 Pepperdine last week at Marks Stadium, USC grabbed a 6-1 win over the Waves to continue the Trojans' winning start to 2010. USC claimed all three wins in doubles before heading into singles action. There, USC got ahead 2-0 before Pepperdine got a win at the No. 6 position. The Trojans picked it up and won out the rest of the matches, however, clinching things on Cristala Andrews' 6-2, 7-6 win at No. 5.
HOW THEY GOT THERE
To qualify for this year's ITA National Team Indoor Championships, USC played host to the ITA Kick-off Weekend at Marks Stadium at the end of January. The Trojans had LSU, Auburn and San Diego in town for the Kick-off Weekend. #35 Auburn opened with a 4-0 sweep of #28 LSU before the Trojans took the court and delivered a 4-0 win over #60 San Diego. That put San Diego and LSU up against one another in the consolation match the following day, with San Diego getting a 4-1 win there. In the championship match, USC took on Auburn and rolled out to a 4-0 win to lock down a spot at the Indoor championships hosted by Wisconsin later this month. Freshman Valeria Pulido got the clinching singles win in both matches from her No. 4 position, standing as the lone Trojan to finish with four singles victories in the first week of action, as several players had singles matches suspended once the ITA Kick-off competitions were decided.
THIS TIME LAST YEAR
USC was ranked No. 9 on the way into last year's ITA National Team Indoors -- also held in Wisconsin. The Trojans opened up against No. 6 Georgia and fell 4-3 in that match to move into a face-off with No. 10 Florida. USC played out another 4-3 match there, and got the win on a three-setter from Amanda Fink. That earned USC a clash with Clemson in the consolation second round, and the Trojans pulled ahead 4-2 in the match before the Tigers got one last point for a 4-3 USC victory.
Clemson is ranked No. 15 in the nation and is 8-0 overall after upsetting No. 4 Georgia 4-3 and beating Charlotte 7-0 last week. Clemson has three players ranked in singles: #9 Josipa Bek, #61 Nelly Ciolkowski and #113 Ina Hadziselimovic. Bek/Hadziselimovic is ranked #4 in doubles. USC is 7-0 all-time against Clemson after facing the Tigers in last year's ITA Team Indoors and snagging a 4-3 win in the consolation second round.