NCAA women's tennis championships: UCLA, USC make it four Pac-12 teams in round of 16

USC Athletics

UCLA and USC join Cal and Stanford as the four teams representing the Pac-12 in the round of 16 at the 2015 NCAA women's tennis championships following their second-round victories Sunday, while Arizona State lost a hard-fought battle with Oklahoma State in the round of 32.

UCLA

The defending champions are on to the round of 16 after sweeping Northwestern 4-0. Although the Wildcats forced the Bruins to work for the doubles point – the Bruins and Wildcats split 8-1 decisions at No. 1 and No. 3 before Catherine Harrison and Kyle McPhillips gave UCLA the 1-0 lead with an 8-4 result at No. 2) – seventh-seeded UCLA rolled in singles play. The Bruins got quick wins from Harrison at No. 4 (6-1, 6-1 over Alex Chatt) and top-ranked Robin Anderson at No. 1 (6-1, 6-2 over Alicia Barnett to move into second all-time at UCLA with 121 career singles victories). The final blow came from 21st-ranked Chanelle Van Nguyen, who took out Erin Larner (6-3, 6-3) at No. 2 singles.

Early start for the Bru Cru the next time they hit the court – UCLA meets 10th-seeded Texas A&M in the Sweet 16 Friday at 7 a.m. PT (9 a.m. local).

USC

Top-seeded USC’s depth was on full display in a hard-earned 4-0 result over a young Virginia Tech that featured one junior, two sophomores and three freshmen in its singles lineup. The duo of Zoë Katz and Sabrina Santamaria put the Trojans up 1-0 after an 8-5 triumph at No. 1 doubles, but the top of the Trojans’ rotation was being challenged in singles play. Santamaria found herself down a break to junior Ilinca Stoica in the first set at No. 1 singles (and evenutally lost the first set 6-3), while Zoë Scandalis was down 5-4 to Elena Cerezo Codina in the first set at No. 3 (and lost the first set as well 7-6 (8)). That said, the back of the lineup made sure USC never sweated too much, as Meredith Xepoleas scored a 6-1, 6-1 win over Katherine Butler over on court six after Gabby Smith handled Sansitha Nandakumar 6-0, 6-1 at No. 5. That, combined with Madison Westby’s clincher at No. 4 singles (6-4, 6-4 over Caroline Daxhelet) gave the Trojans the four match victories necessary to book a flight to Waco.

This is the 30th anniversary of USC getting its only other No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament. You know what else happened in 1985? The Women of Troy won the national championship (and haven’t won it all since). This year, the Trojans play Texas Tech in the round of 16. On the other side, Virginia Tech won its second NCAA tournament match in program history and first in 16 years with a first-round triumph over Long Beach State. Expect the Hokies to be back next year, as there is not a single senior on the team.

Arizona State

Second-team All-Pac-12 junior Desirae Krawczyk lost a heartbreaking three-set match in the decisive No. 1 singles match to Viktoriya Lushkova as Arizona State's comeback came up just short in a 4-3 loss to Oklahoma State on the Cowgirls' home turf. The Sun Devils struck first by nabbing the doubles point at No. 1 with the 26th-ranked duo of Krawczyk and Stephanie Vlad upsetting 12th-ranked Lushkova and Kelsey Laurente 8-6. The Cowgirls quickly responded in singles play with two-set triumphs from Vladica Babic on court four (6-1, 6-0 over Joanna Smith), Laurente on court three (6-3, 6-1 over Kassidy Jump) and Maria Alvarez on No. 6 (6-2, 7-5 over Gussie O’Sullivan).

But while Arizona State found itself down 3-1, the Sun Devils had the edge in the three remaining undecided matches. Vlad soon responded for the Forks with a 6-2, 7-5 decision over Katarina Adamovic at No. 2 and Ebony Panoho (Saturday’s clincher) edged Carla Tur Mari in two sets (6-1, 7-6) on court five, leaving it to the No. 1 spot. The 30th-ranked Krawczyk won the first set 6-4 over the 17th-ranked Lushkova, but the Co-Big 12 Player of the Year responded with a 6-2 second-set triumph. Krawczyk had a 5-4 lead in the third set, but Lushkova forced free tennis. From there, Lushkova broke Krawczyk's serve and held her own to close out the match.

The NCAA women's tennis championships continue with the round of 16 Friday in Waco, Texas, hosted by Baylor. We'll haveyour updates for all things Goldean Bears/Cardinal/Bruins/Trojans.

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