USC Women's Tennis Heads To NCAA Tourney In Georgia

May 16, 2005

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This Week--The seventh-ranked USC women's tennis team (18-3, 7-1 Pac-10) has advanced to the Round of 16 of the 2005 NCAA Women's Tennis Team Championships and the young Women of Troy (no seniors, one junior) will face No. 12-ranked UCLA (17-5) on Thursday (May 19) at 6 p.m. ET in Georgia's Dan Magill Tennis Complex in Athens, Ga. It's a rematch of last year's Round of 16 meeting in which the Bruins beat the Women of Troy, 4-2. It's also the third time in the last four years they've battled in the Round of 16 (UCLA also won in 2002).

The winner of the USC-UCLA match will meet the winner of Thursday's Round of 16 match between No. 2 Florida (20-2) and No. 14 Baylor (24-5) in a quarterfinal match on Friday, May 20, at 3 p.m. ET. The tourney continues with the semifinals on Saturday, May 21, at 3 p.m. ET and the final on Sunday, May 22, at 1 p.m. ET.

USC, seeded seventh in the entire tourney and making its 23rd appearance in the NCAA tourney (its 14th in a row), is coming off impressive 4-0 wins last weekend over Illinois-Chicago and No. 30 Arizona State in the NCAA first and second rounds, respectively. This will be the third meeting of the season between the Women of Troy and UCLA, the tourney's 10th seed. The teams split those matches.

USC freshmen Nicole Leimbach and Lindsey Nelson and sophomore Anca Anastasiu were selected to compete in the NCAA Singles Championship. The women's singles and doubles competition will be conducted May 23-28 at Georgia following the team tournament.

ITA Ranking Updates--The Women of Troy are listed at No. 7 in the latest ITA rankings released on May 2. The Trojans boast four ranked singles players, including two ranked in the Top 20 with freshmen Nicole Leimbach at No. 9 and Lindsey Nelson at No. 16 and sophomores Anca Anastasiu at No. 53 and Dianne Matias at No. 94. USC's doubles duo of Carine Vermeulen and Nelson come in at No. 43 while Nelson and Anastasiu come in at No. 45.

HEAD COACH RICHARD GALLIEN--Richard Gallien is in his 10th season at the helm of the USC women's tennis program. Over the last decade, USC has proven to be one of the top teams in the nation. Under his tutelage, USC has made 10 consecutive NCAA appearances, finishing no lower than 11th for the past six straight years. At USC, Gallien has compiled a 173-86 over all record and .668 win percentage. In his 13 years as a head coach (also coaching the men at Pepperdine for three years prior to coming to USC), he boasts a 236-110 (.682) career mark and his teams have made 10 appearances in the NCAA Tournament, including an appearance in the NCAA Quarterfinals four out of the last six years. Gallien's senior-less 2005 team currently is ranked seventh nationally with an 18-3 overall record (7-1 for second in the Pac-10).

2005 NCAA TOURNEY SO FAR--In the NCAA first round, USC easily defeated Illinois-Chicago, 4-0,at USC's Marks Stadium on May 13. Illinois-Chicago players did not capture more than 2 games in any match in either singles or doubles play against the Women of Troy. In fact, they won only 7 games combined all afternoon. USC got off to a quick start as Lindsey Nelson and Anca Anastasiu swept Iris Jaklin and Melanie Humphrey, 8-0, followed by Judy DeVera and Carine Vermeulen's 8-1 win over Grace Gill-Morlis and Molly Smith. It was more of the same for the Women of Troy singles. Vermeulen and then Dianne Matias both rolled to 6-0, 6-0 wins over Gill-Morliss and Humphrey, respectively. Then, Anastasiu sealed the victory with a 6-2, 6-0 win over Corey Steven. In the second round on May 14 at USC, the Women of Troy used a key victory at the No. 3 doubles position to beat No. 30 Arizona State, 4-0. USC gained momentum from capturing the hard-fought doubles point and used it to overwhelm the Sun Devils in the third through fifth spots in singles. After the teams split the top two doubles courts--Lauren Colalillo and Kady Pooler of ASU beat Nelson and Anastasiu (8-2) on court 1 and Nicole Leimbach and Matias beat Sabrina Capannolo and Jessica Leitch (8-0) on court 2--court 3 went to a tiebreaker. DeVera and Vermeulen prevailed 7-2 in the tiebreaker over Joslynn Burkett and Rebecca Rankin for the 9-8 win. Then in singles, Anastasiu beat Pooler on court 3, 6-3, 6-3, followed by Matias' 6-1, 6-1 win over Leitch on court 4. Vermeulen clinched the match with a 6-1, 6-2 victory over Colalillo at the fifth spot.

Last Year At NCAA Championships--After sweeping through the first two rounds of competition (American and Arizona), USC faced crosstown rival and eighth-ranked UCLA in the 2004 NCAA Round of 16. USC had taken the two regular season matches but this time it was the Bruins who came out on top, 4-2, knocking the Women of Troy out of the tournament and completing the season for USC's two seniors - Bernadette Bayani and Melissa Esmero. Anca Anastasiu went on to compete in the NCAA Singles Championships in her freshman season-- losing to No. 17 Dea Sumantri of Washington, 6-2, 3-6, 6-4 in the first round. Luana Magnani also particpated in the singles competition, losing to No. 19 Jennifer Magley of Florida, 3-6, 6-1, 6-3, in the first round. The doubles duo of Magnani and Carine Vermeulen lost in the doubles portion of the NCAA Championships, 6-3, 6-4, to North Carolina's Mojzis and Cline in the first round.

Women Of Troy History At NCAA Championships--With its 14th consecutive (23rd overall) bid to the NCAA Tournament, USC has long been a force in collegiate women's tennis. Since the inception of the NCAA postseason in 1982, the Women of Troy have earned two national titles (1983, 1985) to complement five previous AIAW and USTA titles. The Trojans also have twice played in the NCAA championship match (runnerup in 1984 and 1986) and have reached the quarterfinals seven times (1982, 1989, 1990, 1999, 2000, 2001, 2003). In the pre-NCAA era, the Women of Troy claimed five other national titles--1977, 1979 and 1980 by the AIAW and 1977 and 1978 by the USTA.

Pac-10 Proves Tough--The Pac-10 has seven of the top 30 teams in the current poll (tied with the SEC for the most among all the conferences), and five of the top 25. Eight of the nine Pac-10 teams are ranked among the top 60, making the Pac-10 the only conference to have all but one of its schools represented in the poll (seven of the nine teams advanced into the NCAA Tournament). The SEC and ACC are next in line with 10-of-12 and 7-of-9 teams ranked, respectively. The Pac-10 women claim 30 spots on the most recent ITA Top-125 rankings and occupy 12 spots among the Top-60 doubles.

Youth prevails--USC's roster features five freshmen, four sophomores, one junior and no seniors. USC freshmen Nicole Leimbach and Lindsey Nelson and sophomores Anca Anastasiu and Dianne Matias have done more than what is normally expected of such youth. Leimbach, 14-5 in dual singles play from the No. 1 spot, was the 2005 Pac-10 Player of the Year and won the Pac-10 singles championship. Nelson holds a near spotless record (18-1) so far this season in dual singles play, including a 17-match dual winning streak to begin her collegiate career, while Anastasiu and Matias hold only three singles dual losses. Nelson and Anastasiu have teamed up for a 12-1 record in dual doubles play, mostly at the No. 2 position.

News N' Notes--USC has faced 11 top-25 opponents this season and has compiled an 8-3 record against them. ... In her first season, freshman Lindsey Nelson owns the team's best singles record with a 30-7 overall mark playing at the second position. ... Nelson and Anca Anastasiu boast the team's best doubles record with an 12-1 overall mark (11-0 from the No. 2 spot) ... USC is 20-0 at the No. 2 doubles spot in 2005 ... USC's 4 ranked singles players (No. 9 Nicole Leimbach, No. 16 Lindsey Nelson, No. 53 Anca Anastasiu and No. 94 Dianne Matias) have combined for a 68-12 record in dual singles play ... Carine Vermeulen has won her last 7 singles matches, Nicole Leimbach has won 13 of her last 15 and Dianne Matias has won 12 of her last 14.

Final Pac-10 Standings--Stanford captured the 2005 Pac-10 women's team title with a undefeated record in conference play, marking the 12th straight year that the Cardinal has won the title. USC finished in second place for the fifth time in the last seven years, at 7-1.

At Pac-10 Championships--The Women of Troy left Ojai with both the Pac-10 Individual and Invitational titles. Freshman Nicole Leimbach clinched USC's first women's singles title with a 5-7, 6-0, 6-3 victory over Stanford's Alice Barnes. Junior Carine Vermeulen captured the Invitational title with a 7-5, 6-3 victory over Washington State's Amy Toth. Dianne Matias and Leimbach also teamed up to reach the semifinals of the Pac-10 doubles championship before losing 8-4 to Arizona's Hollands and Mlakar.


UCLA: UCLA, which has appeared in all 24 NCAA Tournaments, is 17-5 overall (6-2 in the Pac-10 for third place) after posting 4-0 sweeps against Illinois State and Washington in the Regionals last weekend. The Bruins, under head coach Stella Sampras Webster, are ranked No. 12 and seeded 10th in the tourney. Last year, UCLA made it to the NCAA finals, losing to Stanford. Their 2004 doubles team of Daniela Bercek and Lauren Fisher won the NCAA doubles crown last year. This season, UCLA has five players ranked in singles: No. 11 Bercek, No. 26 Riza Zalameda, No. 96 Laura Gordon, No. 102 Alex McGoodwin and No. 111 Tracy Lin. Bercek and Zalameda are ranked No. 4 in doubles.

USC vs. UCLA: USC and UCLA have previously met 65 times in their history with the Women of Troy enjoying a 38-27 advantage. The Trojans have also won five of the previous seven matches. The teams split their meetings in 2005, with USC winning the Pac-10 counting match, 4-3, on March 9 at Marks Stadium and UCLA winning in Westwood on April 16, 5-2, in the regular-season finale. This will be the third time in the last four years that USC and UCLA have met in the NCAA Round of 16 (the Bruins won in 2002 and 2004).

USC vs. Other Teams in Its Bracket, Florida and Baylor: USC is 8-11 all-time against Florida. The teams last met at the 2003 ITA Team Championships, a 5-1 Gators victory. The Women of Troy have never faced Baylor.

USC vs. Rest of NCAA Field:

Stanford: 17-51 (including 0-2 in 2005)

Harvard: 8-0 (including 1-0 in 2005)

Georgia: 1-6

California: 26-23 (including 2-0 in 2005)

Vanderbilt: 0-0

North Carolina: 1-0

Northwestern: 4-1

Clemson: 6-0

Texas: 9-7 (including 1-0 in 2005)

Georgia Tech: 1-0

Tulane: 0-0

Kentucky: 4-2

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