No. 2 USC Women Host Opening Rounds Of NCAA Championships

May 9, 2006

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THIS WEEK: The second-ranked USC women's tennis team will begin its quest for an eighth national team title from the Trojans' home courts. The Women of Troy received the No. 3 seed into the 2006 NCAA Women's Tennis Championships and will host three other teams for first- and second-round competition from May 12-13 at Marks Stadium. In the first round on Friday (May 12), New Mexico (14-8) will face Long Beach State (21-4) at 11 a.m., followed by USC's match against Army (15-12) at 2 p.m. The winners will clash in the second round at 2 p.m. on Saturday (May 13). From there, all the teams that won in the secnod round will converge at Stanford for the NCAA Round of 16 and beyond from May 18-22.

ITA RANKING UPDATES: USC has held onto its highest ranking since 2003, sitting at a lofty #2 alongside Notre Dame behind defending NCAA champ Stanford in the latest ITA national rankings (released May 1). The Women of Troy now have six players ranked in singles. Freshman Amanda Fink is the #7 ranked player in the nation, while Lindsey Nelson has jumped up to #18, ahead of #29 Dianne Matias. Luana Magnani remains at #47, Anca Anastasiu has leapt higher in the rankings to #58, and Carine Vermeulen has popped onto the list at #101. On the doubles scene, Magnani/Nelson sit at #18, Matias/Vermeulen have moved to #28, and Anastasiu/Judy DeVera are #54.

NCAA NOTES: This will be USC's 22nd trip overall to the NCAA Tournament and 15th straight appearance in NCAA action. The Trojans are 45-21 all-time in NCAA Tournament play and have won seven national team titles. The 1983 and 1985 crowns were both NCAA titles, as the NCAA began its women's tennis championships in 1982. USC's 1977, 1979 and 1980 titles were AIAW championships, and in 1977 and 1978 the Trojans claimed the USTA national championships.

RECENT RESULTS: The Women of Troy are coming off a 17-3 regular season where they finished second in the Pac-10 behind undefeated defending conference and NCAA champion Stanford. At the recent Pac-10 Championships in Ojai, Calif., USC had two players reach the semifinals of singles competition -- sophomore Lindsey Nelson and freshman Amanda Fink. Fink made her mark on the conference by working her way into the title match, where she fell to California's Suzi Babos. Six other Trojans took part in the singles action. Anca Anastasiu, Luana Magnani and Dianne Matias all competed in the tournament side of play, but fell in the first round. Judy DeVera, Carine Vermeulen and Whitney Peterson took part in the invitational competition, DeVera won her first-round match and Vermeulen had a first-round bye, but both lost their second-round matches. Peterson lost in the first round and played in the back draw along with Anastasiu. Anastasiu won her back draw match, and Peterson lost. USC had three doubles teams in the Pac-10 tournament, and two pairs pushed through to the quarterfinals with an opening win. The quarterfinal round was not as successful for the Women of Troy, however, as two losses ended the Trojans' doubles runs. Matias/Vermeulen pushed past Cal's Bobusic/Kusano with an 8-3 decision, but later fell to Arizona State's Clarke/Pooler 8-4 in the quarters. Magnani/Nelson also notched an opening win with an 8-3 defeat of Arizona's Balzert/Mavroleon, only to fall 8-3 to UCLA's Gordon/Zalameda in the next round. USC's third doubles team of DeVera/Fink lost 8-4 in the first round to Cal's Babos/Fodor.

THIS TIME LAST YEAR: The Women of Troy hosted the first and second rounds of NCAA action in 2005 as well, and warmed up their NCAA ride with wins over Illinois-Chicago (4-0) and Arizona State (4-0). In the Round of 16, USC faced UCLA for the third time that season and posted a tight 4-3 win to advance to the Quarterfinals. There, the Trojans clashed with Florida and fell 4-2. Taking that premier NCAA experience in hand, USC sent three players on to the NCAA Singles tournament. Anca Anastasiu fell in the first round to TCU's Story Tweedie-Yates 6-2, 5-7, 6-4, and Nicole Leimbach also lost her first match in a 7-5, 6-2 decision to Texas A&M's Helga Vieira. Lindsey Nelson, however, powered through to two early wins to reach the Round of 16. Nelson beat Clemson's Romy Farah and Kentucky's Sarah Foster in the first and second rounds, respectively. She then faced VCU's Marianna Yuferova and fell 3-6, 6-4, 6-3 to close out a stellar freshman season for Nelson.

NELSON IN FULL EFFECT: USC's top returning player is right back at her winning ways. Playing at the No. 1 singles slot, sophomore Lindsey Nelson earned herself Pac-10 Player of the Week honors with a smooth effort over ranked opponents from Washington and Washington State. She has gone 11-5 in dual match play and is 19-7 overall. After two recent upsets of UCLA's then-No. 20 Laura Gordon, Nelson was named Pac-10 Player of the Week for the second time this season. She also bumped herself up from #52 to #26 in the ITA rankings after that winning performance, and boosted herself to #18 after reaching the Pac-10 Semifinals to open the postseason.

COMEBACK KID: Senior Luana Magnani missed out on the 2005 season with academic eligibility troubles, but is back in full effect this season for USC. She cruised to a 6-0 record in dual matches at the No. 4 singles slot until slipping in a No. 3 singles match at Arizona and is now 14-4 in dual matches and 23-7 overall. She holds a #47 ITA ranking in singles for the third week running, and also is ranked in doubles at #18 with Lindsey Nelson. For her efforts earlier in the season, Magnani was named a Pac-10 Player of the Week.

LEFTY ON THE LOOSE: Freshman southpaw Amanda Fink has wasted no time turning heads in her first year at USC. She was the nation's top-ranked player earlier this season and now sits as USC's highest ranked player at #7 after powering into the Pac-10 Singles titles match. She's 37-9 on the year, and 14-5 in dual matches after picking up her first two wins at the No. 1 singles slot against Arizona and ASU while Lindsey Nelson was out with illness.

ANCA IN ACTION: Junior Anca Anastasiu has some smarts to go along with her tennis success. A 3.98 student who also wields a wicked racket, Anastasiu was USC's only undefeated player in dual-match action until she dropped her first singles match in 17 matches. She avenged that loss days later, however, to boast a 17-1 dual match record and now stands at 24-8 overall. After ringing up her dual match record to 15-0 with a win over Stanford's #41 Whitney Deason and another comeback win at Cal, she earned Pac-10 Player of the Week honors.

2006 TROJANS: The 2006 USC squad, led by head coach Richard Gallien -- in his 11th season at Troy -- is highlighted by six returning players from last year's team that reached the NCAA Quarterfinals and finished the 2005 season with a No. 7 national ranking. This year, the Trojans boast four newcomers to the roster as USC works toward an 11th straight appearance at the NCAA Tournament. USC finished with 19-4 overall record and went 7-1 in Pac-10 play to finish second in the conference.

HEAD COACH Richard Gallien: Now entering his 11th season at Troy, Gallien has strung together 10 straight NCAA appearances, nine top-20 team rankings and five trips to the NCAA Quarterfinals. Under Gallien's watch, USC has finished no lower than 11th for the past seven years. At USC, Gallien has compiled a 176-87 overall record and .669 win percentage. In his 13 years as a head coach (also coaching the men at Pepperdine prior to coming to USC), he boasts a 238-111 (.682) career mark.

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