No. 8 USC Women Get Second Look At No. 19 Pepperdine

Feb. 21, 2007

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THIS WEEK: The No. 8 Women of Troy take on a familiar nonconference opponent this week, with a short trip to Malibu to face No. 19 Pepperdine for the second time this season. The teams squared off in L.A. in late January, with the Trojans winning 6-1. This time, USC will visit the Waves for a 1:30 p.m. match on Friday (Feb. 24).

ITA RANKING UPDATES: USC (5-2) began the season ranked #3 in the nation, but has moved to #8 in the latest ITA national rankings (released Feb. 21). On the individual side in those recent rankings, freshman Sarah Fansler sits at #13 in singles, followed by #17 Lindsey Nelson, #64 Anca Anastasiu, #72 Dianne Matias and #97 Amanda Fink. In doubles, Fansler/Matias are #24, ahead of #25 Matias/Nelson, # 30 Anastasiu/Smekodub and #31 DeVera/Fink.

USC VS. PEPPERDINE: USC is 33-12 all-time against the Waves, having won the past eight meetings including the latest 6-1 win at Marks Stadium. Pepperdine last won in a 4-3 decision in Malibu on March 21, 2001. The Waves (5-3) have #85 Sylvia Kosakowski ranked in singles and #16 Dulgheru/Kosakowski in doubles.

RECENT RESULTS: USC increased its winning start to 2007 to five straight victories before dropping two on the road. The Trojans topped San Diego State 7-0 on Feb. 13, then traveled to the Bay Area and fell 5-2 to No. 2 Stanford and then 5-2 to No. 9 California. Sarah Fansler was the lone singles player to tack up wins in all three matches, improving her dual match record to 7-0 and overall singles mark to 17-4. USC failed to grab the doubles point against Stanford and Cal, as only the No. 2 pair of Judy DeVera/Amanda Fink pulled out back-to-back doubles wins to remain undefeated in dual match doubles play.

DRIVING FORCE: 2006 Honda Award finalist Lindsey Nelson is back again for the Women of Troy, holding down the fiercely competitive No. 1 singles slot for dual match play. She reached the NCAA singles final last season, and holds a 9-2 singles record so far this year as a junior. To open 2007, Nelson added to her list of successes with a win in the championship match of the National Collegiate Tournament, beating UCLA's Yasmin Schnack to claim the title. She is 4-2 in dual matches and 11-3 overall in singles this season, and has moved up to rank #17 in the ITA ranking.

CHEERS FOR FANSLER: USC freshman Sarah Fansler made a name for herself quickly at Troy. She has the most singles wins (17), is undefeated in dual match singles, and is USC's highest ranked singles player at #13. She was #9 as the 2007 season began -- a ranking earned largely from her championship run at the ITA West Regionals, where she became one of a string of Women of Troy to reach the final. Aside from 2003's tournament that was cancelled after the quarterfinals due to area fires, there has been a USC player in every ITA Western Regional singles final since 1998. Current Trojans Amanda Fink and Lindsey Nelson also reached the final in their freshman seasons, with Fink winning the title in 2005 and Nelson coming in second in 2004. Before that, Jewel Peterson won the title all four years (1999-2002), and Ditta Huber won in 1998.

LONE RANGER: 2006 Pac-10 Rookie of the Year Amanda Fink is the only lefty and the only sophomore on the USC roster, but she fits in perfectly on the Trojan ladder. She is locking down the No. 3 singles position, going 5-2 in dual match play so far and 10-7 overall. She now ranks #97 in singles.

SENIORITY RULES: USC has four seniors on the roster this year, and each and every one is loaded with experience. Three of them were members of USC's 2006 NCAA Semifinalist squad that finished out the year ranked No. 3 in the nation. This year, Academic All-American Anca Anastasiu along with Judy DeVera and Dianne Matias are joined by senior transfer Julie Smekodub, who comes to USC with a year of eligibility remaining after Tulane closed the doors on its women's tennis program following a season cancelled by Hurricane Katrina. Smekodub and Anastasiu teamed up in the fall for doubles, winning the ITA West Regional Doubles Championship with a final victory over USC teammates Fansler/Matias. Anastasiu and Matias both are currently ranked in singles, with Anastasiu (6-1 dual, 13-7 overall) at #64 and Matias (5-2, 10-7) at #72.

ON GALLIEN'S WATCH: As head coach Richard Gallien's enters his 12th season at Troy, he has strung together 11 straight NCAA appearances for for USC along with 10 top-20 team rankings, six trips to the NCAA Quarterfinals and last season's journey to the NCAA Semifinals. Under Gallien's watch, USC has finished no lower than 11th for the past eight years. He has compiled a 197-91 overall record and .684 win percentage at USC. In his 14 years as a head coach (also coaching the men at Pepperdine prior to coming to USC), he boasts a 259-115 (.693) career mark. In 2006, Gallien's USC squad rolled to another 7-1 mark in Pac-10 play and worked its way into the NCAA Semifinals, where the Trojans fell to Miami in a match that was interrupted by rain and resumed the next day. USC finished with a 21-4 overall record and wound up ranked No. 3 at season's close.

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