No. 10 USC Settles In For Busy Week At Home

March 24, 2008

THIS WEEK: USC will host three matches in four days this week, lined up against two nonconference teams and one Pac-10 opponent for action at Marks Stadium. The Trojans (12-4) first host San Diego in a 1:30 p.m. match on Tuesday (March 25). After a day's rest, USC will face Fresno State at 1 p.m. on Thursday (March 27) and then squares off against Oregon in a 1:30 p.m. Pac-10 clash on Friday (March 28).

ITA RANKING UPDATES: USC (12-4) ranks #10 in the nation in the latest ITA team rankings (released March 18). The latest individual rankings also were released on March 18, with six Trojans in the rankings -- #18 Amanda Fink, #52 Lindsey Nelson, #97 Sarah Fansler, #98 Gabriela Niculescu, #102 Maria Sanchez and #110 Leyla Entekhabi, In doubles, Fink/Niculescu are ranked #5 in the nation.

SCOUTING SAN DIEGO: The Toreros are 4-11 after falling 4-2 to Nevada and 7-0 to New Mexico last week. USD has no players ranked in the latest ITA rankings. USC is 20-3 all-time against the Toreros after notching its third straight 7-0 sweep of San Diego last season.

SCOUTING FRESNO STATE: The Bulldogs rank No. 16 in the most recent ITA rankings and are 9-5 overall after beating Denver 4-3 and BYU 6-1 last week. Fresno State has three ranked singles players -- #12 Anastasia Petukhova, #13 Melanie Gloria and #109 Tinesta Rowe -- and #2 Rowe/Gloria ranked in doubles. USC is 13-1 all-time against the Bulldogs after last season's 4-3 decision in favor of Fresno State was overturned following a protest of the Bulldog lineup..

SCOUTING OREGON: The Ducks rank No. 60 in the most recent ITA rankings and are 9-8 overall after a 7-0 win over Washington State last week. Oregon has no players ranked in the latest ITA rankings. USC is 11-0 all-time against the Ducks, last posting a 7-0 win in Oregon last season.

RECENT RESULTS: USC hit the road and came back with a win last week, beating No. 17 Texas 5-2 in Austin. Texas was able to sweep through doubles play - the first time this season that USC has failed to win at least one of the day's doubles matches. In singles action, Texas moved ahead 2-0, but Gabriela Niculescu won next at No. 4 and then Lindsey Nelson pulled USC even from the No. 1 slot. With the match tied up, USC's freshmen stretched the Trojans ahead. At No. 5, Maria Sanchez bounced back strong from a first-set loss to gather in a win to make it 3-2 USC. And at No. 6, Leyla Entekhabi tallied her 14th consecutive singles win to secure victory for USC, up 4-2 in the match. From her No. 2 spot, Amanda Fink rounded out the match with a win in the third-set tiebreaker.

WINNING WAYS: Leading the win streak drive this season is freshman Leyla Entekhabi, who holds a 14-match win streak with an unblemished dual match singles record of 14-0 in dual matches and a 23-6 overall mark. She was recently named the Pac-10 Player of the Week after capturing her 14th straight win to clinch victory for the Trojans in Texas.

20-SOMETHING: Four Women of Troy have nailed the 20-win mark already this season, now that freshman Maria Sanchez captured her 20th singles win last week in Texas to hold a 20-8 overall record and 11-4 record in dual matches. Amanda Fink leads the Trojans with 24 wins to date (24-6 overall, 12-3 dual), and Leyla Entekhabi (23-6, 14-0) and Gabriela Niculescu (21-6, 13-3) are next in line in the 20s. So far, every Women of Troy is over .500 in dual match singles play.

SENIOR STAR: Lindsey Nelson -- 2007 Pac-10 singles champion and three-time All-American has -- has now made back-to-back trips to the NCAA singles final. A two-time Honda Award finalist, Nelson is USC's lone senior on the roster this year, and she brought a 91-27 overall singles record into the dual match season. She opened with four straight wins at the No. 1 singles slot this year, and ranks #52 in the ITA rankings, now holding an 11-9 overall record and 9-6 dual match mark while battling injuries. Nelson's 100th career singles win came in a match against a familiar opponent -- Cal's Suzi Babos, who beat Nelson in the 2006 NCAA Championship but lost to Nelson in the 2007 Pac-10 Championship -- on Feb. 29 in USC's dual match against the Bears.

BACK FOR MORE: USC has two National Rookies of the Year on the roster for 2008. Now a junior, 2006 Rookie of the Year Amanda Fink is is joined by 2007 Rookie of the Year Sarah Fansler. Fansler and Fink stacked up at No. 2 and No. 3 singles, respectively, throughout much of the 2007 season. After leading the Trojans in singles wins with 32 as a freshman, Fansler earned a spot in the NCAA Singles Championships along with Nelson. Fink shined in singles and doubles once again, and earned her second All-Pac-10 selection. Now ranked No. 18 in the nation, Fink leads the Trojans with 24 singles wins, going 12-3 in dual match singles play and 24-6 overall. No. 97 Fansler holds an 8-7 dual record and 10-11 singles mark so far this season.

DOUBLE TROUBLE: Gabriela Niculescu sat out her first year at Troy but is good to go for 2008. She and Amanda Fink have already teamed up in fall doubles action, claiming the ITA West Regional doubles championship. The pair ranks #5 in the nation and is 23-7 overall and 12-3 in dual match play. Niculescu is also proving herself a singles powerhouse as well. She's 13-3 in dual match play and is 21-6 overall, now ranked No. 98 in ITA rankings.

FIRST THINGS FIRST: USC has added four freshmen to the 2008 roster, and all four have already jumped into the win column. Cristala Andrews, Leyla Entekhabi, Lyndsay Kinstler and Maria Sanchez have all proven themselves as winners, tacking up victories in dual match play and in individual tournaments this season. The freshman foursome is a combined 30-5 in singles dual match play so far this season.

LAST SEASON: USC made its ninth straight appearance at the NCAA Championships after making its fourth straight second-place finish in Pac-10 action. USC posted a 19-5 overall record and reached the NCAA Championships Round of 16, where the Trojans fell 4-3 to its 2007 NCAA Semifinals opponent Miami.

WHAT'S TO COME: In order to stretch USC's NCAA appearance run to 10 straight trips, the Women of Troy will have a long dual-match season to power through. The only teams to beat the Trojans during the regular season in the past three years ¬-- since Lindsey Nelson took up residence at Troy -- have been Pac-10 teams Stanford, Cal and UCLA, and nonconference foe Baylor. The Trojans will have their usual two clashes with the Pac-10 schools, and the only out-of-state nonconference trip on the docket will take USC to Texas for a dual match tilt in March.

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