Pac-10's Top Teams Clash At Marks Stadium

March 25, 2009



THIS WEEK: The Pac-10 Conference has four teams lumped at the 8-11 slots in the latest national rankings, and three of those teams are set for action at Marks Stadium this weekend. No. 10 USC (13-2) will first play host to No. 8 California (11-3) in a 1:30 p.m. match on Friday (March 27). The Trojans enter their match with Stanford ranked a step ahead of the No. 11 Cardinal as the Women of Troy look to snap a 50-match losing streak against Stanford (11-2) with a 12 p.m. match on Saturday (March 28) also at Marks Stadium.

ITA RANKING UPDATES: The latest ITA national team rankings have USC ranked No. 10 in the nation, as of March 24. Singles and doubles rankings were released March 17, with Maria Sanchez leading the way at #12 in singles and four other Women of Troy well settled in the nation's top-100: #25 Sarah Fansler, #26 Amanda Fink, #58 Gabriela Niculescu and #62 Alison Ramos. Three USC doubles duos also are nationally ranked: #10 Fink/Niculescu, #22 Niculescu/Sanchez and #53 Fansler/Kinstler.

SCOUTING CALIFORNIA: Cal is ranked No. 8 in the nation and is 11-3 overall after beating #30 Denver 5-2 and falling to #15 Fresno State 4-3. USC is 30-25 all-time against the Bears after splitting 6-1 decisions with Cal last season. Cal has #17 Jana Juricova, #21 Marina Cossou, #22 Bojana Bobisuc #38 Claire Ilcinkas and #75 Mari Andersson ranked nationally in singles and #7 Andersson/Juricova and #9 Cossou/Ilcinkas ranked in doubles.

SCOUTING STANFORD: Stanford is ranked No. 11 in the nation and is 11-2 overall after beating San Francisco 4-3 and Princeton 6-1. USC is 17-57 all-time against the Cardinal, with Stanford having won the past 50 straight matches. USC's last win over the Cardinal was a 6-3 decision on April 4, 1986, in Los Angeles. Stanford has #14 Hilary Barte and #98 Jessiga Nguyen nationally ranked in singles and #17 Barte/Burdette ranked in doubles.

THE 300 CLUB: USC head coach Richard Gallien hit a new benchmark early this season in claiming his 300th career victory. With a 4-0 win over Michigan State during ITA National Indoor Qualifying, Gallien bumped his career coaching record up to 300-128. He entered the 2009 season carrying an all-time record of 297-128, and he had posted a 235-104 record as head coach at USC. In his sixteen years as a head coach ¬¬-- 13 of which have come at USC -- Gallien has strung together 13 straight NCAA appearances for his Women of Troy, 12 top-20 team rankings, six trips to the NCAA Quarterfinals, one to the NCAA Semifinals in 2006 and Round of 16 runs in the past two seasons. Under Gallien's watch, USC has finished no lower than 11th in the past nine years.

TOP GUNS: Thanks to a tagteam effort from sophomore Maria Sanchez and junior Sarah Fansler at the No. 1 singles slot, the Trojans have had a reliable force at the top of the lineup for dual match play. #12 Sanchez leads the Women of Troy with 22 singles wins overall on the year, followed by a set of four Trojans with at least 15 singles wins: #25 Sarah Fansler (17-9), #26 Amanda Fink (21-7), #58 Gabriela Niculescu (21-5) and #62 Alison Ramos (19-9). Fink and Niculescu both are riding solid win streaks into this week's action, as Fink has won 10 straight singles matches and Niculescu has nine straight.

RECENT ACTION: USC extended its winning run out to five consecutive dual-match victories with a recent 6-1 win at #57 Pepperdine and a 5-2 win at #51 San Diego. Amanda Fink and Gabriela Niculescu combined forces for doubles wins in both matches, and each extended their singles match winning streaks out to 10 and nine straight, respectively .

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