USC Sends Two Men, Four Women To NCAA Individual Championships

April 29, 2009

The USC men's and women's tennis teams are all set for a busy stretch in College Station, Texas, in May, as four Women of Troy and two Trojan men have earned spots at the coming NCAA Individual Championships. Hailing from the No. 7 seeded USC women's squad are three singles competitors - Sarah Fansler, Amanda Fink and Maria Sanchez -- and the Pac-10 Champion doubles team of Fink and Gabriela Niculescu. The No. 8 seeded USC men have Robert Farah and Steve Johnson lined up in singles, and the two will also combine forces in doubles play. NCAA Singles and Doubles Championship competition will run May 20-25.

Fansler, Fink and Sanchez all secured singles spots thanks in large part to top-50 national rankings. For No. 22-ranked Pac-10 Singles Champion Amanda Fink, the NCAA Singles Championship slot marks the senior's third appearance in the action. She reached the Round of 16 as a freshman and pushed through to Quarterfinals last season for All-American honors both years. This year, Fink is holding a 22-match winning streak and a 33-7 overall record as she and the Women of Troy head into the NCAA Team Championships next weekend. As the nation's No. 23 player, sophomore Maria Sanchez has secured her first ticket to the NCAA Singles Championships. Despite injury in the spring, Sanchez has generated a powerful 24-9 singles record while playing largely at the No. 1 slot in USC dual matches. In the fall, the sophomore won the ITA Regional Singles Championship. Joining Fink and Sanchez in the NCAA women's singles competition will be junior Sarah Fansler. It's Fansler's second trip to the NCAA Singles Championships, as she was an All-American and named ITA Rookie of the Year in her first year as a Trojan in 2007. Fansler holds a 19-13 overall singles record on her way into the coming postseason stretch. On the doubles side of things, No. 5-ranked back-to-back Pac-10 Doubles Champions Amanda Fink / Gabriela Niculescu have snagged another 5-8 seed into the NCAA Doubles Championships. The pair holds a 22-6 overall doubles record as the Trojans turn to the NCAA Team Championships and both earned All-America honors last season as they powered to the NCAA quarterfinals in 2008.

In the NCAA Men's Individual Championships, USC's potent pair of Robert Farah and Steve Johnson ride their singles success and doubles domination into spots in the action in College Station, Texas. It will be Robert Farah's second straight trip to both NCAA brackets, as he was the No. 6 seed in singles and the No. 2 seed and eventual NCAA Doubles Champion with partner Kaes Van't Hof in 2008. Farah reached the singles Round of 16 last year. Now a junior, Farah ranks No. 8 in the nation for the No. 8 seed into this year's singles bracket is 26-6 overall in singles as he and the Trojans settle in for the NCAA Team Championships beginning next weekend. A freshman ranked No. 53 in the nation, Steve Johnson also has secured a spot in the NCAA Singles action. He recently reached the final of the Pac-10 Singles Championships and currently holds a 31-11 overall singles record on the way into his first NCAA experience. While they battle in out on the singles courts in College Station, Farah and Johnson will also combine forces as 5-8 seed in the NCAA Doubles Championships. Farah/Johnson rank No. 4 in the nation and picked up the automatic bid out of the Pac-10 Conference for this year's NCAA competition. The duo holds a 29-9 overall record in doubles play on the season so far.

Both the USC men and women will be hosting the first and second round of NCAA Team Championship competition. The men open on Friday (May 8) against UC Santa Barbara at 5 p.m. at Marks Stadium, and the women start up against Fairfield at 12 p.m. on Saturday (May 9).

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