No. 12 USC Women Bring No. 4 Bruins To Troy, Visit Oregon

March 2, 2010

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The USC women will get down to business this week with a rivalry match and then the kick-off to Pac-10 play. The No. 12 Women of Troy (7-3) open up action by hosting crosstown rival No. 4 UCLA (11-1) in a 1:30 p.m. match on Wednesday (March 3) at Marks Stadium. Then, USC hits the road for its first official Pac-10 match with a visit to Oregon (5-7) with a 1:30 p.m. match on Friday (March 5) in Eugene, Ore.

The latest ITA national team rankings (as of March 2) have USC ranked No. 12. The latest individual rankings also were released March 2. There, Maria Sanchez remains ranked #3 to lead the Women of Troy, with two other teammates well settled in the nation's top-25 -- #21 Alison Ramos and #22 Danielle Lao -- followed by #91 Valeria Pulido. In doubles, Kinstler/Sanchez rank #36 and Pulido/Sanchez are ranked #40.

The Women of Troy opened up last week with a 5-2 win over No. 65 San Diego State before setting up to host No. 3 California and No. 11 Stanford. Skies stayed clear over Marks Stadium long enough to get in the match against the Bears, who managed a 5-2 win over the Trojans despite a powerful three-set win by USC's #3 Maria Sanchez over Cal's #2 Jana Juricova at the No. 1 singles spot. The next day, rains washed out USC's match with Stanford, canceling play at Marks Stadium.

UCLA is ranked No. 4 in the nation and enters the week with an 11-1 overall record after beating No. 11 Stanford 6-1 and upsetting No. 3 Cal 4-3 last week. UCLA has four players ranked in singles: #5 Yasmin Schnack, #34 Andrea Remynse, #37 Noelle Hickey and #124 Pamela Montez. UCLA has one ranked doubles team: #4 Remynse/Schnack. USC is 42-31 all-time against the Bruins after a split last season in which UCLA claimed the first win 4-3 in Westwood and USC won in the Pac-10 clash 5-2 at Marks Stadium.

Oregon is unranked and enters the week with a 5-7 overall record after 4-3 losses to Purdue and Indiana and a 4-1 loss at Ohio State last week. Oregon has no players or doubles team nationally ranked. USC is 13-0 all-time against the Ducks after a 7-0 win last season at Marks Stadium.

This week's USC-UCLA clash puts another 2.5 points up for grabs in the race to the Crosstown Gauntlet, a trophy awarded annually to the school with the most successful athletic year against the other. Points are awarded to the winner of each Trojan-Bruin head-to-head contest (57.5 points is the magic number). USC captured the inaugural trophy in 2001-02, UCLA won it in 2002-03, USC recaptured it in 2003-04, UCLA won it back in 2004-05, USC claimed it in 2005-06, UCLA was victorious in 2006-07 and, for the first time in the competitions history, a school won it in consecutive years when USC captured it in 2007-08 and 2008-09. Currently, USC leads this season's competition, 42.5-27.5.

The USC men and women swept the most recent Pac-10 Player of the Week awards thanks to a powerful week of play from junior Maria Sanchez. Sanchez snagged her second career Pac-10 Player of the Week Award with her selection on March 2. Ranked #3 in the nation in singles, Sanchez got two more wins this week, including an impressive upset of California's #2 Jana Juricova. After a smooth 6-2, 6-2 win over San Diego State's #58 Julia Trunk earlier in the week, Sanchez and the No. 10 Trojans went up against No. 3 California. Battling it out at the No. 1 singles position, Sanchez and Juricova played out three tough sets. When Juricova answered Sanchez' first-set win by taking the second set, Sanchez pulled ahead 2-0 in the third. Juricova responded to tie it 2-2, but Sanchez blasted out the next three games with a pair of breaks to go up 5-2. Juricova broke her back, but Sanchez had the last word with one more break to claim a strong 6-1, 2-6, 6-3 victory. With the upset win, Sanchez improved to 16-5 overall in singles, including an 8-1 mark in dual-match singles play.

Junior Cristala Andrews earned a spot on the prestigious All-Tournament Team at the ITA National Team Indoors after an undefeated run at the No. 6 singles position during the tourney.

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