No. 12 USC Women Host Baylor Tuesday, Visit ASU

March 8, 2010

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The USC women enter another big week as the No. 12 Trojans face a top-10 team for the fifth time in three weeks before heading off on another quick road trip. On Tuesday (March 9), the Women of Troy get a rematch against No. 9 Baylor -- this time on USC's home turf. The two teams clashed during the ITA National Team Indoor Championships in Wisconsin in February, with the Bears getting the win. Now, USC (8-4) has Baylor (9-2) coming to town for a 1:30 p.m. match at Marks Stadium on Tuesday. After that, USC takes a trip to Arizona State for a 12 p.m. match against the Sun Devils on Saturday (March 13).

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 played two matches last week, first facing crosstown rival No. 4 UCLA in a nailbiter that the Bruins won 4-3 before USC visited Oregon for a 7-0 sweep in their Pac-10 opener. Against UCLA, the Trojans got behind 3-1 in the match before Maria Sanchez and Valeria Pulido bought fought back in three-setters to tie things 3-3. That left the No. 3 singles match between USC freshman Danielle Lao and UCLA's Andrea Remynse raging as the clincher, with Remynse pulling out the win to get the Bruins the 4-3 victory. Days later in Oregon, the Women of Troy rolled out wins down the line to sweep the host Ducks and take a 1-0 start to Pac-10 competition.

Baylor is ranked No. 9 in the nation and enters the week with a 9-2 overall record after beating Texas Tech 6-1 and Iowa State 7-0 last week. Baylor has five players ranked in singles -- #8 Lenka Broosova, #41 Nina Secerbegovic, #53 Csilla Borsanyi, #82 Jelena Stanivuk, #98 Taylor Ormond -- and one ranked Bears doubles team, #11 Broosova/Borsanyi. USC is 0-2 all-time against Baylor, falling 4-3 to the Bears in 2006 at Marks Stadium before taking a 5-2 loss at this year's ITA National Team Indoor Championships in Madison, Wisc., on Feb. 14.

Arizona State is ranked No. 44 in the nation (as of March 8) and enters the week with a 6-2 overall record after a 5-2 win over Washington State and another 5-2 upset of Washington last week. ASU has #104 Kelcy McKenna ranked in singles and no ranked doubles teams. USC is 42-19 all-time against Arizona State, having won the past 14 straight matches against the Sun Devils including 4-2 and 5-2 wins over ASU last season.

The USC men and women swept the March 2 Pac-10 Player of the Week awards thanks to a powerful week of play from junior Maria Sanchez. Ranked #3 in the nation in singles, Sanchez got two more wins in the 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, helping secure the junior's second career Pac-10 Player of the Week selection.

En route to her current #3 singles ranking, Maria Sanchez has faced three top-10 singles players so far in this 2010 dual-match play, and the junior has beaten all three. Sanchez' only loss at her No. 1 singles slot for the Trojans came to Baylor's then-#17 Lenka Brosova in a three-setter. Aside from that, Sanchez has top-10 wins over #9 Josipa Bek of Clemson, #2 Jana Juricova of Cal and #5 Yasmin Schnack of UCLA. Sanchez currently holds an 18-5 overall singles record and is 9-1 in dual-match play.

USC freshmen Danielle Lao and Valeria Pulido have been quick fits into the lineup for the Women of Troy. Lao has battled illness and injury and still stands strong for USC, holding a 15-7 overall singles record and is 4-4 playing at the No. 3 singles position. Pulido has a booming 20-5 overall singles mark, including a 10-2 dual-match record playing largely at the No. 4 slot.

Alison Ramos has leapt into the No. 2 singles position for the majority of USC's dual matches this year, and the sophomore has been holding strong at that competitive spot. She's toting an 18-10 overall singles record and is 7-3 in dual-match 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. She currently holds the most singles wins on the team with a 23-8 overall mark.

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