USC Women Win Wild One Over Washington

March 26, 2010

LOS ANGELES, CALIF. - The No. 21 USC women's tennis team captured a dramatic Pac-10 win over visiting No. 19 Washington on Friday afternoon, staving off Husky hopes of a comeback thanks to heroic three-set wins from Sarah Fansler and Maria Sanchez. The Women of Troy were clinging to a 3-2 lead as Sanchez fought off match point and Fansler shrugged off a tough loss in her second set to refocus on the task at hand. Fansler battled back to clinch the win for USC, while #3 Sanchez passed up #15 Venise Chan to close out the victory. The Trojans improve to 10-6 overall and go to 2-0 in Pac-10 play, while Washington moves to 9-3, 1-2.

Doubles action made for an exciting start to the match, with a couple new pairings for the Women of Troy. Both duos partnered up to great success, as Valeria Pulido and Alison Ramos teamed for an 8-5 win over Chan/Smith, pulling out of a 3-4 hole and then answering a 5-5 tie with three straight wins to claim the first victory of the day. Meanwhile, on court three, Sarah Fansler and Lyndsay Kinstler rallied from a 3-6 deficit with a winning run to clinch the point. Fansler held serve twice in the stretch, and Kinstler once while the Women of Troy broke their UW opponents Malovic/Xu on two more occasions to claim the 8-6 comeback win and make it 1-0 USC in the match. Teaming up for the first time on court one was Danielle Lao and Maria Sanchez, who were engaged in a tight battle with Washington's #11 Ardies/Dy. The Trojans went down a break late in the match, trailing 5-6 before answering with a break and a hold from Sanchez and then one last break to pin up the upset win with an 8-6 decision that brought up singles action for the teams.

Washington was responsible for ending USC's season last year in the NCAA Tournament, and USC's first step toward redemption this year came in capturing that elusive doubles point. Sanchez' win over Chan in today's match finale was another mark of revenge, as Chan had edged Sanchez 6-4, 3-6, 7-6 (2) during that NCAA clash, making the Trojan's ability to outlast Chan another bright spot on the day for USC.

The Trojans had moved out to a 3-1 lead in the match, but things were getting tense as action progressed on courts one, five and six. Washington had shaken things up with #6 Denise Dy's 6-0, 6-0 win over #20 Alison Ramos on court two for the Huskies' first point of the day. USC freshmen Valeria Pulido and Danielle Lao gave the Trojans a lift to take that 3-1 lead with #82 Pulido's 6-0, 6-0 win over Samantha Smith in the No. 4 position and #32 Lao's 6-0, 6-4 win over Lina Xu at the No. 3 slot.

Washington closed the gap to 3-2 as Aleksandra Malovic beat Leyla Entekhabi 6-1, 6-2 on court six. On court one, #2 Sanchez actually got down match point to #15 Chan after getting broken to trail 5-6. Sanchez fought it off, however, and broke Chan back to force a second-set tiebreaker, in which the Trojan rallied to bring up a third set. After Chan took a break for medical attention to her ankle, she came back to pull the set even 2-2. Sanchez dug deep from there, however, and was charging toward victory as her teammate Fansler was staging a similarly impressive comeback on court five. After pulling off a 7-5 win in the first set, Fansler was forced on her heels by Joyce Ardies and lost the second 0-6. Fansler would trail 1-3 and 2-4 in the third, but would not be deterred. The senior rattled off a push to tie it and even fought off a 4-5 deficit in the third before digging in and firing ahead with three straight wins to claim her victory 7-5, 0-6, 7-5 and clinch the match for USC.

Meanwhile, Sanchez was putting some space between herself and Chan on court one, as the junior rambled ahead of Chan and notched a 3-6, 7-6 (2), 6-2 comeback win to top off the match for USC.

USC now turns to host Washington State in another Pac-10 match tomorrow (March 27) at 12 p.m. at Marks Stadium.

#21 USC 5, #19 Washington 2
March 22, 2010 - Marks Stadium
(1) Lao/Sanchez (USC) def. #11 Ardies/Dy (UW) - 8-6
(2) Pulido/Ramos (USC) def. Chan/Smith (UW) - 8-5
(3) Fansler/Kinstler (USC) def. Malovic/Xu (UW) - 8-6
USC wins doubles point.
Order of finish: 2, 3, 1
(1) #3 Maria Sanchez (USC) def. #15 Venise Chan (UW) - 3-6, 7-6 (3), 6-2
(2) #6 Denise Dy (UW) def. #20 Alison Ramos (USC) - 6-0, 6-0
(3) #32 Danielle Lao (USC) def. Lina Xu (UW) - 6-0, 6-4
(4) #82 Valeria Pulido (USC) def. Samantha Smith (UW) - 6-0, 6-0
(5) Sarah Fansler (USC) def. Joyce Ardies (UW) - 7-5, 0-6, 7-5*
(6) Aleksandra Malovic (UW) def. Leyla Entekhabi (USC) - 6-1, 6-2
Order of finish: 2, 4, 3, 6, 5*, 1

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