No. 17 USC Women Grab Key Pac-10 Win Over No. 21 ASU

April 9, 2010

LOS ANGELES, CALIF. - The No. 17 USC women's tennis team avenged an earlier loss to Arizona State by turning the tables on the Sun Devils with a string of straight-set victories to pin up a quick 5-2 victory over the visiting No. 21 Sun Devils on Friday afternoon at Marks Stadium. In contrast to the last match, which was replete with three-set singles battles, today's Pac-10 clash saw the Women of Troy roll out to a 4-1 lead thanks to straight-set wins from Danielle Lao, Alison Ramos and Maria Sanchez. The victory improves the Trojans' overall record to 12-7 and bumps their Pac-10 mark to 4-1 with the conference race heating up. ASU moves to 12-4, 4-2.

The Women of Troy pulled ahead early in the match by snagging the doubles point with a couple tight comeback wins. On court one, Fansler/Kinstler dipped into a 2-0 hole to start before winning the next three games to take the lead over ASU's Brycki/Smith. The match was later locked up 5-5, but the Trojans took over as Lyndsay Kinstler held serve and USC got a break next to set up Sarah Fansler for the winning service game to tack up an 8-5 win for USC. Meanwhile, on court one, USC's #46/Lao/Sanchez got down a break and fell behind 5-3 to ASU's Abdala/Hein before rallying back. Danielle Lao held serve next and USC broke the Sun Devils on their next trip to the service line. Maria Sanchez stepped up to hold serve in a USC comeback in the next game, and the Trojans were up 6-5. ASU got it to 6-6, but Lao and Sanchez stayed in control to bring home the 8-6 win and secure the doubles point for USC. On court two, USC's Pulido/Ramos took a late break to trail 7-8 before answering back to force a deciding tiebreak. The doubles point was clinched early in the tiebreak from court one, while ASU's Brown/McKenna pulled ahead in the tiebreaker to pocket a 9-8 (3) decision that pushed the match into singles action.

Singles play had some rematches on tap from the last USC-ASU match that the Sun Devils had claimed 4-3 down in Tempe last month in a match replete with three-set battles. At No. 3, #30 Danielle Lao was up against a new opponent in facing Nadia Abdala today, but the freshman put the memory of a three-set loss to Kelcy McKenna behind her as the USC freshman peeled out ahead of Abdala and tacked up a 6-3, 6-2 win to lift USC ahead 2-0. On court five, USC's Sarah Fansler was again up against ASU's Michelle Brycki, and the Sun Devil got another win over the Trojan senior with a 6-3, 6-4 victory that closed the gap to a 2-1 USC edge.

At the top two slots, USC's #2 Maria Sanchez and #26 Alison Ramos made sure to avoid the three-set marathons they fought through in their last face-offs at ASU. Ramos squared off against ASU's #80 Kelcy McKenna and rambled to a 6-3, 6-1 victory from court two that made it a 3-1 USC advantage. On court one, Sanchez was in a rematch with Micaela Hein, whom Sanchez edged out in a three-setter last month. This time, Sanchez jumped ahead early in the set and then held strong in the second, winning the last three games to tack up a 6-1, 6-3 victory to clinch the win for the Women of Troy.

That left matches still underway on courts four and six. At No. 4, USC's #103 freshman Valeria Pulido was facing off against ASU's Hannah James for the second time this year, after James had pulled out a three-set win over Pulido. In today's rematch, Pulido had the power and the control, as the freshman put the finishing touches on her 6-4, 6-3 victory over James by shutting out her Sun Devil opponent to steal one last break. At No. 6, ASU's Sianna Simmons was able to ward off USC's Lyndsay Kinstler's work to extend her match and get one final point for the Sun Devils with a 6-4, 6-4 decision that left things as a 5-2 USC victory.

USC is now set to play its final regular-season home match tomorrow (April 10) against Arizona at 12 p.m. at Marks Stadium.

#17 USC 5, #21 Arizona State 2
April 9, 2010 - Marks Stadium
(1) #46 Lao/Sanchez (USC) def. Abdala/Hein (ASU) - 8-6
(2) Brown/McKenna (ASU) def. Pulido/Ramos (USC) - 9-8 (3)
(3) Fansler/Kinstler (USC) def. Brycki/Smith (ASU) - 8-5
USC wins doubles point.
Order of finish: 3, 1, 2
(1) #2 Maria Sanchez (USC) def. Micaela Hein (ASU) - 6-1, 6-3*
(2) #26 Alison Ramos (USC) def. #80 Kelcy McKenna (ASU) - 6-3, 6-1
(3) #30 Danielle Lao (USC) def. Nadia Abdala (ASU) - 6-3, 6-2
(4) #103 Valeria Pulido (USC) def. Hannah James (ASU) - 6-4, 6-3
(5) Michelle Brycki (ASU) def. Sarah Fansler (USC) - 6-3, 6-4
(6) Sianna Simmons (ASU) def. Lyndsay Kinstler (USC) - 6-4, 6-4
Order of finish: 3, 5, 2, 1*, 4, 6

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