No. 20 USC Women Fall Short Of NCAA Upset At No. 8 Pepperdine

    May 14, 2016

    MALIBU, CALIF. — The No. 20 USC women’s tennis team had its NCAA path come to a close in Malibu today, falling to No. 8 seeded host Pepperdine 4-2 in the NCAA Second Round. The loss wraps the Trojans’ 2016 season with a 13-6 overall record, having reached the NCAA Tournament for the 25th consecutive year and coming off a runner-up finish in the Pac-12 Conference race. Two Women of Troy will play on in the postseason, with senior Giuliana Olmos lined up for NCAA Singles action along with doubles competition alongside sophomore teammate Gabby Smith. The two Trojans will next head to Tulsa, Okla., for NCAA Individual action running May 25-30.

    In today’s NCAA Second Round clash, USC faced off against No. 8 seed Pepperdine for the second time this year, looking to avenge an early-season loss to the Waves. The Trojans got a leg up in this one by snagging the doubles point with wins on courts one and three. After Pepperdine’s #17 pairing of Maddox/Cutura topped USC’s #83 duo of Zoë Katz and Madison Westby, USC responded with a rallying cry. At the top spot, USC’s #6-ranked Olmos/Smith posted a 6-4 win over Pepperdine’s #26 Stefani/Runglerdkriangkrai. That left the decider on court three, where USC’s #87 freshman pairing of Jessica Failla and Rianna Valdes pulled off a 6-4 win over Milovanovic/Gulbe to tack up a 1-0 advantage for the Trojans. 

    In singles, the Waves rolled up a string of three wins to take back the lead. Pepperdine’s top gun, #6 Luisa Stefani, grabbed a win over USC’s #27 senior Olmos to make it 1-1, and then Matea Cutura beat USC’s Failla on court five to take Pepperdine to a 2-1 lead. At the No. 3 spot, Wave Laura Gulbe worked her way to a 6-1, 7-5 victory over USC’s #117 sophomore Madison Westby, and Pepperdine had a 3-1 advantage on the board. The Trojans would keep at it to close the gap, though. On court four, USC sophomore Gabby Smith made a winning move to notch USC’s first singles win of the day with a 6-4, 6-4 win over Apichaya Runglerdkriangkrai, cutting the deficit down to 3-2. With a three-setter raging on court six and a tight one on court three. USC freshman #119 Valdes was at work on a third-set comeback push when Pepperdine was able to close things down with a finish on court three where Dzina Milovanovic managed a 7-6 (5), 6-3 win over USC junior Zoë Katz. That got the Waves a 4-2 victory to take the ticket to Tulsa. 

    The USC women have now recorded a 72-33 all-time record in the NCAA Tournament and has made a remarkable 25 straight appearances, including three NCAA Semifinal trips in the last 11 seasons.

    2016 NCAA SECOND ROUND (Malibu, Calif.)

    #8 Pepperdine 4, #20 USC 2
    May 14, 2016 - Ralphs-Straus Tennis Center (Malibu, Calif.)
    (1) #6 Olmos/Smith (USC) def. #26 Stefani/Runglerdkriangkrai (PEP) – 6-4
    (2) #19 Maddox/Cutura (PEP) def. #83 Katz/Westby (USC) – 6-3
    (3) #87 Failla/Valdes (USC) def. Milovanovic/Gulbe (PEP) – 6-4
    Order of finish: 2, 1, 3
    (1) #6 Luisa Stefani (PEP) def. #27 Giuliana Olmos (USC) – 6-1, 6-0
    (2) Laura Gulbe (PEP) def. #117 Madison Westby (USC) – 6-1, 7-5
    (3) Dzina Milovanovic (PEP) def. Zoë Katz (USC) – 7-6 (5), 6-3
    (4) Gabby Smith (USC)  def. Apichaya Runglerdkriangkrai (PEP) -  6-4, 6-4
    (5) Matea Cutura (PEP) vs. Jessica Failla (USC) – 6-1, 6-0
    (6) Michaela Capannolo (PEP) vs. #119 Rianna Valdes (USC) – 6-4, 3-6, 0-1 susp.
    Order of finish: 1, 5, 2, 4, 3*