Top-Seeded USC Women Blank Texas Tech In NCAA Round of 16|
May 15, 2015
WACO, TEXAS -- The top-seeded USC women's tennis team swept up a swift victory over No. 16 seed Texas Tech today, zipping through to a spot in the NCAA Quarterfinals with a 4-0 shutout of the Red Raiders at Hurd Tennis Center in Waco, Texas. Tonight's NCAA Round of 16 match saw the Women of Troy dig out the doubles point and then find a singles groove. The scoreboards were out of commission on the courts, but USC was unfazed and instead kept full focus on the finish line. Seniors Sabrina Santamaria and Zoë Scandalis powered the Trojans to a 3-0 lead to set up freshman Meredith Xepoleas for the clincher. The freshman's 20th consecutive singles win capped the 4-0 sweep for USC, which improved to 24-2 overall with the win. The Trojans will now face either No. 8 seeded host Baylor or No. 9 seed Virginia in the NCAA Quarterfinals at 4 p.m. CT on Sunday (May 17).
In doubles action, USC freshmen Gabby Smith and Madison Westby showed no NCAA fear as they pounded out a decisive win on court three. The freshman duo rang up a quick 8-3 win over Texas Tech's Dvorak/Jackson to give USC a crucial leg up in the match. At the No. 1 spot, USC's #24 Zoë Katz and Sabrina Santamaria slipped behind early and saw their comeback efforts fall short, taking an 8-4 loss to #34 Kilgo/Talabi to put the decider on court two. At that point, the No. 2 doubles battle was locked up at 4-4 after the Red Raiders managed a break. With all eyes on court two, though, USC's Giuliana Olmos and Zoë Scandalis kicked into gear and rattled off the next four games. Solid service games from both Olmos and Scandalis powered up the Trojans further down the stretch, as they cleaned up with an 8-4 win that pinned a 1-0 lead for USC on the scoreboard.
The scoreboards stayed blank on all courts throughout the match, causing confusion for fans trying to keep up. The players, however, kept a laser focus on their matches. USC seniors Sabrina Santamaria and Zoë Scandalis were in full force in their matches as the two veterans were in complete control. On court one, #24 Santamaria turned a tight start into full-fledged domination against Texas Tech's #71 Kenna Kilgo. Santamaria's head of steam gathered up a 6-3, 6-1 victory that put USC ahead 2-0 in the match. Moments later, fellow senior #38 Scandalis stayed the course and tacked up a smooth 6-1, 6-1 win over Sarah Dvorak on court three. That tugged the Trojans within reach of the sweep, prompting freshman Meredith Xepoleas to kick into winning gear. It's a familiar mode for the #79 freshman, who cranked out her 20th consecutive singles win in beating Katelyn Jackson 7-5, 6-1 on court six to bring the match to a close as a 4-0 USC sweep of Texas Tech. That suspended action for Giuliana Olmos, Madison Westby and Gabby Smith on courts two, four and five, respectively.
The victory puts the Women of Troy into the NCAA Quarterfinals after a two-year absence. USC reached the Semifinals in 2012, but was ousted in the Round of 16 in 2013 and 2014. The top seed in the NCAA draw this season -- for the first time since 1985 -- the Trojans will now face either No. 8 seeded host Baylor or No. 9 seed Virginia in the Quarterfinals at 4 p.m. CT on Sunday (May 17).
2015 NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS (Hurd Tennis Center Waco, Texas)
Round of 16