No. 9 USC Women Face No. 42 UC Irvine In Laguna Niguel

    Laguna Niguel native Brynn Boren heads home for Saturday's match!

    Feb. 12, 2014

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    The No. 9 USC women's tennis team has a much more manageable travel schedule this week. Having scratched the cross-country adventures of last week's ITA National Team Indoors off the list, the Women of Troy settle back in-state for the rest of the month. This weekend, the Trojans will journey down to Laguna Niguel for a matchup against No. 42 UC Irvine. USC (4-2) will play the Anteaters at 11 a.m. at the Laguna Niguel Racquet Club on Saturday (Feb. 15).

    The Women of Troy opened 2014 ranked No. 5 in the nation, and the latest rankings now have USC listed at No. 9 in the land as of Feb. 11. The latest individual rankings of 2014 also went up on Feb. 11, with five Women of Troy locked into the national singles scene and three Trojan doubles duos still on the list. Junior Sabrina Santamaria leads the charge in singles as the No. 26 player in the nation. Also locked into the top-100 for USC are No. 50 Zoë Scandalis and No. 99 Giuliana Olmos, with No. 118 Brynn Boren and No. 123 Gabriella DeSimone also in the rankings. USC's doubles teams are a daunting group. The Trojans also boast two top-10 teams as well as the defending NCAA champions. A new Trojan pairing of senior transfer Boren and freshman Zoë Katz now weigh in at No. 8, while junior duo Olmos and Zoë Scandalis have jumped up to No. 4 in the land. And 2013 NCAA champs Kaitlyn Christian and Sabrina Santamaria continue their 2014 campaign now ranked No. 26.

    The No. 42 Anteaters enter the week 2-3 overall with a Thursday matchup against Cal State Fullerton on tap before taking on the Trojans on Saturday. Last week, UC Irvine beat San Diego State 4-0. The Anteaters have no ranked singles players or doubles teams. USC is a perfect 31-0 all-time against UC Irvine, with three more wins coming last season against the Anteaters as USC beat UCI 7-0 in the 2013 season opener, 4-0 in the ITA Kick-Off Weekend and then 4-0 in the NCAA Second Round.

    USC went 1-2 last week at the ITA National Team Indoor Championships in Charlottesville, Va. The Trojans opened the competition with an impressive comeback win, beating No. 12 Alabama 4-3 on Ellie Yates' clincher from court six in the Round of 16. That moved USC into the quarterfinals the next day, where the Women of Troy had a face-off against crosstown rival UCLA in a battle of the fourth- and fifth-seeded teams. The No. 4 seeded Bruins would prove stronger on that day, beating USC 4-0 to move on while the Trojans went to a consolation match against top seeded Florida. USC got the doubles point in that one -- having dropped the first point of the previous two matches in the tourney -- but the highly ranked Gators singles players held their ground and wrapped up a 4-1 win over the Trojans.

    USC junior Giuliana Olmos was near unstoppable on both the doubles and singles courts at the ITA Kick-Off Weekend. She lost no more than two games per set in her two singles wins, and swept up two doubles shutout wins as the Women of Troy punched their ticket to the ITA National Team Indoor Championships with a pair of 4-0 wins at the ITA Kick-Off. Playing at the No. 3 singles spot, Olmos topped Valenzuela of North Texas 6-1, 6-2 on day one and then pounded Saint Mary's Kaur 6-0, 6-1 on the second day for another USC win. And playing with Zoë Scandalis on the doubles courts, Olmos pitched two perfect matches with 6-0 sweeps against both opponents at the No. 2 doubles spot.

    The big winners at the 2014 Freeman Memorial were Trojan doubles duo Giuliana Olmos and Zoë Scandalis, who streaked to the title match, where the Women of Troy took down a UCLA pair in the championship bout on Jan. 22. Olmos and Scandalis were the No. 3 seeded pair in the tourney. Ranked #7 in the nation, the Trojans lived up to their billing, registering solid wins in their first two matches before pulling off a 7-5 win in the semis to move into the title match. There, Olmos/Scandalis squared off against UCLA's Harrison/McPhillips, and the Trojans took care of business with a 6-4 victory that planted the championship trophy in the hands of Olmos and Scandalis.

    The 2014 Trojans boast a strong group of returning talent, having graduated All-American Danielle Lao as well as Valeria Pulido from last year's squad. Reinforcements have come up big for the Women of Troy, however, with newcomers Brynn Boren and Zoë Katz teamed up as the nation's No. 3 doubles pair for 2014 -- their first season as Trojans. A second USC duo -- Giuliana Olmos and Zoë Scandalis -- also stand tall in the top-10 with a No. 7 doubles ranking to start the year. USC's defending NCAA doubles champions Kaitlyn Christian and Sabrina Santamaria will open their defense of that 2013 title with a No. 33 ranking for 2014. All-American Santamaria also sits atop the USC women's singles ladder as the No. 13 ranked singles player in the nation. Junior Giuliana Olmos is locked in at No. 60 in the singles standings, joined in the top-100 by fellow Women of Troy Gabriella DeSimone at No. 80 and senior newcomer and All-American Brynn Boren at No. 96. Boren and Christian are USC's two standout seniors this season, both holding All-American honors during their careers. This past summer, several Women of Troy teamed up to win a bronze medal for Team USA at the World University Games. Santamaria claimed a silver medal in singles to help her teammates Christian, DeSimone and Ellie Yates bring home hardware from Russia. In all, USC boasts four ITA All-Americans on its 2014 roster in Boren, Christian, Santamaria and Scandalis. USC head coach Richard Gallien has also added transfer Paige Keating to the roster.

    USC junior Sabrina Santamaria played a key role in continuing the USA's winning tradition at the Master'U BNP Paribas Championships in France. The Trojan world traveler, who won silver in singles out at the World University Games in Russia this past summer, teamed up with collegiate players from around the nation for competition in Aix-en-Provence, France, against college-age athletes from Belgium, China, France, Germany, Great Britain, Ireland and Russia. In the USA's first match against Ireland, Santamaria teamed up with UVA's Mitchell Frank for a mixed-doubles victory that countered a three-set singles loss taken by Santamaria to Ireland's Sinead Lohan. The U.S. squad would take down Ireland 6-1 in that quarterfinal match and move on to play host France in the semifinals the next day. There, Santamaria ripped through Anais Van Cauter with a smooth 6-2, 6-1 win that helped propel the USA to another 6-1 victory. And in the final, Santamaria and her USA teammates shut out Russia 7-0 to claim the United States' third straight championship at the tournament. Santamaria, who ranks as the nation's No. 1 singles player and half of the No. 1 doubles team, was joined by UCLA's Robin Anderson and Georgia's Lauren Herring as the U.S. women on this year's trip to France. On the men's side, UCLA's Marcos Giron, Ohio State's Peter Kobelt and Virginia's Mitchell Frank rounded out the USA contingent for the Master'U competition. Santamaria follows in the footsteps of several other standout Trojans to make the venture to France for Master'U action. USC's Steve Johnson,Daniel Nguyen and Maria Sanchez have also represented Team USA in the past and helped win titles for the United States in past years.

    The Women of Troy finished up the 2013 season as Pac-12 Champions and ranked No. 6 in the nation after a 23-3 mark that saw them reach the NCAA Round of 16, where USC was ousted by eventual national champ Stanford. Dynamic doubles duo Kaitlyn Christian and Sabrina Santamaria finished off a triple crown on the season when they added the 2013 NCAA Doubles Championship to the ITA/Riviera All-American and ITA National Indoor doubles crowns they had also picked up along the way.