USC Women's Tennis Battles the Bruins|
Feb. 14, 2017
The No. 22 Women of Troy stay at home this week as crosstown rivals the No. 20 UCLA Bruins make their way from Westwood to Marks Stadium on Saturday, Feb. 18 for a match scheduled to begin at 12 p.m. While UCLA is within the Pac-12 conference, this match will not count towards conference standings. Conference play will begin on March 10 when USC takes on the California Golden Bears in Berkeley, Calif.
This weekend's match versus the UCLA Bruins will be featured on the Pac-12 Network Los Angeles. The broadcast will start at 12 p.m. beginning with doubles. Brian Webber and Justin Gimelstob will be on the call for Saturday's match.
ORACLE/ITA RANKINGS UPDATES
The ITA team rankings were updated on Feb. 15, and USC remains slated at No. 22. Four other Pac-12 teams remain in the ITA Top-25: No. 5 Stanford, No. 9 California, No. 17 Arizona State and No. 20 UCLA. The second set of individual rankings were released on Feb. 8. After proving she can handle her own against any player in the nation, junior Gabby Smith went from being previously unranked to the No. 25 singles player in the country. Sophomore Jessica Failla and senior Zoë Katz fell to No. 61 and No. 62, respectively. Failla was previously slated at No. 46, while Katz fell only six spots from No. 56. Finally, Madison Westby dropped to No. 82 in the singles rankings. In doubles, the duo of Katz/Westby took a massive leap from previously being tied for No. 27 to earning placement at No. 14. The pairing of Katz/Smith fell to No. 47, while the formerly unranked tandem of Failla/Valdes received a No. 55 ranking.
UCLA women's tennis is coming off a 5-2 victory over the San Diego Torreos, which was played on Sunday, Feb. 12. The Bruins are 5-1 on the season, with their only loss being at the hands of Georgia Tech (2-4 score). UCLA has two players nationally ranked in singles: No. 3 Ena Shibahara and No. 91 Jada Hart. Both Shibahara and Hart have been selected as Pac-12 Players of the Week, Hart on Jan. 30 Shibahara on Feb. 6. In doubles, Hart has two pairings that are in the national rankings: No. 12 Hart/Shibahara and No. 38 Hart/Flemming. The Trojans are 50-44 all-time against the Bruins with their most recent encounter resulting in a 4-1 win for the Trojans on April 17, 2016 in Marks Stadium.
The winner of this USC-UCLA women's tennis match scores 5 of the 10 points awarded for the sport in the Crosstown Cup, a trophy awarded annually to the school with the most successful athletic year against the other. Points are awarded to the winner of each Trojan-Bruin head-to-head contest and the Crosstown Cup will be awarded to the school with the most points at year's end (100 points is the magic number). USC has won the Crosstown Cup in 10 of the competition's 15 years, including the past 2015-16 season. Currently, UCLA leads this season's Crosstown Cup competition, 45-35 after USC won the head-to-head swim meet on Friday, Feb. 10.
Women of Troy had a dominating performance on Wednesday, Feb. 1 at Marks Stadium as they were victorious over the San Diego State Aztecs in a 7-0 sweep. This win improves USC's season record to 3-1.
The afternoon opened with doubles where the Women of Troy surged to a quick lead on every court. There were new pairings across the board as the Trojans played with some fresh lineups. Court two was the first to finish as USC's Failla/Smith defeated SDSU's Davis/Diaz de Regules 6-1. The battles on courts one and three were neck in neck, but USC's Kulikov/Valdes reached the finish line first defeating the Aztec pair of Valk/Smith 6-2. Seconds later, court one concluded its match with Trojans No. T27 Katz/Westby beating San Diego State's Buth/Lederman 6-2. By going undefeated in doubles, the Women of Troy were able to secure the first point of the day and enter singles with a 1-0 advantage.
Singles took off in a flash, and the Women of Troy began to sprint through their respective matches. USC's No. 52 Madison Westby concluded her match with a decisive 6-1, 6-1 win over SDSU's Mia Smith. Her doubles partner, No. 56 Zoë Katz was the next Trojan to claim a victory as she defeated Jana Buth 6-1, 6-2. Shortly thereafter, USC's Rianna Valdes beat Aztec Olivia Larsen 6-0, 6-3 to clinch the match for the Women of Troy. This was Valdes' second clincher of the season.
Although the Trojans had already won the match, the rest of the courts were played out. USC's No. 46 Jessica Failla had a swift victory over SDSU's Paola Diaz de Regules 6-1, 6-3 on court three. Minutes later, Gabby Smith defeated her Aztec opponent Kennedy Davis 6-0, 6-3. This victory increased Smith's win-streak to nine matches. Finally, USC's Angela Kulikov closed out the day by beating San Diego State's Marina Colvee 6-3, 6-0.
Due to unfortunate weather conditions, the women's tennis match versus top-ranked Florida that was originally scheduled for 1:30 p.m. on Friday (Feb. 3) was canceled due to unfortunate weather conditions. The match will not be rescheduled.
Junior Gabby Smith is currently riding a nine-match winning streak, which includes five ranked opponents. On Jan. 23, Smith was selected at the Pac-12 Player of the Week. She hopes to extend her streak this weekend.