No. 11 USC Women Host No. 1 Cal In Nonconference Clash On Friday

    Zoë Katz and the Trojans host the Golden Bears on Friday at Marks Stadium.
    Feb. 17, 2016

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    The No. 11 Women of Troy are back home at Marks Stadium this week to host No. 1 California in a nonconference clash. USC (3-2) are due to take on the Golden Bears in a 1:30 p.m. match on Friday (Feb. 19).

    The Women of Troy -- NCAA semifinalists in 2015 -- started the new year right where they left off, as the No. 2 team in the land in the first team rankings of 2016. In the latest round of national rankings (Feb. 17), USC currently ranks No. 11 as a team. In the latest set of individual rankings (Feb. 10), USC has five Trojans locked in with singles rankings. Senior Giuliana Olmos continues to lead the way, now ranked #38 in the nation. She's followed by two sophomores -- #62 Madison Westby and #87 Gabby Smith -- and two freshmen -- #90 Rianna Valdes and #95 Jessica Failla. In doubles, USC boasts the #11 pair in the land in Olmos and Smith, while Smith also enjoys a #23 doubles ranking with Failla.

    The No. 1 Golden Bears are 6-0 to start the season after capturing their first-ever ITA Indoor Championship with a 4-3 win over No. 2 North Carolina. Cal opened the event with a 4-0 win over Wisconsin and went on to beat Virginia 4-0 and Ohio State 4-3 to reach the title match. The Golden Bears have four players nationally ranked in singles: #5 Klara Fabikova, #13 Maegan Manasse, #102 Olivia Hauger and #121 Denise Starr. In doubles, Cal has #2 Manasse/Starr ranked nationally. USC is 40-33 all-time against the Golden Bears after tacking up two 4-3 wins over Cal last season.

    USC's last competition took the Trojans to Florida for two matches in Gainesville. Against USF on Feb. 6, the Women of Troy made itself right at home on the other side of the country  in pinning up a 6-1 win over the Bulls. The Trojans followed up a sweep in doubles with a string of three consecutive singles wins to lock down the victory. After rain forced the teams indoors to play out the match on three courts, the Trojans flexed their doubles muscle to kick things off and build momentum and confidence for singles. Jessica Failla and Zoë Katz stepped up first and delivered a 6-2 win from court two to set things off. USC's top guns on court one, #4 Giuliana Olmos and Gabby Smith, posted a 6-3 win over USF's Chaves/Martinez to secure the first point of the day, while Rianna Valdes and Madison Westby kept up the winning trend with a 6-3 victory on court three to send the teams on to singles action.  At the No. 1 spot, USC's #42 Giuliana Olmos was on cruise control for a 6-3, 6-2 win over Olga Martinez to make it a 2-0 Trojan advantage. On court three, Gabby Smith was in similarly strong form as she followed up a tight first set with a blazing path to a 7-5, 6-1 fins victory over Jessica Chaves to set up her team for a clincher. On court two, #49 Madison Westby answered the call. She would regroup after stumbling in the first set and finished off her match decisively, beating Ana Roman Dominguez 2-6, 6-4, 6-0 to lock in on the clinching win for her team.  The Bulls would get on the board when Rianna Valdes retired from her match on court five, but USC went on to carve a clean path to the finish line with two more straight-set victories. At the No. 4 spot, #76 Jessica Failla whipped up a 6-4, 6-4 win over Juliana Cardosa to make it 5-1 Trojans, and then #114 Zoë Katz had the last word of the day with a swift 6-3, 6-2 win over Nicole Dzenga on court six to end things as a 6-1 USC win. The following day, USC went up against a powerful No. 3 Florida squad. The highly ranked Gators held court on their home courts and managed a 7-0 sweep of the visiting Women of Troy. Ranked at every position on the lineup, the Gators were able to maneuver ahead of the Trojans early. In an epic battle on court one, Florida's #5 pairing of Austin/Keegan was able to fend off USC's #4 dup of Giuliana Olmos and Gabby Smith 6-4. At the No. 2 spot, Florida's #15 Kuhlman/Woolcock topped USC's Jessica Failla and Zoë Katz 6-4 to send the teams on through to singles play with the Gators up 1-0. Florida got another step ahead with a win from court six, where #110 Anna Danilina nabbed a 6-2, 6-0 win over USC's #48 freshman Rianna Valdes. The Gators got up 3-0 next when #56 Josie Kuhlman topped #49 Madison Westby 6-4, 6-1. At the top spot, USC's top gun #42 Giuliana Olmos had a tough draw against #11 Brooke Austin. A tight first set saw the Gator pull off the tiebreaker, and Olmos would fall behind in the second to take a 7-6 (3), 6-4 loss that clinched the win for the Gators. Florida's higher ranked players would stand their ground in the next three matches. On court four, #25 Kourtney Keegan got out ahead of USC's #76 Jessica Failla for a 6-2, 6-4 decision that gave Florida a 5-0 advantage. Next, Florida's #3 Belinda Woolcock tallied a 6-4, 6-3 win over USC sophomore Gabby Smith, and then the match would wrap up on #51 Brianna Morgan's 3-6, 6-3, 7-5 comeback win over USC's #114 Zoë Katz on court five.

    The USC men's and women's tennis teams have called the David X. Marks Tennis Stadium home since its construction in 1971. This year, Trojan tennis will move back into a revamped and renovated home that is up-to-date and in line with the impressive accomplishments of both programs. The courts have been open for action throughout construction, and a ribbon-cutting and dedication for the new facility was held on Feb. 16 to officially unveil the newest additions to the Marks Tennis Stadium -- the Buntmann Family Tennis Center, Fritz B. Burns Center Court, Lisa and Douglas Goldman Family Student-Athlete Learning Center and Michael Uytengsu Tennis Pavilion -- the happy home of the USC men's and women's tennis teams. The Buntmann Family Tennis Center entrance and lobby will welcome fans and visitors and put on display the rich history of USC tennis. To improve the building functionality and support the tennis program operations, the new Lisa and Douglas Goldman Family Student-Athlete Learning Studio will support direct collaboration between coaches, staff and athletes on a daily basis. The teams will be able to utilize and enjoy brand-new suites with lockers, showers, team meeting rooms and lounges. Both teams will have access to a new training room, a stringing storage area and a large multi-purpose room. To better accommodate and enhance the spectator experience, new spectator shade canopies will be added, a new elevator to the seating area will be installed. In addition to the lead gift from the Buntmann family, the renovation has been made possible thanks to financial support from the Lisa and Douglas Goldman family, the Fritz B. Burns Foundation, John Shea and Michael Uytengsu.

    The 2015 Women of Troy had a banner season in earning their first #1 national ranking in over a decade and working their way to the NCAA Semifinals for the  second time in four seasons. USC's 25-3 final overall record marked the most wins by the program since USC won the NCAA title in 1985 and the most wins in head coach Richard Gallien's 20-year tenure with the program. The Trojans also went undefeated in Pac-12 play in 2015 to win another conference title, and worked its way to the top of the national rankings for the first time since 2003. USC also was seeded No. 1 in the 2015 NCAA draw -- the Trojans' 24th consecutive trip to the tournament -- entering the tourney as the top seed for the first time since 1985, when USC last won a national championship. In all, it was an outstanding season for the Women of Troy, who were a balanced mix of veteran strength and freshman talent. For seniors Gabriella DeSimoneSabrina Santamaria and Zoë Scandalis, the year marked their second NCAA Semifinal appearance, having reached that round as freshmen in 2012. Santamaria and junior Giuliana Olmos both picked up ITA All-American honors at the close of the season. Scandalis would go on to earn high honors as a top-9 finalist for the NCAA Woman of the Year awards. • 
    March 21, 2015
    Marks Stadium