USC Women’s Tennis Clashes with California

    Feb. 23, 2017

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    The Women of Troy travel up north to Berkeley, Calif. to take on the No. 18 California Golden Bears. USC will play Cal on Saturday, Feb. 25 at the Hellman Tennis Complex. Although Cal is in the Pac-12 conference, this match will not count towards conference standings. Conference play will begin on March 10 when the Golden Bears visit Los Angeles to face off in Marks Stadium.

    Both the team and singles/doubles Oracle/ITA rankings were updated on Feb. 21. This week’s rankings were the first computerized national women’s rankings of the 2017 season. As a team, USC moved down four spots to the No. 26 slot. Three Pac-12 programs remain in the nation’s Top-25: No. 9 UCLA, No. 18 Cal and No. 25 Stanford. In singles, the Trojans continue to boast four ladies in the national rankings: No. 33 Gabby Smith, No. 55 Jessica Failla, No. 80 Zoë Katz and No. 104 Madison Westby. As of this week, USC now has four Trojan pairs with national rankings. No. 21 Katz/Westby continue to lead the way, with No. 45 Failla/Valdes and No. 46 Katz/Smith close behind. New to the national doubles rankings is duo Kulikov/Westby who claim the No. 59 spot.

    For the second time this season, Gabby Smith has won Pac-12 Player of the Week Honors. This is Smith’s third nod all-time and second honor this season. The No. 33 ranked Smith continues to be the rock for the Trojans as she extended her winning streak to 10 straight matches this weekend by defeating Terri Fleming of UCLA 6-2, 4-6, 6-4.
In addition to her victory over Fleming, five of the opponents Smith has defeated are nationally ranked as well as being members of nationally ranked Top-25 teams.

    The Golden Bears are coming off a trip to the ITA National Women’s Team Indoor Championships in New Haven, Conn. where they fell 4-2 to the eventual runner-up and No. 2 team in the nation, North Carolina on Feb. 11. Cal opened the tournament on Feb. 10 with a 4-0 win over No. 13 Georgia Tech, and after tumbling to UNC, they lost in the consolation bracket to No. 6 Oklahoma State 4-2. The Golden Bears have three nationally ranked singles players: No. 23 Karla Popovic, No. 47 Maegan Manasse and No. 90 Olivia Hauger. In doubles, two Cal pairs are ranked: No. 25 Jansen/Manasse and No. 50 Hauger/Popovic.

    This week’s match can be viewed on the Hellman live stream at

    The No. 22 Women of Troy fought hard, but fell just short to the No. 20 UCLA Bruins 4-3 in Saturday’s match. With the loss, the Trojans’ record is now 3-2 overall on the season.

    The match was originally scheduled for 12 p.m. on Saturday (Feb. 18), but due to rain, it continued to get pushed later into the afternoon. Once the courts were dry, the match began at 3:45 p.m.

    On court one, UCLA’s No. 12 Hart/Shibahara took a quick lead over USC’s No. 14 Katz/Westby and blasted through to claim a win 6-0. Courts two and three continued to battle it out, but UCLA’s Fleming/Miller closed out their match first over Trojan duo Failla/Smith 6-2. Although Kulikov/Valdes were winning their match on court three versus UCLA’s Andrews/Wiley, the match was suspended with a score of 4-3.

    The Bruins entered the singles portion of the competition with a 1-0 advantage. Court one finished first as No. 3 Ena Shibahara defeated USC’s No. 62 Zoë Katz 6-1, 6-3. The other courts continued to grind it out playing with tight scores. On court five, UCLA’s Gabby Andrews beat USC’s No. 82 Madison Westby 6-3, 6-3 to increase the Bruins’ lead to 3-0.

    In true Trojan form, USC continued to fight on. Court three was the next to finish as Trojan No. 61 Jessica Failla was victorious over Bruin Alaina Miller 7-5, 6-2. Her win kept the USC in the match.

    After breezing through her first set 6-2, USC’s Rianna Valdes dropped the next two sets to UCLA’s No. 91 Jada Hart who would clinch the match for the Bruins with her scores of 6-2, 7-5 in sets two and three respectively.

    Although the Bruins had already won, the final two matches were played out. USC’s No. 25 Gabby Smith extended her winning streak to 10 matches as she captured the win over UCLA’s Terri Fleming 6-2, 4-6, 6-4. Finally, on court six, Trojan Angela Kulikov closed out the day on a positive note by outlasting UCLA’s Kristin Wiley 4-6, 6-3, 6-3.

    Now entering his 22nd season at Troy, USC women’s tennis head coach Richard Gallien has strung together 20 straight NCAA appearances for his Women of Troy, 19 top-20 team rankings, three trips to the NCAA Semifinals and seven to the NCAA Quarterfinals. Under Gallien’s watch, USC has finished in the top-20 for the past 18 years, and has 11 top-10 finishes in that span. Since 2005, four Women of Troy have been named conference Player of the Year, and Trojan doubles teams have been honored as Doubles Team of the Year three times.

    A five-time Pac-12 Coach of the Year and four-time ITA Region Coach of the Year — having swept those awards in 2015 — Gallien has compiled a 367-144 (.718) overall record at USC while holding a career record of 429-168 (.719) in his 23 seasons as a head coach, including three years with the Pepperdine men’s program [Due to NCAA penalty, 7 wins left undecided and 1 win became a loss; Original USC record: 375-143 (.724) and original career total: 437-167 (.724)].

    USC associate head coach West Nott enters his 10th season at USC, honored as the ITA West Region Assistant Coach of the Year with the Women of Troy in 2009 and 2015. He came to Troy after serving as a volunteer assistant with the Washington men’s program, following a successful collegiate playing career at Georgia Tech.

    Former USC ITA All-American and NCAA Women of the Year Finalist Zoë Scandalis will return to Troy as a volunteer assistant coach for the Trojans, head coach Richard Gallien has announced. The former Pac-12 Tom Hansen Conference Medal winner will work alongside Gallien and associate head coach West Nott.

    “We are really excited to have Zoë Scandalis joining us this season,” said Gallien. “Zoë is a tireless worker, loyal to our program and passionate about our current team. I feel like I’m always continuing to learn, so I look forward to getting Zoë’s perspective so I too can better help our team. Zoë may be young, but she is an old soul, and has wisdom beyond her years. We are certainly looking forward to working with her each and every day.”

    While at USC, Scandalis had a decorated list of accomplishments both on and off the court. She was a two-time ITA All-American, a two-time All-Pac-12 first team selection and a two-time All-Pac-12 second team honoree. She helped her teams to two NCAA Semifinal appearances, was selected as the 2014-15 team captain, was awarded the 2014 Female Trojan of the Year and was named the 2012 ITA National Player to Watch as a freshman. She set the record for Pac-12 Player of the Week honors as she collected six awards throughout her career. Scandalis was ranked at high as No. 7 in the nation in both singles and doubles, and went 108-48 in singles and 103-53 in doubles during her time at Troy.

    Off the court, Scandalis was the winner of an NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship. She was the 53rd Trojan recipient of this scholarship and the first women’s tennis player to earn the award. She also was a three-time Pac-12 All-Academic first team honoree and a 2014 Capital One Academic All-District team selection. In addition Scandalis was a 2014-15 Pac-12 Tom Hansen Conference Medal recipient. This award is issued to the top male and female senior student-athlete at each Pac-12 institution. The award recognizes the exhibition of the greatest combination of performance and achievement in scholarship, athletics and leadership.

    Upon graduation, Scandalis played professionally on the ITF Professional Tennis Circuit. Last year, she took a break from the professional tour to return home to fulfill a dream of applying to be a Rhodes Scholar. Late in 2016, Scandalis was selected as a Rhodes Scholar Finalist.

    The USC women’s tennis team had its NCAA path come to a close in Malibu as the No. 20 Trojans fell to No. 8 seeded host Pepperdine 4-2 in the NCAA Second Round. The loss wrapped up 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. The USC women have recorded a 72-33 all-time record in the NCAA Tournament and have made a remarkable 25 straight appearances, including three NCAA Semifinal trips in the last 11 seasons. 2016 senior Giuliana Olmos and her partner former sophomore Gabby Smith finished out their 2016 campaign ranked No. 6 in the nation in doubles, garnering All-American status for the two Women of Troy. They would go on to climb as high as No. 4 in the national doubles rankings, and earned a place in the NCAA Doubles Championships as a 5-8 seed. The duo compiled a 19-9 record together overall, and went 10-5 in dual matches along with a 4-0 mark in Pac-12 play.