USC Women Host No. 4 Michigan|
March 1, 2017
The USC women’s tennis team (3-3) returns home to Marks Stadium to take on No. 4 Michigan on Friday (March 3) at 1:30 p.m.
ORACLE/ITA RANKINGS UPDATES
On February 28, the Oracle/ITA team rankings were updated, dropping the Trojans six spots to No. 32 after their 6-1 loss to California last Saturday (Feb. 25). Four Pac-12 programs are currently in the nation’s Top-25: No. 7 California, No. 16 Stanford, No. 21 UCLA and entering the top-25 this week is No. 25 Washington. The singles/doubles rankings were updated on Feb. 21, and were the first computerized rankings of the 2017 season. 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.
The No. 4 Michigan Wolverines are coming off a 7-0 victory over Baylor as they improved their record to 7-2 overall. This Friday’s match will be the first time Michigan plays outdoors this season. The Wolverines have been in Los Angeles all week for their spring break trip and have been practicing in Marks Stadium. Michigan features four ranked singles players in No. 21 Kate Fahey, No. 26 Brienne Minor, No. 108 Alex Najarian and No. 125 Chiara Lommer. In doubles, the Wolverines boast the No. 1 ranked duo in the country, No. 1 Fahey/Najarian. This tandem has won six-straight matches and are 18-2 overall this season. The duo of Minor/Ruder-Hook are also nationally ranked at No. 28.
This week’s match can be viewed from USC’s PlaySight stream available at USCTrojans.com.
The No. 26 Women of Troy came up short against No. 18 California as they lost 6-1 on Saturday (Feb. 25) in Berkeley, Calif. USC moved to 3-3 overall with the loss.
The Golden Bears opened up the afternoon with a doubles win as Cal’s Jansen/Starr defeated USC’s No. 21 Katz/Westby 6-4. The Trojans reciprocated with a win of their own when USC’s duo of Kulikov/Smith were victorious over Cal’s Lin/Nelson 6-3. In a tight battle on court two, USC’s Failla/Valdes fell in a tiebreak to the No. 50 Golden Bear pair of Hauger/Popovic 7-6 (3).
Cal entered the singles portion of the competition with a 1-0 advantage. On court two, Cal would increase its lead to 2-0 as Denise Starr beat USC’s No. 80 Zoë Katz 6-2, 6-0. California captured another point on court five as Golden Bear Maria Smith defeated USC’s Angela Kulikov 6-1, 6-1.
Cal’s Maya Jansen clinched the match for the Golden Bears as she seized a win over Trojan Rianna Valdes 6-4, 6-3. Although the match was already clinched, the remaining courts were played out. Court one would be next to finish as USC’s No. 33 Gabby Smith lost to Cal’s No.23 Karla Popovic 7-6 (5), 6-1, ending her 10-match winning streak. USC’s No. 55 Jessica Failla provided the Trojans with their only win of the day in singles play as she outlasted Cal’s No. 90 Olivia Hauger. After winning the first set 6-3, Failla lost the second set 3-6 to Hauger. A tiebreaker to 10-points was played and Failla prevailed to nab the set and the match with a close score of 10-8.
Cal closed out the day with a win on court six as Stephane Lin beat USC’s Sydney Van Alphen 7-6 (7), 4-6, 1-0 (8).
While California is a Pac-12 team, this match did not count towards conference standings as the Women of Troy will have the opportunity to face the Golden Bears again on March 10 at home in Marks Stadium as they open up conference play.
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.
SCANDALIS JOINS COACHING STAFF
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 awarded 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.