USC Women Take on Baylor in Indian Wells, Then Travel to Oregon|
March 15, 2017
The No. 32 USC women’s tennis team (4-5) take a quick break from conference play to travel to Indian Wells, Calif. for a neutral-site faceoff against No. 16 Baylor. That match is set for 7 p.m. on Friday (March 17). Upon leaving the desert, the Women of Troy will travel to a cooler climate as the team makes its way to Eugene, Ore. to take on the No. 35 Oregon Ducks in a Pac-12 match on Sunday (March 19) at noon.
ORACLE/ITA RANKINGS UPDATES
On March 14, the Oracle/ITA team rankings were updated, dropping the Women of Troy 11 spots to No. 32 after their two losses to California and Stanford last weekend (March 10 and 11, respectively). Three Pac-12 programs are currently in the nation’s Top 25: No. 4 Stanford, No. 12 California and No. 20 UCLA. The singles/doubles rankings were updated on March 7. Junior Gabby Smith increased her position by eight as she secured the No. 25 ranking. Sophomore Jessica Failla improved her ranking as well and was slotted at No. 38 (improved from No. 55). She is currently on a five-match winning streak, the longest on the team. Senior Zoë Katz dropped from No. 80 to No. 88, and junior Madison Westby fell from No. 104 to No. 113. In doubles, USC continues to boast four pairs in the national rankings. No. 21 Katz/Smith lead the way, with No. 64 Kulikov/Westby, No. 75 Failla/Valdes and No. 78 Katz/Westby also earning acknowledgment in the national rankings.
Baylor opened Big-12 conference play last weekend as they lost 4-1 to Oklahoma State in Stillwater, Okla. on Thursday (March 9), but claimed a 4-0 win over Oklahoma in Norman, Okla. on Friday (March 10). The Lady Bears boast two nationally ranked singles players in No. 11 Blair Shankle and No. 110 Rhiann Newborn. They also have one pair nationally ranked in doubles, No. 22 Profit/Shankle. Baylor is 11-4 overall and 1-1 in the Big-12 Conference. USC trails 3-4 all-time against the Lady Bears. In Baylor’s last meeting with USC, the Trojans came out victorious 4-0 in Indian Wells, Calif. in March 2016.
The No. 35 Ducks are coming off a big opening weekend of conference play. After defeating Washington 4-3 on Friday (March 10) and Washington State 4-0 on Saturday (March 11), Oregon is 8-5 overall and 2-0 in Pac-12 conference play. Their win over previously ranked No. 25 Washington was the highest win over a ranked opponent in Oregon women’s tennis history. Although they do not have any nationally ranked singles players or doubles tandems, they are currently riding a three-match winning streak. Before facing USC, Oregon will take on UCLA on Friday (March 17). The Trojans are 22-0 all-time against the Ducks, with their last encounter resulting in a 7-0 sweep last March in Marks Stadium.
BEAT BY THE BEARS
The Trojans fell in a tough loss to No. 12 California 4-3 on Friday (March 10) at USC’s Marks Stadium.
The Women of Troy earned the first doubles point of the day on court one as No. 75 Failla/Valdes upset Cal’s No. 28 Jansen/Manasse 6-3. Court two was next to finish as Golden Bear duo No. 23 Hauger/Popovic beat USC’s Smith/Westby 6-4. The doubles point came down to the result on court three where Trojan pair Kulikov/Van Alphen were locked in a nail biter of a match with Cal’s #46 Nelson/Starr. At 6-6, the match was taken to a seven-point tiebreak where the Golden Bears made a final push to win 7-6 (3) and claimed the doubles point.
The Women of Troy entered the singles portion of the competition with a 0-1 deficit. While the Trojans appeared to be in control of the first set on the top courts, USC’s Sydney Van Alphen lost her battle on court six to Cal’s Staphane Lin 6-1, 6-4. This win pushed Cal ahead 2-0 overall.
Another point went the Golden Bears’ way as USC’s No. 113 Madison Westby fell to Cal’s Maya Jansen 6-4, 6-3 on court four.
Junior Gabby Smith attempted to reverse USC’s momentum. She easily claimed the first set 6-2 on court one, and was taken to a thrilling tiebreak in the second set. Court one was surrounded by USC tennis fans who chanted and cheered loudly after each tiebreak point. Smith would win the set 7-6 (1) and consequently her match to put the Women of Troy on the board with one point.
The Trojans continued to fight on. After winning the first set on court five 6-4, USC’s Angela Kulikov lost the second set to Cal’s Maria Smith 6-2. She came back racquet ablaze to decisively win the third set 6-0 to give the Trojans another point to make the overall score 2-3.
USC would need to win the final two courts in order to clinch the match. On court three, Trojan and Pac-12 Player of the Week Rianna Valdes nabbed a close first set 7-5 over Golden Bear No. 96 Olivia Hauger, but dropped the second set 6-2. Although she battled in the third set, she was overpowered by Hauger who won the third set 6-2 to clinch the match for California.
Though the match was already clinched, court two was played out. USC’s Jessica Failla concluded an exciting match by defeating Cal’s Denise Starr 6-0, 3-6, 7-6 (7) to close out the afternoon.
STOPPED BY STANFORD
The No. 21 USC women’s tennis team was defeated 4-0 by No. 14 Stanford on Saturday (March 11) in Marks Stadium. With the loss, the Trojans dropped to 4-5 overall and 0-2 in Pac-12 conference play.
Doubles kicked off the afternoon where the Women of Troy have struggled throughout this season. USC continued to mix up the lineups trying to find the perfect combination. Court three was the first to finish where USC’s Katz/Kulikov fell to Stanford’s Higuchi/Lampl 6-2. Shortly thereafter, the Cardinal pair of Arbuthnott/Davidson defeated the Trojan duo of Smith/Westby 6-3. Court one’s match with USC’s #75 Failla/Valdes versus Stanford’s #29 Doyle/Lord was suspended with the Trojans trailing 2-5 as the Cardinal won the doubles point.
In singles, the Cardinal struck first pushing Stanford ahead 2-0 as No. 46 Emma Higuchi defeated USC’s Sydney Van Alphen 6-0, 6-0 on court six. Stanford quickly earned another point as No. 73 Caroline Lampl topped USC’s No. 113 Madison Westby 6-2, 6-2 on court four.
At 3-0, the Cardinal only needed one more point to clinch the match. On court three, USC’s No. 88 Zoë Katz was competing in her first match of the weekend after sitting out against California on Friday (March 10) due to illness. Her first set against Stanford’s No. 13 Melissa Lord stretched into a tiebreak where Lord would overpower her to take the set 7-6 (4). Trojan No. 38 Jessica Failla also took her first set to a tiebreak where she was victorious over Stanford’s No. 36 Caroline Doyle 7-6 (3) to win the only set of the day for Troy.
The afternoon would close out as Stanford’s No. 69 Taylor Davidson claimed a win over USC’s No. 25 Gabby Smith 6-1, 6-2 on court one to clinch the match for the Cardinal.
The remaining matches on courts two, three and five were suspended after the match was clinched.
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.