No. 12 USC Women Stay On Pac-12 Warpath To Washington

    Gabi DeSimone and the Women of Troy are off to Washington this Sunday.

    March 20, 2014

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    The No. 12 USC women's tennis team continues its Pac-12 push with another road trip in conference competition. This weekend, the Women of Troy (11-4, 2-0 Pac-12) will head to Seattle to take on No. 42 Washington in a 12 p.m. matchup on Sunday (March 23).

    The Women of Troy opened 2014 ranked No. 5 in the nation, and the latest rankings have USC listed at No. 12 in the land as of March 18. The latest individual rankings of 2014 went up on March 11, with four Women of Troy locked into the national singles scene and three Trojan doubles duos still on the list. Junior Sabrina Santamaria -- who has been sidelined for the season by injury -- leads the charge in singles as the No. 17 player in the nation. Also locked into the top-100 for USC are No. 25 Zoë Scandalis, No. 71 Giuliana Olmos and No. 76 freshman Zoë Katz, who stepped into the singles rankings for the first time in her Trojan career on Feb. 25. USC's doubles teams are a daunting group. The Trojans also boast two top-10 teams as well as the defending NCAA champions. Junior duo Olmos and Zoë Scandalis remain locked in the top-10 at No. 3 in the land this week, while the new Trojan pairing of senior transfer Boren and freshman Zoë Katz weigh in at No. 16. 2013 NCAA champs Kaitlyn Christian and Sabrina Santamaria rank No. 26, although their campaign has come to a close following Santamaria's season-ending injury.

    The No. 42 Huskies entered the week 10-6 overall and 0-4 in Pac-12 play after taking 7-0 losses last week at Stanford and Cal. Washington will face UCLA before taking on the Trojans this Sunday. Washington has #97 Elianne Douglas-Miron ranked in singles and no ranked doubles team. USC is 20-3 all-time against Washington in a series that dates back to 1993. Last year, USC beat Washington 6-1 in a Pac-12 clash in Seattle.

    USC opened up Pac-12 competition with road wins at Colorado and Utah last week. After pulling off a tight doubles point against the Buffs, the Trojans cruised through straight-set singles wins on three courts to lock in the 4-0 victory as play came to a close as soon as USC's Zoë Scandalis registered the clincher for the Women of Troy. Colorado pinned up the first win of the day with a doubles victory on court one. Buffs Ormeno Ruiz/Janssens topped USC's senior pair Boren/Christian 8-5, but the Trojans would get stuck in from there. In two tense tiebreakers, USC managed to eke out the doubles point. Juniors DeSimone/Scandalis held on for an 8-7 (5) win on court three, followed by an 8-7 (1) victory from Katz/Olmos at the No. 2 spot to tack the first point in USC's column. With that tight battle in the books, USC would find a groove in singles. Senior Kaitlyn Christian kicked things off with a speedy 6-0, 6-2 win over Ashley Tiefel on court six, while her doubles teammate and fellow senior Brynn Boren topped Alex Aiello 6-4, 6-0 to rally the Trojans to a 3-0 advantage. With two more doubles teammates closing in on win, it was Zoë Scandalis who'd hit the finish line just ahead of partner Gabriella DeSimone to haul in the clinching victory. On court one, Scandalis beat Julyette Steur 6-1, 6-4 to make it a 4-0 USC win while the remaining matches were suspended. DeSimone was just a breath away from a win on court four, while Giuliana Olmos and Zoë Katz were still plugging away in their respective singles matches when Scandalis inked the victory for the Trojans. Two days later, USC another Pac-12 road victory in tacking up a 4-1 win over No. 37 host Utah. The Trojans rumbled to the doubles point with wins on the top two courts and surrendered just one singles match before Zoë Scandalis hauled in the clincher again from her court one singles spot to net the 4-1 win. The Trojans got their feet under them with a solid showing in doubles. Senior tandem Kaitlyn Christian and Brynn Boren wrapped up the opening win on an 8-4 victory on court one before Zoë Katz and Giuliana Olmos shut the door on doubles play with an 8-6 win at the No. 2 spot. Gabriella DeSimone kept the momentum rolling with a swift singles win on court four, beating Sarah Richter 6-1, 6-3 for a 2-0 USC advantage. The Utes would get on the board from court five, where Paige Miles topped #76 Zoë Katz 6-3-, 6-3 to creep Utah within one. At the No. 3 position, #71 Giuliana Olmos squashed Utah's hopes of an equalizer with one powerful stroke -- a 6-1, 6-1 win over Callie Craig to put USC ahead 3-1. COming through in the clutch for the second straight match was junior Zoë Scandalis on court one. #25 Scandalis handled Utah's #125 Tereza Bekerova with a 6-2, 6-2 clinching win that capped the day's action as a 4-1 USC victory. For her work in securing the two wins with her singles clinchers, Zoë Scandalis was named Pac-12 Player of the Week for the second time this season.

    World University Games silver medalist and one half of the defending NCAA Doubles Championship team, junior Sabrina Santamaria has been sidelined for the remainder of the season after suffering an ACL tear in her No. 1 singles match on March 2. Santamaria entered the 2013-14 season ranked No. 1 in the nation in singles and in doubles with senior teammate Kaitlyn Christian. A four-time ITA All-American, Santamaria was the 2013 Pac-12 Player of the Year as a sophomore -- the same season that she and Christian became USC's first-ever NCAA doubles winners and completing the first collegiate tennis "Triple Crown" as doubles champs at the ITA All-American Championship, the ITA National Indoors Championship and the NCAA Tournament. The pair also has been named the Pac-12 Doubles Team of the Year the past two seasons. In her two-and-a-half seasons of work to date, Santamaria has gone 79-19 overall in singles and 83-18 in doubles.

    USC left little doubt in its clash against No. 4 California, taking out a big Pac-12 foe with a strong 6-1 victory at Marks Stadium and marking a big win into the books as they continue along in 2014 action. The victory over the Golden Bears came with the Trojans snagging a tight doubles point and then rattling off four straight-set singles wins in a row to bring home the win. Freshman Zoë Katz showed no fear against her ranked opponent in coming through with the clincher on her 6-0 6-4 victory over Cal's #84 Klara Fabikova. On court one in doubles, USC's defending NCAA champs Kaitlyn Christian and Sabrina Santamaria were in winning form for an 8-2 victory at the top. The Golden Bears answered back with an 8-6 win over USC's #4 Olmos/Scandalis to even the score, cranking up the tension on court three. The decider would come down to a tiebreaker there, with USC's #8 pair of Brynn Boren and Zoë Katz pulling of the clutch win with a 9-8 (2) decision over Cal's Chi/Duranteau to notch a big 1-0 lead for the host Trojans. That edge was an important momentum boost for the Women of Troy. At the No. 4 spot, #50 Zoë Scandalis rebounded from that doubles defeat and was all business in her singles clash with #15 Denise Starr. Scandalis drummed up a 2-0 lead for the Trojans with her swift 6-1, 6-1 decision. Fellow junior #26 Sabrina Santamaria delivered a 6-2, 6-1 win over Cal's #37 Annet Schutting on court one next, and USC was up 3-0 on the No. 4 Bears. Freshman Zoë Katz came out with guns blazing against #84 Klara Fabikova at the No. 5 spot. Katz shut out her Golden Bear foe in the first set and would roll on to a 6-0, 6-4 victory that got USC ahead 4-0 for the clincher. On court four, junior #99 Giuliana Olmos followed her doubles partner Scandalis to end the day on a win with her 6-3, 7-5 upset of #66 Lynn Chi, and USC was holding a 5-0 lead on the Bears. Cal's only point of the day would come on court two, where #16 Zsofi Susanyi was able to fend off USC's #118 Brynn Boren with a 6-3, 6-2 decision that made it 5-1. The Women of Troy would be sure to have the last word, however, with #123 Gabriella DeSimone finishing off one last upset with her 6-3, 3-6, 1-0 (6) victory over Cal's #59 Maegan Manasse on court six to wrap the 6-1 win for USC.

    USC freshman Zoë Katz had match-clinching victories in back-to-back matches for the Trojans last week, while also picking up doubles wins as well as the Trojans topped #58 San Diego State 7-0 and upset #4 California 6-1. For her winning efforts, Katz was named Pac-12 Player of the Week, becoming the first of the Women of Troy to win the award this season. Against Pac-12 power Cal, Katz showed no fear in the No. 9 Trojans' big match against No. 4 Cal. She and doubles teammate Brynn Boren fought back and pulled out the doubles point with a tense 9-8 (2) victory for an important boost against the higher ranked Bears. In singles, Katz stayed in high gear and pulled off the match-clinching upset of #84 Klara Fabikova on court five. Katz silences Fabikova in the first set and continued to roll in the second for a 6-0, 6-4 win that sealed a 4-0 lead for the Trojans to bring home the win. In USC's Tuesday match on the road at San Diego State, Katz teamed with Boren for an 8-5 win at the No. 2 spot before taking in the clincher in singles on her dominating 6-0, 6-1 win over SDSU's Somoracz on court five. While USC improves to 7-2 on the year with the winning week, Katz is now 11-4 overall in singles and 18-5 in doubles with Boren as the nation's #8 ranked pair.

    USC junior Giuliana Olmos was near unstoppable on both the doubles and singles courts at the ITA Kick-Off Weekend. She lost no more than two games per set in her two singles wins, and swept up two doubles shutout wins as the Women of Troy punched their ticket to the ITA National Team Indoor Championships with a pair of 4-0 wins at the ITA Kick-Off. Playing at the No. 3 singles spot, Olmos topped Valenzuela of North Texas 6-1, 6-2 on day one and then pounded Saint Mary's Kaur 6-0, 6-1 on the second day for another USC win. And playing with Zoë Scandalis on the doubles courts, Olmos pitched two perfect matches with 6-0 sweeps against both opponents at the No. 2 doubles spot.

    The big winners at the 2014 Freeman Memorial were Trojan doubles duo Giuliana Olmos and Zoë Scandalis, who streaked to the title match, where the Women of Troy took down a UCLA pair in the championship bout on Jan. 22. Olmos and Scandalis were the No. 3 seeded pair in the tourney. Ranked #7 in the nation, the Trojans lived up to their billing, registering solid wins in their first two matches before pulling off a 7-5 win in the semis to move into the title match. There, Olmos/Scandalis squared off against UCLA's Harrison/McPhillips, and the Trojans took care of business with a 6-4 victory that planted the championship trophy in the hands of Olmos and Scandalis.

    The 2014 Trojans boast a strong group of returning talent, having graduated All-American Danielle Lao as well as Valeria Pulido from last year's squad. Reinforcements have come up big for the Women of Troy, however, with newcomers Brynn Boren and Zoë Katz having kicked off spring competition ranked as the nation's No. 3 doubles pair for 2014 -- their first season as Trojans. A second USC duo -- Giuliana Olmos and Zoë Scandalis -- also opened the year standing tall in the top-10 with a No. 7 doubles ranking. USC's defending NCAA doubles champions Kaitlyn Christian and Sabrina Santamaria began 2014 with a No. 33 ranking for 2014. All-American Santamaria also sat atop the USC women's singles ladder as the No. 13 ranked singles player in the nation. Junior Giuliana Olmos locked in at No. 60 in the first round of 2014 singles standings, joined in the top-100 by fellow Women of Troy Gabriella DeSimone at No. 80 and senior newcomer and All-American Brynn Boren at No. 96. Boren and Christian are USC's two standout seniors this season, both holding All-American honors during their careers. This past summer, several Women of Troy teamed up to win a bronze medal for Team USA at the World University Games. Santamaria claimed a silver medal in singles to help her teammates Christian, DeSimone and Ellie Yates bring home hardware from Russia. In all, USC boasts four ITA All-Americans on its 2014 roster in Boren, Christian, Santamaria and Scandalis. USC head coach Richard Gallien has also added transfer Paige Keating to the roster.

    USC junior Sabrina Santamaria played a key role in continuing the USA's winning tradition at the Master'U BNP Paribas Championships in France. The Trojan world traveler, who won silver in singles out at the World University Games in Russia this past summer, teamed up with collegiate players from around the nation for competition in Aix-en-Provence, France, against college-age athletes from Belgium, China, France, Germany, Great Britain, Ireland and Russia. In the USA's first match against Ireland, Santamaria teamed up with UVA's Mitchell Frank for a mixed-doubles victory that countered a three-set singles loss taken by Santamaria to Ireland's Sinead Lohan. The U.S. squad would take down Ireland 6-1 in that quarterfinal match and move on to play host France in the semifinals the next day. There, Santamaria ripped through Anais Van Cauter with a smooth 6-2, 6-1 win that helped propel the USA to another 6-1 victory. And in the final, Santamaria and her USA teammates shut out Russia 7-0 to claim the United States' third straight championship at the tournament. Santamaria, who ranks as the nation's No. 1 singles player and half of the No. 1 doubles team, was joined by UCLA's Robin Anderson and Georgia's Lauren Herring as the U.S. women on this year's trip to France. On the men's side, UCLA's Marcos Giron, Ohio State's Peter Kobelt and Virginia's Mitchell Frank rounded out the USA contingent for the Master'U competition. Santamaria follows in the footsteps of several other standout Trojans to make the venture to France for Master'U action. USC's Steve Johnson,Daniel Nguyen and Maria Sanchez have also represented Team USA in the past and helped win titles for the United States in past years.

    The Women of Troy finished up the 2013 season as Pac-12 Champions and ranked No. 6 in the nation after a 23-3 mark that saw them reach the NCAA Round of 16, where USC was ousted by eventual national champ Stanford. Dynamic doubles duo Kaitlyn Christian and Sabrina Santamaria finished off a triple crown on the season when they added the 2013 NCAA Doubles Championship to the ITA/Riviera All-American and ITA National Indoor doubles crowns they had also picked up along the way.