USC Women's Tennis Travels North to Visit Washington and Washington State

    March 28, 2017

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    The No. 39 Women of Troy clash with two Pac-12 conference opponents this weekend. USC faces the Washington State Cougars on Friday (March 31) at 1:30 p.m. in Pullman, Wash., and the Washington Huskies on Sunday (April 2) at 12 p.m. in Seattle.


    On March 28, the Oracle/ITA team rankings were updated, bumping up the Women of Troy one spot to No. 39 after their 4-3 victory over Loyola Marymount last Wednesday (March 22). Three Pac-12 programs are currently in the nation's Top 25: No. 8 Stanford, No. 14 California and No. 20 UCLA. The singles/doubles rankings were updated last week on March 21, and three Trojans remain nationally ranked in singles. Junior Gabby Smith increased her position by five as she secured the No. 20 ranking. Sophomore Jessica Failla dropped to No. 47 (from No. 38) and senior Zoë Katz fell to No 96 (from No. 88). In doubles, USC boasts four duos with national rankings. Failla/Valdes saw a significant increase in their ranking as they surged ahead to No. 33 (from No. 75). The tandem of Katz/Smith hold the No. 34 position (from No. 21) and Kulikov/Westby claim No. 67 (from No. 64). The pair of Valdes/Westby jumped into the rankings for the first time last week to tie for No. 74.


    The Washington State Cougars are 9-8 on the season and 0-3 in Pac-12 conference play. They are in the midst of a difficult March as they are currently 0-5, including two close 4-3 losses at Colorado (March 24) and at Utah (March 26). The Cougars do not have any nationally ranked singles or doubles players. USC possesses a 23-0 all-time record over Washington State.


    No. 35 Washington is coming off a winning weekend as the team was triumphant on the road over Utah 4-0 (March 24) and Colorado 5-2 (March 26). The Huskies are 13-4 overall and 2-1 in conference play. Washington boasts two singles players in the national rankings in No. 111 Miki Kobayashi and No. 118 Stacey Fung. They also have one doubles pairing nationally ranked in No. 39 Abbes/Kobayashi. The Trojans hold a 23-3 all-time record over the Huskies.


    The No. 40 USC women's tennis team was victorious over Loyola Marymount 4-3 on Wednesday (March 22) in Marks Stadium. With the non-conference win, the Trojans improved to 5-7 overall on the season after breaking their four-match losing streak.

    The afternoon began with doubles as the Lions came swinging. Loyola Marymount made its first move as the pair of Anderson/Romeka defeated USC's No. 34 Katz/Smith 6-4 on court two. The Lions ran away with the doubles point as Juravliova/Perez topped Trojan tandem No. T74 Valdes/Westby 6-4 on court one. As Loyola Marymount had nabbed the doubles point, court three's match featuring USC's Kulikov/Van Alphen versus LMU's Norlin/Tumosa was suspended with a score of 5-4.

    The Lions entered the singles portion of the competition with a 1-0 advantage. USC's senior captain No. 96 Zoë Katz attempted to swing the momentum back in favor of the Women of Troy as she blasted through her match beating LMU's Siobhan Anderson 6-2, 6-3 on court three. Trojan junior No. 20 Gabby Smith felt the positive energy from Katz's victory and claimed the win on court one against LMU's Jessica Perez 6-1, 6-1. Freshman Angela Kulikov continued to increase USC's lead with a win of her own and she swiftly defeated Lion Anna Romeka 6-1, 6-2 on court four. Kulikov's win made the overall match score 3-1.

    After taking the first set in a close tiebreak 7-6 (5), junior Madison Westby dropped her second set to LMU's Elvira Juravliova 6-2. Juravliova would come back to win the decisive third set 6-1 and notch another point for the Lions. Loyola Marymount hadn't given up as Lion Camila Tumosa beat USC's Sydney Van Alphen 7-6 (4), 4-6, 6-3 on court five.

    The match came down to court six as USC's Ines Guinard was locked in a heated match with LMU's Tatijana Sheikhan. Guinard, who was making her first career appearance as a Trojan, took the first set 7-6 (6). Sheikhan fought back to take the second set 6-3. The crowd surrounded court six as the match went to a decisive third set. Guinard took charge and secured the third set 6-3 to clinch the match for Troy in her first ever USC women's tennis match.


    USC women's tennis head coach Richard Gallien, a 5-time Pac-12 Coach of the Year, announced on Friday, March 24 that he will end his 22-year tenure at the conclusion of the current 2017 season.

    "It has been a privilege to have coached so many brilliant young women in my 22 fantastic years at this remarkable university. All but two student-athletes who played for me received their degrees, something of which I am very proud.

    "I look forward to coaching our team through the postseason and finishing strong. And in the future, I will always be rooting for all the teams at USC."

    During his USC career, each of Gallien's teams advanced into the NCAA tourney, with 3 appearing in the semifinals and 5 others making it to the quarterfinals. Under his watch, USC has finished in the national Top 20 rankings 19 times, including 11 Top 10 placings. Four of his teams won the Pac-12 title and 8 others were league runners-up. Four of his players were named conference Player of the Year and 3 of his doubles teams were honored as the league's Doubles Team of the Year (including 2013 NCAA doubles champs Sabrina Santamaria and Kaitlyn Christian).

    The 2017 USC team currently is 5-7 overall, including an 0-3 start in Pac-12 play. The Women of Troy have dropped 6 of their past 8 matches. They have 8 regular season matches remaining, before Pac-12 team championship play begins in late April.

    Gallien, who began at USC in 1996, has an overall record of 385-157 (71.0%), not including 8 wins and a loss vacated due to NCAA penalty.


    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.