No. 1 USC Women Settle In For Home Stretch Of Pac-12 Play

    Sabrina Santamaria and the Women of Troy will be defending their home turf for the next three Pac-12 matches.
    April 7, 2015

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    March 16, 2014
    Salt Lake City, Utah
    No. 10 USC Women Snag Another Pac-12 Road Win
    The No. 10 USC women's tennis team pocketed another Pac-12 road victory in tacking up a 4-1 win over No. 37 host Utah today. 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. USC improves to 11-4 overall and takes a 2-0 record in Pac-12 matches with the victory.

    March 14, 2014
    Boulder, Colo.
    No. 10 USC Women Beat The Buffs 4-0
    The No. 10 USC women's tennis team grabbed a road win in its first Pac-12 match of the season, beating No. 62 host Colorado 4-0 today in Boulder. After pulling off a tight doubles point, the Trojans cruised through straight-set singles wins on three courts to lock in the victory as play came to a close as soon as USC's Zoë Scandalis registered the clincher for the Women of Troy. USC improves to 10-4 overall and takes a 1-0 start to Pac-12 play with the win.

    The top-ranked USC women's tennis team is back in town for the remainder of the regular season, setting up at Marks Stadium for the next three matches. The Women of Troy (18-2, 7-0 Pac-12) are aiming to close out a perfect Pac-12 season, with two conference opponents on the docket this week. No. 1 USC will host No. 59 Utah at 1:30 p.m. on Friday (April 10) and then turns to take on No. 65 Colorado at 12 p.m. on Saturday (April 11) at Marks Stadium.

    The Women of Troy opened 2015 ranked No. 14 in the nation in the opening set of team rankings. On March 24, USC catapulted from its No. 7 spot to stand as the nation's No. 1 team, where it remains in this latest round of rankings (released April 7). The Trojans last stood as the top-ranked team in the land back in 2003. USC's previous best ranking this season had been at No. 3 on March 3. Individually, a full set of six Trojans continue to stand strong in the latest set of individual rankings (released April 7). Still in the top-20 for the second time in her career, junior Giuliana Olmos leads the way at #13, just two spots off her career-best ranking. Below her are five more Trojans. Senior All-American Sabrina Santamaria now ranks #22 in the nation as she continues her comeback path since the former #1 was sidelined by a season-ending injury last year. Fellow senior All-American Zoë Scandalis is now at #58, with three USC freshmen rounding out the ranked crew: #71 Madison Westby, #72 Gabby Smith and #75 Meredith Xepoleas. In doubles, USC has Zoë Katz and Sabrina Santamaria leading the pack at #22, followed closely by #24 Olmos/Scandalis. Katz also remains ranked alongside teammate Gabriella DeSimone, now at #35.

    The No. 59 Utes are 8-11 overall and 3-4 in Pac-12 play after 4-2 nonconference loss to Rice last week. Utah has #57 Tereza Bekerova nationally ranked in singles and #46 Bekerova/Pletcher ranked in doubles. USC is 6-0 all-time against the Utes after a 4-1 win last season in Salt Lake City.

    The No. 65 Buffs are 11-8 overall and 1-6 in Pac-12 play after 4-3 nonconference win over Denver last week. Colorado has no players nationally ranked in singles or doubles. USC is 8-0 all-time against the Buffs after a 4-0 win last season in Boulder.

    USC's hopes of a perfect Pac-12 season got another big boost with another winning road trip for the Trojans. USC posted a pair of 5-2 victories last week, beating No. 41 Arizona and then No. 23 Arizona State on their home turf to keep its win streak alive -- now up to eight in a row. In Tucson, the Trojans saw Madison Westby, Zoë Katz and Meredith Xepoleas each deliver flawless performances with matching 6-0 wins in their first sets against their respective Arizona singles opponents. USC started the story with a deft comeback move through doubles play. After a tight loss on court three, USC's Smith/Westby pulled off an 8-6 win on court two to right the ship. On court one, USC's top guns of #15 Olmos/Scandalis sealed the deal in grabbing an 8-7 win to tuck the first point of the day into Trojan territory. With that advantage as a boost, USC went on a tear to victory with four straight-set singles wins. It was all underclassmen who rattled off those victories, with #65 Gabby Smith drilling the first with a 6-1, 6-1 win on court four to make it 2-0 Trojans. Next, Katz followed up her first-set shutout with another strong showing to post a 6-0, 6-2 win to put USC on the brink of victory. #64 Xepoleas would follow with the clincher on a 6-0, 6-3 win to net the Trojans a 4-0 advantage over their hosts. Adding to her birthday celebration today, #73 Westby added to the Trojans' tally with a 6-0, 6-4 finish, and USC was holding a 5-0 lead. Arizona struck back with a 6-3, 6-3 win by #114 Briar Preston over USC's #49 senior Zoë Scandalis on court two. That left court one's matchup between USC's #11 Giuliana Olmos and Arizona's #80 Lauren Marker extending into a 10-point tiebreaker. On her home court, Marker had the edge, as she upset Olmos with a 6-4, 3-6, 1-0 (10-7) decision that finished out the day as a 5-2 USC final win. At ASU the next day, the Trojans dropped a rare doubles point but were undeterred in charging along to victory over No. 23 host Arizona State. USC responded with three straight singles wins to snag the lead, and Olmos would come up with the clincher from court two, serving up a straight-set win that lodged another victory into the win column for USC. USC's freshman doubles sensations Smith/Westby kept their winning groove going with an 8-6 win from court three, but the Sun Devils would answer back. ASU would snag the doubles point after an 8-6 win on court two and then the decider on court one as #36 Krawczyk/Vlad topped USC's Katz/Santamaria 8-5. The Trojans would manufacture a winning response thanks to a momentum shift sparked by a perfect performance from #65 Smith. The freshman would silence her ASU opponent 6-0, 6-0 from court five, and USC was duly charged up. At the No. 3 spot, #49 Scandalis answered the call and pounded out a 2-1 lead for the Trojans on her 6-1, 6-4 win. Then, #73 Westby kept her winning run rolling right along as she served up a 6-4, 7-6 (4) win on court four, and the Trojans were enjoying a 3-1 advantage. ASU fired back when #45 Desirae Krawczyk managed a 6-3, 6-4 win over USC's #20 Sabrina Santamaria on court one, but #11 Olmos was waiting in the wings to hammer out the clincher for USC. Olmos fended off ASU's Stephanie Vlad on court two for a 6-2, 7-5 win that secured victory for the Women of Troy, now up 4-2 on the Sun Devils. Play would continue, and #64 Xepoleas was up to the task. She'd buckle down in her 10-point tiebreaker to decide her match on court six with a 6-7 (3), 6-2, 1-0 (10-2) comeback that wrapped the day as a 5-2 USC victory. For her winning work in doubles and singles on the trip, freshman Gabby Smith was named Pac-12 Player of the Week for the first time in her Trojan career, becoming the fifth Trojan to earn those honors so far this season. Smith is gripping seven-match win streaks both in singles and in doubles with partner Westby.

    There's only one member of the 30-win club so far among the Women of Troy, with junior Giuliana Olmos holding court with a team-best 30 singles wins to date. The 20-win crew, however, is now four Trojans strong. Freshman Gabby Smith leads that pack with 24 singles wins, while senior Zoë Scandalis and freshman Meredith Xepoleas each hold 21 wins, and freshman Madison Westby is next in line at 20 wins.

    After seeing her junior season come to a tragically early close with a torn ACL suffered in early March 2014, senior Sabrina Santamaria is finding her winning touch. In her first competition of the year, she stepped into the No. 6 singles slot and surrendered only a single game to her LMU opponent to start on her comeback path. The former top-ranked singles player, four-time ITA All-American, 2013 NCAA Doubles Champion and 2013 Pac-12 Player of the Year opened the spring with eight straight singles wins. She'd take her first loss to then-#4 Maegan Manassee of Cal, but rebounded the very next day with an impressive comeback upset win over then-#3 Carol Zhao of Stanford. Santamaria returned to the national rankings for the first time this year on March 10, listed then at #36 in the land in singles. Now, the senior ranks #20 and holds an 11-2 overall record in singles to date. She's also back in the doubles rankings, now at #19 alongside partner Zoë Katz.

    USC boasts a trio of freshmen this season, and the three-pack has certainly helped to stack the Trojan roster with success. #65 Gabby Smith, #73 Madison Westby and #64 Meredith Xepoleas are all locked into the national rankings in singles. Smith has grabbed the most wins so far, boasting a 24-10 overall record with a perfect 7-0 mark in Pac-12 matches. Xepoleas and Westby aren't far behind, holding 21 and 20 respective singles wins apiece. They both also weigh in with 13 dual-match singles victories. In all, the Trojan freshmen are 65-25 overall in singles play to date and together they've clinched 10 matches from their singles spots this season. In doubles, Smith and Westby have paired up to great success. They're on a seven-match win streak and hold a 13-6 overall record together.

    USC junior Giuliana Olmos pinned up two powerful performances in USC's victorious road trip through the Bay Area, and for her winning efforts, Olmos was named the Pac-12 Player of the Week on Feb. 23. It's the second such selection for Olmos, who was the third Trojan to earn the honor this season. Olmos all but clinched her award when she upset the nation's top-ranked singles player in a three-set comeback effort that clinched a 4-3 win for No. 11 USC over No. 5 California in Berkeley. Olmos' 2-6, 6-2, 6-3 win over Cal's #1 Maegan Manasse secured a huge comeback win for the Trojans. The very next day, #22 Olmos pinned up a 6-0, 6-4 win over Saint Mary's #48 Danielle Flores to help lift USC into position for another comeback victory, taking the Trojans to a 2-1 lead on the Gaels en route to a final 5-2 victory. Olmos now holds a 30-10 overall singles record in her junior season, standing as the team's winningest singles player to date. She's also up to #11 in the nation in singles for the highest ranking of her Trojan career.

    Madison Westby had the heroic clincher for the USC women in a 4-3 upset of No. 11 Vanderbilt to help secure her with honors as the Pac-12 Player of the Week on Feb. 17. The freshman pulled out a three-set comeback win over #68 Marie Casares to pull off the win there. She also had a doubles win in that one, helping USC to claim the first point of the match with an 8-6 win to secure that point. The very next day, Westby won in doubles again and then added the first singles win of an eventual 7-0 win over No. 25 Texas, beating Lana Groenvynck 6-0, 6-2. Now ranked #73 in the land, the freshman is now 20-7 overall in singles with a 13-3 mark in dual matches.

    Freshman Meredith Xepoleas secured her first career Pac-12 Player of the Week award on March 23 after standing tall for the Women of Troy in huge Pac-12 wins over Cal and Stanford. Xepoleas came up big for the Women of Troy in the two top-10 wins to stay perfect in Pac-12 play. When USC's match against No. 3 California went down to the wire, all the pressure heaped on the freshman's shoulders. #83 Xepoleas was up to the challenge, taking down her Cal opponent Lynn Chi - who was ranked almost 50 places higher than her - with a 7-6 (6), 2-6, 6-3 victory that clinched a huge upset win for No. 7 USC. The next day, Xepoleas came through again, this time in a smoother victory as she served up a 6-0, 6-1 win over Stanford's Lindsey Kostas to put USC up 3-0 against No. 10 Stanford en route to the Trojans' 6-1 victory over the Cardinal. Currently ranked #64 in the nation, Xepoleas has now won a team-best nine straight singles matches to stand at 21-8 overall on the year.

    After a clutch performance at Pepperdine, Zoë Scandalis was been selected as the Pac-12 Player of the Week on Feb. 2. Now with six career selections as Pac-12 Player of the Week, she sets the conference record for most wins by a women's tennis player. Scandalis was the hero of the day in a true road battle. After combining forces with teammate Giuliana Olmos for a 6-4 doubles win that secured a 1-0 lead for the Trojans, Scandalis came through in the clutch with the clincher in singles. USC had trailed the host Waves 2-3 in the match before it locked up a 3-3 and all eyes turned to Scandalis' No. 2 singles match. Scandalis would fight off three match points - which would have handed the Trojans the team loss - and wound up digging out of a 2-5 hole to force a tiebreaker. In the breaker, Scandalis fought through to victory and won it all for her team in posting a 6-1, 5-7, 7-6 (4) win over Pepperdine's Laura Gulbe. Currently ranked #49 in the nation, Scandalis now holds a 21-11 overall singles record and is 9-6 in dual matches.

    The USC men's and women's tennis teams have called the David X. Marks Tennis Stadium home since its construction in 1971. This year, Trojan tennis will see its home revamped and renovated, bringing the venue up to date and in line with the impressive accomplishments of both programs. A ceremony to kickstart the renovation of Marks Stadium, which includes breaking ground on the Buntmann Family Tennis Center, was held on Feb. 24. Goals for this renovation are to elevate Marks Tennis Stadium to be on par with the best facilities in the country by creating an inviting, elegant, bright and safe training and competition environment. The Buntmann Family Tennis Center entrance and lobby will welcome fans and visitors and put on display the rich history of USC tennis. To improve the building functionality and support the tennis program operations, the new Lisa and Douglas Goldman Family Student-Athlete Learning Studio will support direct collaboration between coaches, staff and athletes on a daily basis. The teams will be able to utilize and enjoy brand-new suites with lockers, showers, team meeting rooms and lounges. Both teams will have access to a new training room, a stringing storage area and a large multi-purpose room. To better accommodate and enhance the spectator experience, new spectator shade canopies will be added, a new elevator to the seating area will be installed. In addition to the lead gift from the Buntmann family, the renovation has been made possible thanks to financial support from the Lisa and Douglas Goldman family, the Fritz B. Burns Foundation, John Shea and Michael Uytengsu. The renovation is expected to be complete for Spring 2016.

    The USC women are coming off a strong fall campaign in which the Women of Troy swept the titles at the ITA Southwest Regional Championships, with Zoë Scandalis winning the singles crown and Giuliana Olmos and Gabby Smith combining forces for the doubles championship. Olmos played at the ITA National Indoors, reached the ITA Southwest Regional semifinals and won the Jack Kramer Club singles title in the fall. Also in the fall, Scandalis competed at the ITA National Indoor Championships and reached the Round of 16 at the ITA/Riviera All-American. In doubles, Olmos and Scandalis reached the semifinals of the ITA/Riviera All-American in the fall. Olmos also paired up powerfully with freshman Smith to win the ITA Southwest Regional and Jack Kramer Club championships.

    The USC women are coming off a strong fall campaign in which the Women of Troy swept the titles at the ITA Southwest Regional Championships, with Zoë Scandalis winning the singles crown and Giuliana Olmos and Gabby Smith combining forces for the doubles championship. Looking to build on last year's 18-8 finish and 7-3 mark in Pac-12 play, the USC women are looking to set their path toward what would be a 24th consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament in 2015. Last year, USC reached the NCAA Round of 16. The Trojans were without the services of former singles #1 and NCAA Doubles Champion Sabrina Santamaria for the majority of 2014 after the junior was sidelined by a knee injury. Now back in action for 2015, she and fellow senior Zoë Scandalis are USC's two ITA All-Americans on the roster. Scandalis reached the Pac-12 singles title match last year, while Giuliana Olmos won the Pac-12 doubles championship alongside now-graduated Kaitlyn Christian in 2014. •