USC Women Head to Ojai for Pac-12 Team Championships

    April 25, 2017

    USC Women's Tennis Release Get Acrobat Reader

    THIS WEEK

    The No. 27 USC women’s tennis team will travel to Ojai, Calif. to compete in the Pac-12 Team Championship. The No. 6 seed begin their path to claiming their fourth Pac-12 title in six years by taking on No. 11 seed Washington State in the first round of the tournament on Wednesday (April 26) at 11 a.m.

    ORACLE/ITA RANKINGS UPDATES

    On April 25, the Oracle/ITA team rankings were updated and after their huge upset over No. 22 UCLA, the Trojans moved up to the No. 27 spot in the national rankings. The singles/doubles rankings were also updated on April 25, and USC has three Trojans locked in with singles rankings. Junior Gabby Smith continues to lead the way for USC now ranked No. 28 in the nation. She is followed by No. 37 Jessica Failla and No. 122 Zoë Katz. In doubles, USC boasts three pairs with national rankings. The duo of Failla/Valdes take the lead with the No. 41 rank and Katz/Smith are on their heels with the No. 48 rank. The Trojan tandem of Kulikov/Westby wrap up with doubles rankings securing the No. 80 spot.

    PAC-12 TEAM CHAMPIONSHIP

    This is the first year that the Pac-12 women will be competing in a team championship tournament. As the No. 6 seed, the Women of Troy will take on No. 11 seed Washington State in the first round of the tournament on Wednesday (April 26) at 11 a.m. If the Trojans defeat the Cougars, they will forge ahead in their path to claim the title taking on No. 3 seed Arizona State in the quarterfinals on Thursday (April 27) at 11 a.m. The semifinal matches will take place on Friday (April 28) at 2 p.m., and the championship match will be held on Saturday (April 28) at 3 p.m. The finals will be broadcast live on the Pac-12 Network at 3 p.m. PT.

    SCOUTING WASHINGTON STATE

    The Washington State Cougars are 10-15 overall on the season and 0-10 in Pac-12 conference play. They are currently on a three-match losing streak, most recently losing 4-0 to Washington on April 22. The Trojans are 24-0 all-time against the Cougars, most recently defeating them 4-3 in Pullman, Wash. on March 31.

    THIS TIME LAST YEAR

    Last year, the women were ranked No. 19 and took on No. 13 Stanford in the Pac-12 Championship match. USC would end up losing the title match to the Cardinal 4-2. The Trojans won the doubles point, and Zoë Katz won her singles match, but Stanford would respond with four singles victories to clinch the title.

    Gabby Smith CLAIMS THIRD PAC-12 PLAYER OF THE WEEK AWARD

    For the third time this season, USC’s junior Gabby Smith has won Pac-12 Player of the Week honors. This is Smith’s third time winning the award this season, which makes her the most decorated Pac-12 women’s tennis player in regards to this honor in the 2017 season. In addition, Smith’s recognition marks her fourth nod all-time for the award.

    USC is now tied with UCLA and California for most Pac-12 Players of the Week with four recipients each this season.

    On Saturday afternoon (April 22), No. 28 Smith was the hero of the afternoon as she clinched the match 4-3 for the Women of Troy over crosstown rival No. 22 UCLA in Westwood, Calif.

    Smith’s 6-7 (4), 6-3, 6-4 victory over UCLA’s Terri Fleming in the No. 2 position secured the upset for USC. In defeating UCLA’s Fleming for the second time this season, Smith notched her 20th singles win.

    BY THE NUMBERS

    Both junior Gabby Smith and sophomore Jessica Failla joined junior Madison Westby in the 20 Win Club as they each secured their 20th wins of the season. Senior Zoë Katz is knocking on the door with her 19 wins, and she could join the group at the Pac-12 Team Championships this week. Freshman Angela Kulikov is close behind with 18 wins on the season.

    EDGED OUT BY PEPPERDINE

    The No. 32 USC Trojans fell to No. 13 Pepperdine 4-3 in a marathon match that lasted four hours at Marks Stadium. With the loss, USC fell to 10-9 overall on the season.

    Doubles kicked off the afternoon with Pepperdine swinging away for the first win of the day as #6 Maddox/Sherif defeated Failla/Valdes 6-3 on court one. The Trojans responded with a win of their own when #9 Kulikov/Westby beat Milovanovic/Rungledkriangkrai 6-3 on court three. In an exciting, tight match, USC’s #37 Katz/Smith held out confidently to take down Pepperdine’s Stefani/Lahey 7-6 (6) on court two to claim the doubles point. This win extends Katz/Smith’s winning streak to seven-straight matches.

    The Trojans entered the singles portion of the competition with a 1-0 advantage. Pepperdine came out with vengeance to claim the first singles point as No. 35 Mayar Sherif defeated Rianna Valdes 6-4, 6-4 on court three. The Waves were able to put another point on the board as USC’s No. 27 Gabby Smith fell to No. 12 Luisa Stefani 6-1, 7-6 (5) on court one. This win left the Trojans trailing 1-2 in the overall match score.

    Trojan No. 47 Jessica Failla brought back the fire for Troy as she nabbed a point with her upset over No. 13 Ashley Lahey 6-4, 6-4 on court two. Pepperdine was able to regain their lead when Dzina Milovanovic took down USC’s Angela Kulikov 7-6 (5), 6-4 on court six. Leading 3-2 Pepperdine only needed one more point to clinch the match.

    Trojan Madison Westby wasn’t going to let that happen as she fought her way back from losing her first set 4-6 to Wave opponent Apichaya Rungledkriangkrai and captured the next two sets 6-2, 7-5 to even out the overall score at 3-3.

    The match came down to the outcome on court four. USC’s No. 121 Zoë Katz was entrenched in battle against Pepperdine’s No. 90 Laura Gulbe. Katz nabbed the first set 7-6 (9), but Gulbe collected the second set 6-3. Katz fought hard, but Gulbe would take the third set 6-3 and clinch the match for the Waves.

    UPSETTING UCLA

    The No. 32 USC women’s tennis team upset the No. 22 UCLA Bruins 4-3 in a thrilling crosstown rivalry match in Westwood, Calif. on Saturday (April 22). This win improves the Trojans’ overall season record to 11-9 and their Pac-12 conference record to 6-4.

    The afternoon began with doubles and the Women of Troy took the first win of the day as Failla/Valdes defeated No. 25 Hart/Fleming 6-0 on court one. UCLA claimed the next win as Shibahara/Wiley beat USC’s No. 69 Kulikov/Westby 6-2 on court three. The Bruins would leave doubles victorious as UCLA’s Andrews/Miller beat USC’s No. 37 Katz/Smith 6-4 to claim the doubles point.

    The Bruins entered the singles portion of the competition with a 1-0 advantage. USC’s Madison Westby took charge as she beat UCLA’s Gabby Andrews 6-2, 6-3 on court five. Trojan Angela Kulikov took down Bruin Kristin Wiley 6-4, 6-2 on court six to earn USC another point. Kulikov’s win pushed the Trojans ahead 2-1 in the overall score.

    USC’s Zoë Katz continued to roll with the Trojan momentum as she defeated UCLA’s Alaina Miller 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 on court four.

    When the Bruins saw USC had taken a significant 3-1 lead, they kicked it into high gear. UCLA’s No. 121 Jada Hart beat USC’s Rianna Valdes 1-6, 6-3, 6-4 on court three to keep the Bruins in the match. Then, Bruin No. 3 Ena Shibahara snapped USC’s No. 46 Jessica Failla’s five-match winning streak by beating her with a tight score of 6-4, 7-6 (2).

    As the match was now tied at 3-3, the final result would come down to the outcome on court two. USC’s No. 27 Gabby Smith and UCLA’s Terri Fleming were locked in a tight battle. After taking the first set 7-6 (4), Fleming lost to Smith in the second set as she took it with a 6-3 score. In the decisive third set, Smith kept her cool and while surrounded by her cheering teammates, won the third set 6-4 to clinch the match for Troy.

    GALLIEN

    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).

    Gallien, who began at USC in 1996, has an overall record of 389-159 (71.0%), not including 8 wins and a loss vacated due to NCAA penalty.

    LAST SEASON

    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.