USC Women's Tennis Punches Ticket to 2017 NCAA Tournament|
May 2, 2017
LOS ANGELES--The USC women’s tennis team has secured yet another trip to the NCAA tournament grabbing an at-large berth. The Women of Troy (13-10) will be participating in their 26th consecutive NCAA tournament and are set to travel to Lubbock, Texas to compete in first and second round play next weekend. Georgia will host the Round of 16 and beyond in addition to the NCAA Individual Championships in Athens, Ga. from May 18-29.
Under the tutelage of head coach Richard Gallien, the Trojans will face Denver (18-6) in the First Round. On April 29, the Pioneers won their fourth-straight Summit League Championship. All eight of their conference victories were won in shutout fashion. If USC defeats Denver, the Trojans will face the winner of Quinnipiac (14-8) and No. 6 seed and host Texas Tech. On April 30, the Texas Tech Lady Raiders won the program’s first ever Big 12 Championship title, while Quinnipiac won it’s fourth-consecutive Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference title.
USC is making its 35th all-time appearance in the tournament. The Women of Troy are led by sophomore Jessica Failla in the No. 1 position. The No. 37 ranked player is 21-7 overall on the season. Right behind her in the No. 2 slot is junior No. 28 Gabby Smith who remains a dominant force on the court. Smith, currently 11-0 in the No. 2 position, holds a 23-8 record on the season and is currently riding a four-match winning streak. Sophomore Rianna Valdes typically plays in the No. 3 position and is 11-11 on the season. Senior No. 122 Zoë Katz joins Failla and Smith in the 20-win club with a 20-13 record. Next junior Madison Westby leads USC with 24 wins on the season. Finally, freshman Angela Kulikov will be playing in her first ever NCAA Tournament as she wraps up the singles lineup in the No. 6 spot going 19-12 on the season.
Over the weekend, USC made it to the Semifinals of the Pac-12 Tournament where the Trojans fell 4-3 in a tight match to California. In 2015, Katz, Smith and Westby were all members of USC's NCAA semifinalist and top-seeded team. They hope to lead the Trojans with experience and have similar success in this year’s tournament.
The road to Athens, Ga. goes through Lubbock, Texas, and the Women of Troy hope to punch their ticket to the Round of 16 next weekend. Official dates and times will be announced by the host team soon. Please continue to check the schedule for updates.
For more NCAA tournament info, click here.