Jessica Failla and Gabby Smith to Compete in NCAA Women's Individual Draw

    May 23, 2017

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    THIS WEEK

    USC has two Women of Troy in contention for NCAA individual titles this week. Junior Gabby Smith and sophomore Jessica Failla will be participating in the 2017 NCAA Singles Draw beginning tomorrow (May 24) at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex in Athens, Ga. and will run through May 29. Both Failla and Smith will be participating in their first NCAA Individual Championships and hope to make an impressive showing.

    Failla, who was recently named to the All-Pac-12 Second Team, will hit the court at 9 a.m. ET to compete against No. 7 seed Jasmine Lee from Mississippi State in the Round of 64. Failla, currently ranked No. 33 in the nation holds a 22-7 overall singles record on the season. She has battled against nine ranked opponents and has victories over seven of them, including previously ranked No. 3 Ena Shibahara of UCLA.

    All-Pac-12 First Teamer Smith is scheduled to take on Andie Dikosavljevic from Auburn at 12:30 p.m. ET in the Round of 64. Smith, currently No. 25 in the country, already defeated Dikosavljevic this season in USC's dual match versus Auburn on Jan. 29. She holds a 23-9 record and clinched two matches for Troy including an exciting 4-3 upset over crosstown rival UCLA in Westwood, Calif. on April 22. Smith won Pac-12 Player of the Week honors three times this season to make her the most decorated Pac-12 women's tennis player in regards to this award in 2017.

    ORACLE/ITA RANKINGS UPDATES

    The Oracle/ITA Rankings were updated on Thursday, May 4. The Women of Troy entered the NCAA Tournament as the No. 25 team in the country. USC boasts two Trojans in the national singles rankings with junior Gabby Smith locking down the No. 25 spot and sophomore Jessica Failla claiming the No. 33 rank. In doubles, USC has three duos with national rankings: No. 43 Failla/Valdes, No. 57 Katz/Smtih and No. 89 Kulikov/Westby.

    BY THE NUMBERS

    Four Women of Troy have entered the 20-Win Club this season. Junior Madison Westby has collected 24 wins, while fellow junior Gabby Smith has earned 23 victories. Sophomore Jessica Failla has tallied 21 wins and most recently, senior Zoë Katz joined the group as she collected her 20th win at the Pac- 12 Championship.

    NCAA TEAM ACTION

    The No. 25 USC women's tennis team had their NCAA Tournament journey come to an end on May 12 in Lubbock, Texas as the Women of Troy fell to No. 44 Denver 4-2 in the First Round. This loss wraps up the 2017 season with the Trojans finishing with a 13-11 overall record and having reached the NCAA Tournament for a 26th consecutive year. Two Trojans will continue in the postseason as junior Gabby Smith and sophomore Jessica Failla will head to Athens, Ga. from May 24-29 to compete for an NCAA Individual singles title.

    Doubles opened up the morning of competition and the Trojans appeared ready to take on the Pioneers as the No. 57 duo of Katz/Smith decisively took down Denver's Barnhill/Mok 6-0. USC's duo of No. 89 Kulikov/Westby followed suit to defeat the Pioneer pair of Radosevic/Mboko 6-2 to claim the doubles point for Troy.

    USC entered the singles portion of the competition with a 1-0 advantage. No. 33 Jessica Failla continued to roll with the positive Trojan momentum and swiftly defeated her Pioneer opponent Julia O'Loughlin 6-0, 6-1 on court one. Denver hadn't given up and responded with a win of their own as Arisha Ladhani beat USC's Madison Westby 6-1, 6-1 on court four. Denver's Maureen Slattery upset Trojan No. 25 Gabby Smith 6-2, 6-2 to break her perfect 11-0 record at the No. 2 position. This win tied up the overall score of the match at 2-2.

    On court five, USC's Angela Kulikov fell to Pioneer Sonja Radosevic 6-4, 6-4 to push Denver ahead 3-2. The Pioneers would have the final word as Bianca Mok beat Trojan Rianna Valdes in a tight match 2-6, 6-4, 7-6 (4) to clinch the match for the Pioneers.

    The USC women now have a 70-34 all-time NCAA Tournament record and have made a remarkable 26-straight appearances including three NCAA Semifinal trips in the last 12 seasons.

    PAC-12 CHAMPIONSHIPS

    The Trojans had a solid run in the 2017 Pac-12 Team Championships. The Women of Troy entered the tournament as the No. 6 seed and swept the No. 11 seed Washington State 4-0 to begin their run. In the Quarterfinals, USC upset the No. 3 seed Arizona State 4-3 to secure their place in the Semifinals. Another close match was in store for the Trojans in the semis, but USC fell to No. 2 seeded California 4-3 to end their pursuit of the Pac-12 title.

    GALLIEN

    USC women's tennis head coach Rich- ard 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 uni- versity. 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 oth- ers 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 391-161 (71.0%), not including 8 wins and a loss vacated due to NCAA penalty. in Pac-12 play.