Women of Troy clinch Pac-12 regular-season title

first_imgThe USC women’s tennis team took down rival UCLA on Thursday afternoon at Marks Stadium by a 6-1 margin, clinching the Pac-12 regular season title in the process.Business as usual · Sophomore Sabrina Santamaria (above) helped USC defeat UCLA with a dominant 6-1, 6-0 victory over No. 3 ranked Robin Anderson. Santamaria also won her doubles match alongside Kaitlyn Christian. – Ralf Cheung | Daily TrojanThe Women of Troy (21-2, 10-0 MPSF) defeated the Bruins  (16-5, 7-3) in both of their matches this season and have beaten their Westwood counterparts in back-to-back matches for the first time since 2006.USC also took sole possession of first place in the Pac-12 with the win and rounded out an undefeated regular-season conference record.“It was a great win for us and beating [UCLA] twice in the same season is hard,” USC head coach Richard Gallien said. “It is a great accomplishment for the kids.”The doubles point opened up the scoring for the Women of Troy with sophomore Sabrina Santamaria and junior Kaitlyn Christian leading the way against  senior Pamela Montez and sophomore Skylar Morton.Meanwhile, sophomores Zoë Scandalis and Giuliana Olmos clinched the doubles point with an 8-2 victory over sophomore Robin Anderson and junior Courtney Dolehide, and the tandem of senior Danielle Lao and sophomore Gabriella DeSimone completed the USC sweep with a hard-fought 7-6 victory on court three.The singles portion of the match featured two of the nation’s top players in USC sophomore Sabrina Santamaria, who ranks No. 2 in the nation, and Anderson, who ranks no. 3.Mixing in a strong forehand with a variety of drop shots and lobs, and after dropping the first game of the match, Santamaria proceeded to take the next 12 games to handily defeat Anderson 6-1, 6-0. Santamaria looked to take the Bruins’ leading lady off her game early and kept Anderson on her heels throughout the afternoon.“It felt great to get the win,” Santamaria said. “It’s always a fun match against [Anderson] and we know each other very well. It feels amazing [to win the Pac-12]. We have really good momentum going and we are excited for the NCAA tournament and the team championships there.”Scandalis faced off against the Bruins’ Pamela Montez on court three and was able to make quick work of the UCLA senior with a 6-2, 6-1 win. Scandalis’ win helped put USC in the driver’s seat in the match as it went ahead 3-1 on the day with her victory.DeSimone clinched the match for the Women of Troy on court five against fellow junior Courtney Dolehide with a 6-3, 6-4 win. Despite a strong effort from Dolehide in the second set, DeSimone proved to be too much and took home the win and the match for USC.Olmos fell behind early on court four in her battle against Bruins’ freshman Catherine Harrison but was able to turn it around after a tough 7-5 tiebreaker gave her a 7-6 victory in the first set.“I was getting a little nervous down 2-5 in the tiebreaker, but I knew that I needed to step it up and play my game,” Olmos said. “I had played [Harrison] before, and I knew I just needed to be tougher than her. I knew we had the title on the line and I didn’t want to lose because of the rivalry, but it didn’t make me nervous. Instead, it pushed me on.”In the second set, Olmos was able to pull away from the freshman Harrison en route to a 7-6, 6-2 straight sets win.“I really thought her [Olmos’] match is what turned it for us,” Gallien said.Lao struggled mightily in singles against UCLA’s Kyle McPhillips, and she had difficulty finding a rhythm all afternoon. After forcing McPhillips into some early errors, Lao lead the first set 2-0, but she failed to capitalize on her early lead and dropped the set 6-2. After a back-and-forth second set, Lao couldn’t muster up enough to take control of the match as McPhillips took the second set and the match 6-2, 6-4.Battling the stomach flu, Christian squared off against UCLA’s Kaitlin Ray on court six in a hotly contested match. Christian had trouble with Ray early on, dropping the first set 6-2 and falling behind 2-0 in the second set.Resilient as they come, though, the junior fought back to win the set 6-3 and continued her strong play to take the third set 6-4.“We’ll enjoy this [Pac-12 championship], but our goal is to be as healthy and fit as possible for the NCAA tournament and keep it going,” Gallien said.With the regular season now over and a second straight Pac-12 championship to show for it, the Women of Troy are setting their sights on the postseason. Riding the momentum of an undefeated Pac-12 season and the play of a strong core of talented players, USC will look to make some noise in the NCAA tournament.last_img

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