The UCLA women’s tennis team outshined USC on Wednesday in a nail-biter match that lasted more than five hours at Marks Tennis Stadium on Wednesday.
With No. 4 UCLA (12-1) up 3-1 in the match, No. 12 USC (7-4) needed wins in the last three singles matches to beat its crosstown rival. Those three remaining singles matches were as close as could be, with all of them going to three sets. But in the end, USC couldn’t complete the comeback. Though USC was able to tie at 3-3, the team couldn’t get the last singles match to tally in the win.
“It would have been a big boost for us, no question,” USC coach Richard Gallien told USCTrojans.com. “But you lick your wounds and go on”
The match began with UCLA easily pocketing two doubles victories on the top two courts. The doubles point was already secured by UCLA when USC’s third-seeded duo, junior Cristala Andrews and freshman Valeria Pulido, won 8-6 in the third match.
In singles, things began to pick up for the Women of Troy. No. 21 sophomore Alison Ramos of USC started the team strong with a smooth win over No. 7 Noelle Hickey 6-2, 6-3.
The remaining five matches were close throughout play. On court six, Andrews fell 5-7, 3-6, and soon after senior Sarah Fansler was also taken down 4-6, 2-6 on court four.
The remaining three USC players all lost to their opponents in the first set, so to win the match all of them needed to notch victories in three sets.
On the top court, No. 3 junior Maria Sanchez, who was also honored as Pac-10 Player of the Week last week, outperformed UCLA’s No. 5 Yasmin Schnack.
Despite losing the first set 5-7, Sanchez fought back to take the second set 6-3. Schnack couldn’t stay focused, and Sanchez took advantage and started the third set by winning seven straight points. Sanchez took the third set rather easily 6-1. It was a back-to-back three-set-match win that improved Sanchez’s singles record to 9-1. On the fifth court, Pulido fell in the first set to UCLA’s Stephanie Hoffpauir in a tiebreaker that ended 7-9 in Hoffpauir’s favor. Pulido answered back by handling Hoffpauir in the second set 6-1. In a neck-and-neck battle for the third set, Pulido edged her opponent 7-5, capturing the victory and tying the match at 3-3.
Everyone’s attention now turned to court two where No. 22 freshman Danielle Lao was challenging UCLA’s No. 34 Andrea Remynse.
Each point was hard fought, as many games could have gone in either direction. Remynse took the first set 4-6, but Lao remained calm even when down 4-5 in the second set. Lao ended up taking the last three games of the second set to tie it up at one set apiece.
The third set was tight, and Lao had the edge over Remynse at 4-3. Still, Lao couldn’t finish her opponent and was defeated 6-4 in the third set, giving UCLA the match victory.