USC women’s tennis coach Richard Gallien has been coaching tennis for more than 25 years.
He’s seen hundreds of players improve, mature and graduate.
Quite a few of his players have gone on to become head coaches themselves. But according to Gallien, he has never coached against one of his former players — until today.
The No. 17 USC women’s tennis team takes on No. 27 South Florida today at 1:30 p.m. at Marks Tennis Stadium.
The Bulls are coached by Agustin Moreno, who Gallien coached at Pepperdine in 1986.
“We talk all the time,” Gallien said of Moreno. “He’s a good friend of mine.”
Gallien said despite the friendship, both coaches have been keeping it serious.
“We’re both a little too tight for [smack talk],” Gallien said.
Adding to the seriousness is the cramped schedule of both teams.
South Florida is coming off a 5-2 loss at No. 2 Florida last Tuesday and will face San Diego on Sunday.
The Women of Troy swept San Diego State last Tuesday and will host Texas on Sunday.
With both teams playing three games in five days, there is no time to joke around.
“It’s a quick turnaround,” said sophomore Danielle Lao. “But we’re rested and ready.”
Gallien says he doesn’t expect his team to take the midweek match lightly.
“South Florida’s a very good team,” he said. “They’ve been consistently ranked about 25 in the country for the past three years or so. They have two ranked doubles teams, which is really hard to do. It’ll be a good match.”
Although also USC has a pair of ranked doubles teams, it is an area Gallien feels his team needs to improve in.
“We didn’t play that well in doubles against San Diego State,” he said. “I think the girls will be extra motivated and excited to make amends.”
Despite their lackluster doubles performances, the Women of Troy did win their first match in a week and a half when they went against the Aztecs.
“It was a good win,” Gallien said. “It was good to get some momentum, and now we want to keep it going.”
Fans can help the team “keep the momentum” by showing up at Marks Stadium tomorrow afternoon.
Admission is free and there will be In-N-Out Burgers available for purchase.
The Women of Troy are 1-0 all-time against South Florida with their only other meeting coming in 1979 during the AIAW Nationals.