After a decisive victory against No. 8 Texas last weekend, USC women’s tennis team dives back into Pac-12 play as it makes its first trips to visit Utah on Friday before heading to Colorado on Sunday.
The Women of Troy (12-2, 1-0) will brave the high altitude this weekend as they spar with two conference foes in unfamiliar territory. After dropping two spots in the ITA rankings, the Women of Troy have started their climb to the top, once again rising to No. 3 in the most recent polls.
Along with their top-three position as a team, USC also boasts four players among the nation’s top-100 singles including No. 18 junior Danielle Lao, a pair of freshmen in No. 21 Zoe Scandalis and No. 31 Sabrina Santamaria, and sophomore Kaitlyn Christian rounding out the quarter at No. 64.
Playing their fifth game against an opponent ranked among the nation’s top-10 teams, the Women of Troy started off strong, capturing the ever-elusive doubles point behind the strong play of the No. 4 squad of Christian/Santamaria and Scandalis/Pulido.
Riding the momentum of their doubles win, USC jumped out of the gates in the singles portion of the match with junior Valeria Pulido doubling up on wins Wednesday afternoon, notching her fifth straight win out of the No. 6 slot to put the Women of Troy up 2-0 in the match.
Following Pulido’s strong victory, USC got a dazzling effort from their two freshmen to close out the Longhorns early as Sabrina Santamaria scored a victory against Texas’ Noel Scott on court three and Zoe Scandalis took down No. 24 Aeriel Ellis in first singles to clinch the match 4-0.
While the Longhorns would recoup the next three points of the match with Kaitlyn Christian forced to retire in the midst of her third set against Cierra Gaytan-Leach following losses by Lao and freshman Gabriella DeSimone, their victories were in vain as the result of the match would remain unchanged.
Coming back to the West Coast, the Women of Troy will look to pick up some steam on the last leg of their road trip before returning home for the next two weeks.
Against Utah (8-5, 0-2), USC will force a team fresh off a victory against rival BYU and one looking for its first Pac-12 win of the season. After falling to perennial powers Stanford and Cal to open up the conference season, the Utes will once again have their hands full with the Women of Troy. Led by No. 63 Anastasia Putilina, Utah’s set to break their winless streak against USC as they are 0-2 in the all-time series, albeit both losses coming in California.
After facing the Utes, the Women of Troy will visit another mountain school to square off against Colorado in their first trip to Boulder. Sitting at 7-6, along with an 0-2 Pac-12 record, the Buffs, like Utah, have fallen to Stanford and Cal at the beginning of the year, but are coming off of a 7-0 win against Metro State. Looking for its first win against USC, Colorado hopes the altitude will give it the advantage against the Women of Troy.
Returning home after their three-game road trip will provide the Women of Troy with a nice break before they head north to take on Cal and Stanford in the coming weeks. Sitting at No. 3, USC is in an unfamiliar position as the favorite in almost every match and they will look to stay the course over the long, arduous Pac-12 season.