Playing its last regular season matches at Marks Stadium this weekend, USC took down the Arizona Wildcats then defeated the shorthanded Sun Devils for a perfect 7-0 conference record.
Heading into a three-game road trip against the Pac-12’s elite teams, the Women of Troy are riding a nine-game winning streak and have matched their best streak since 2003. Still at No. 4 in the country and looking to move up in the rankings, USC boasts an 18-2 record on top of its unbeaten Pac-12 streak as well.
While they may have a tough time taking on Cal, Stanford and UCLA — who all rank in the top 10, with the Lady Bruins leading the pack at No. 1 — the Women of Troy have carved out an extremely successful season thus far.
Against the Wildcats, USC reverted back to its early season woes as the team started off the match losing the doubles point. Despite picking up a win on court 2 by way of the No. 52 Valeria Pulido and Zoë Scandalis pairing, the Women of Troy would drop matches at 3 and 1, with Natasha Marks and Lacey Smyth taking down the No. 2 duo of Kaitlyn Christian and Sabrina Santamaria 9-8 (7).
Freshman Scandalis, now ranked 15th in the nation, would prevail for the game-deciding victory against Smyth in first singles, but not before gutting out a 7-6 (5) first set. Once the match was decided, junior Danielle Lao also had a strong victory on court 2 and Christian shrugged off a first set loss to recover for a win on court 4.
On Saturday, the Women of Troy squared off against a short-handed, yet upset-minded Sun Devils squad.
Unlike its match against Arizona, USC took the first two doubles games after the match on court 3 was won by default. On top of the third doubles match, ASU also had to forfeit matches on courts 5 and court 6 for singles because of a plethora of injuries to the squad.
The long-anticipated rematch between Scandalis and ASU’s Jacqueline Cako was a dud since Cako was out with an injury, but in her place was Michelle Brycki who would take the match 7-6 (2), 6-4.
The Women of Troy would easily take the matches on courts 2 and 3, but in four singles Christian had her hands full with Leighann Sahagun. Despite losing the first set 0-6, Christian displayed her usual grittiness and came back to take the match 6-1, 1-0 (10-5) after an intense tiebreaker.
With these two wins in the bag, the Women of Troy can focus the team’s attention on their arduous road ahead. This road trip will go a long way toward solidifying USC’s place among the nation’s elite. With the season ending in Westwood, the Women of Troy will look to exact some revenge on their crosstown rivals and take their place as the top team in the Pac-12.