The USC women’s tennis team visited Eugene, Ore., on Sunday with one goal in mind: clinching the Pac-12 championship. With an impressive performance in singles play, the Women of Troy emerged with their Pac-12 record unblemished and a second consecutive conference championship secured.
In the only matchup this year between the Women of Troy (20-2, 9-0 Pac-12) and the Ducks, Oregon, ranked No. 64 entering the day, put up a fight in the early goings before being overwhelmed by the USC’s singles play.
USC head coach Richard Gallien was especially impressed with the performance, considering the travel constraints his players have gone through in a recent stretch of three straight away away matches following grueling tests at home against Cal and Stanford.
“I’m really proud of how well the girls are doing,” Gallien said. “They’re functioning at a high level while staying on top of all of their respective things.”
Using three new pairing in doubles play, the Women of Troy were only able to emerge victorious at the 3 spot, and thus gave the Ducks (12-10, 1-9 Pac-12) their first point of the day. USC picked up the pace in singles play however, led by sophomore Sabrina Santamaria, who won her 20th straight singles victory by beating Oregon’s Patricia Skowronski 6-0. Sophomore Zoe Scandalis, who was playing at the 1 spot for the Trojans, followed Santamaria’s lead with a 6-2, 6-3victory over Oregon’s Nicole Long.
On court six, freshman Ellie Yates was near perfect, winning her match 6-0, 6-1 over Rabea Stueckemann. Sophomore Gabriella DeSimone and junior Kaitlyn Christian sealed the win for USC, winning 6-1, 6-3 and 6-1, 6-4 respectively, and in the process secured a Pac-12 title for the second consecutive year. Moreover, the win against the Ducks gave the Women of Troy their second consecutive 20-win season and their third 20-win season in the last 5 years.
USC entered the matchup as the only team in the Pac-12 with an undefeated conference record. Sunday’s victory now sets up a pivotal conference showdown with rival UCLA on Thursday in the final regular season Pac-12 matchup for both teams. The game will be televised on the Pac-12 network and will also serve as the final home match at Marks Stadium this year.