The No. 6 USC women’s tennis team is back in action today as they host No. 44 Pepperdine at Marks Stadium.
The Women of Troy (2-0, 0-0 Pac-12) are coming off back-to-back victories that helped them take home the title at the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Kick-Off Weekend tournament last weekend. In that tournament, USC battled North Texas in the first round, coming out on top by a score of 4-0. In the championship match, the Women of Troy swept the St. Mary’s Gaels, 4-0. USC dominated throughout the tournament, not losing a single match in singles or doubles.
Juniors Zoë Scandalis and Giuliana Olmos, the seventh-ranked doubles pair in the country, cruised through the weekend without losing a single game.
“Me and my partner played great,” Scandalis said. “We had just won a tournament in Las Vegas so we were pretty high on confidence. I think that kind of transferred over, and we were just having fun.”
By winning the tournament, USC earned one of 16 spots in next months’ ITA National Indoor Team Championships in Charlottesville, Va.
Meanwhile, Pepperdine’s squad is coming into the matchup untested, as it did not compete in an ITA Kick-Off Weekend tournament.
Though Pepperdine hasn’t played a dual match yet this season, the Women of Troy know they have their work cut out for them.
“I know all of their kids and I’ve seen them play, so I would say this is the best team they’ve had in the last six or seven years,” said USC head coach Richard Gallien. “So we better be ready.”
The Waves are led by Lorraine Guillermo, who is ranked No. 19 in the nation in singles and No. 39 with her doubles partner, Ale Granillo. Pepperdine has five nationally ranked singles players to USC’s four, though USC has three ranked doubles teams to Pepperdine’s two.
USC’s highest-ranked doubles team, comprised of two newcomers in freshman Zoë Katz and senior transfer Brynn Boren, sits at No. 3 in the nation, while junior Sabrina Santamaria is ranked 13th in the country in singles.
Boren, who transferred from Tennessee this year, was sidelined by an injury during the ITA Kick-Off Weekend tournament, but will return to action in today’s match.
Though the teams have the same number of ranked players, USC still sits 38 spots ahead of Pepperdine in the rankings and comes into the match with intense momentum. Still, Gallien insists that the Women of Troy will need to stay focused.
“I think sometimes when in the back of your mind you know you’re going to win, that’s a little dangerous,” Gallien said. “I expect us to be more focused and more hungry for the duration [of the match].”
The action begins Thursday at 3 p.m. at Marks Stadium.