USC’s women’s tennis team suffered its first losses of the 2014 season this weekend, falling to No. 5 UCLA and No. 2 Florida in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association National Women’s Team Indoor Championship.
Before being ousted by the Bruins, the No. 6 Women of Troy (4-2) pulled off a dramatic win over No. 12 Alabama in the first round.
USC dropped the doubles point to open up the match for the first time this season, putting itself in an early hole. Senior Brynn Boren tied the match up with a singles win, but USC fell behind 3-1 when juniors Gabriella DeSimone and Sabrina Santamaria suffered uncharacteristic losses.
After that, the team clawed its way to victory with three straight singles wins by juniors Giuliana Olmos and Zoë Scandalis and sophomore Ellie Yates, who clinched the match for the Women of Troy with a 6-3, 6-2 win over Alabama’s Natalia Maynetto on court six.
The Women of Troy couldn’t carry their momentum into the match against the Bruins. They struggled early, dropping the doubles point for only the second time this season. Santamaria and senior Kaitlyn Christian, who won the NCAA championship as a pair last season, were handed their second consecutive loss together. They fell to UCLA’s Robin Anderson and Jennifer Brady, who are currently ranked No. 1 in the nation together. The doubles team of Christian and Santamaria is currently ranked No. 33 in the nation by the ITA after being nearly unbeatable last season.
No. 13 Santamaria, who was ranked No. 1 in the nation in singles for a good deal of last season, also lost her second straight singles match — this time to UCLA’s Anderson, who currently sits atop the ITA’s leaderboard in singles. Losses by junior Giuliana Olmos and Yates finished off the match, as the Bruins swept the Women of Troy in dominant fashion.
The tough loss sent USC to the consolation round, where the team faced No. 2 Florida. The Gators had been upended by No. 16 Northwestern the day before. Santamaria and Christian emerged from their temporary slump, clinching the doubles point for the Women of Troy with a tight 7-5 win over Florida’s No. 32 squad of Sofie Oyen and Belinda Woolcock.
Despite winning the doubles point for the first time in the tournament, USC couldn’t hold off the Gators’ barrage of attackers in singles. Yates and Boren were the first to fall. Santamaria lost next, capping a winless singles streak in the tournament. Florida earned a 4-1 win when 23rd-ranked Alex Cercone defeated USC’s unranked Scandalis.
The action this weekend handed USC its first consecutive losses since March 2010.
The Women of Troy will aim to bounce back this week, as they prepare to face UC Irvine on Saturday, Feb. 15 at 11 a.m.