USC junior Zoë Scandalis was named the Pac-12 Player of the Week yesterday for her impressive play between Feb. 25 and March 3. It is the second time in as many weeks that a player from USC has earned the conference award, after freshman Zoë Katz won it last week.
Scandalis, who is ranked No. 30 in the nation by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association, pulled off two three-set singles wins in the past week and went undefeated in doubles play with her partner, junior Giuliana Olmos.
Last Saturday, Scandalis clinched a 4-3 victory for the No. 6 Women of Troy over then-No. 26 Texas.
In that match, USC got off to a hot start, winning all three doubles matches to go ahead 1-0 heading into singles play. Scandalis and Olmos, the sixth-ranked doubles team in the country, defeated their opponents 8-6. But the Longhorns roared back in singles to make things interesting.
Texas tied up the score when USC junior Sabrina Santamaria was forced to retire due to injury, which ended up being a season-ending ACL tear for the reigning NCAA doubles champion.
The teams traded points until the score got deadlocked at 3-3, leaving the fate of the match up to Scandalis.
After dropping the first set 7-6 (5) to Texas’ No. 77 Ratnika Batra, Scandalis put together a comeback victory, winning the next two sets 6-3, 6-4 to earn the Women of Troy their ninth victory of the season.
Before the Women of Troy headed to Texas, they faced No. 37 Saint Mary’s at home on Feb. 27. In that match, Scandalis and Olmos led their opponents 6-2 in doubles before their teammates clinched the doubles point for USC.
In singles play, Scandalis was once again the last to finish. Though USC had already clinched the victory, she was tied up with SMC’s No. 69 Jamie Pawid. Scandalis took the first set 6-3, but dropped the second set by the same school. Since the match was already decided, they opted to play a tiebreaker rather than a third set.
With both teams looking on, Scandalis and Pawid battled it out in a tight tiebreak. Eventually, Scandalis came out on top, 10-8, and USC won the match 5-2.
Scandalis has won a team-best five straight singles matches for the Women of Troy and holds a 7-1 record in dual matches this season. She has steadily climbed the national rankings after being left out of the ITA top 125 to open the season.
Scandalis and Olmos have also continued to impress the ITA, reaching a high of No. 4 in the nation earlier this season. Despite being the highest-ranked doubles squad on the team, the duo remains stalwart on court three.
Scandalis will need to keep up her impressive play this week, as USC takes on rival UCLA on Friday. Santamaria’s injury leaves a gaping hole at the top singles and doubles slot, which will cause a shift in the lineup.
The whole team will need to step up in order to beat the No. 3 Bruins. The match is set to begin at 3 p.m. tomorrow.