After dropping a match to crosstown rival UCLA this past weekend, the USC women’s tennis team looks to get back to its winning ways today against Baylor. The match will be the Women of Troy’s last non-conference contest before USC flies out to face Colorado in Boulder, Colo. for the first official match of Pac-12 conference play.
The No. 6 Women of Troy (9-3) fell to No. 3 UCLA, 5-2, on their home court last Friday. Though the loss was disappointing, it was an improvement from the last time these two teams matched up this season, when the Bruins swept the Women of Troy, 4-0, in the quarterfinals of the Intercollegiate Tennis Association National Team Indoor Championships in Charlottesville, Va. on Feb. 8.
USC’s top-ranked doubles pair, made up of juniors Zoë Scandalis and Giuliana Olmos, fell to UCLA’s top doubles pair, Robin Anderson and Jennifer Brady, 8-6. But Scandalis, ranked the 30th-best singles player in the country, beat No. 3 Anderson in singles play by a score of 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (6-1). Scandalis was named the Pac-12 Player of the Week on March 5 for her strong play the week before.
Scandalis played on court one against UCLA in place of junior Sabrina Santamaria, whose season was recently cut short by an ACL tear. Santamaria also previously paired with senior Kaitlyn Christian on court one in doubles, after the duo won the national championship together last year. USC is still adjusting to the loss of Santamaria and will look to work out the kinks in the lineup against Baylor today.
The Baylor Lady Bears come into Marks Stadium ranked as the No. 18 team in the country, sporting a 9-4 record. The Lady Bears are led by doubles pair Victoria Kisialeva and Blair Shankle, ranking as the 42nd-best tandem in the country and owning a 9-1 record in match play so far this year. On the singles side, 38-ranked Kiah Generette leads the Lady Bears with an 8-3 individual record.
Some members of USC’s women’s team were spectators at Marks Stadium on Sunday, when the men’s squad took on Baylor’s men’s team. The Trojans were able to pull off a 5-2 win over the 12th-ranked Bears.
The Women of Troy’s only other losses this season also came at the ITA National Team Indoor Tournament at the hands of the Florida Gators, ranked No. 2 in the country according to the most recent ITA poll. The Women of Troy did come away from the tournament with a signature win over Alabama, however, currently ranked fourth in the nation. Other notable wins for USC in the early season include a victory over No. 24 Texas as well as No. 16 Cal.
Though Cal and UCLA are both a part of the Pac-12, those matches are considered non-conference matches as they happened in tournaments and not standard conference play.
Along with USC, UCLA and Cal, Stanford will be an early-season contender for the conference championship. Stanford is ranked ninth in the country and doesn’t play USC until hosting the Women of Troy on April 5. After going undefeated in Pac-12 play last year, the Women of Troy look to repeat as undefeated conference champions before heading into the NCAA Tournament.
USC’s match against Baylor begins at 1:30 p.m. today at Marks Stadium.
It will be the last match at home for the Women of Troy until March 28, when they return from a series of Pac-12 road trips to host Oregon.