USC women’s tennis prepares for two Pac-12 weekend matchups

The Trojans will face two Pac-12 teams this weekend, heading to Washington to take on Washington State on Friday and Washington on Sunday. The weekend in Washington will be a building time for the team after taking a small step upwards in the Oracle/ITA rankings over the weekend.

This weekend, the Trojans will start off against a program that remains winless in Pac-12 conference play. Washington State is 9-8 overall on their season, but sits at 0-3 in the conference. The Cougars have struggled throughout March, losing five meets in a row and taking difficult 4-3 losses on the road at Colorado and Utah. The team also does not boast any nationally ranked singles players or doubles teams.

Washington has fared better on the season, retaining a No. 35 ranking nationally with a 13-4 overall record. The Huskies are 4-6 in Pac-12 conference play after a dominant weekend of road victories, taking down Utah 4-0 and Colorado 5-2. Two Washington singles players sit in the bottom tier of national rankings, with Miki Kobayashi at No. 111 and Stacey Fung at No. 118. The pairing of Kobayashi and Nour Abbes is ranked No. 39 nationally.

The Trojans held onto their national rankings over the weekend, with several teams breaking into the top tier of national play. The most recent national rankings were released on Tuesday, moving the Trojans up one slot to the No. 39 national ranking. The move came after USC beat out Loyola Marymount in a 4-3 victory last week. Three of the top 25 teams in the rankings are Pac-12 teams, led by No. 8 Stanford and No. 14 California.

Three Trojans also remain in the top national rankings for singles after rankings for both singles and doubles were released last week. Junior Gabby Smith moved up five places in the overall rankings, earning a spot at No. 20. The week saw drops in rankings for both sophomore Jessica Failla and senior Zoë Katz, with Failla falling to No. 47 and Katz falling to No. 96.

Meanwhile, four Trojan duos remain in the top 50 teams in the nation for doubles.

Failla and sophomore Rianna Valdes took a major leap in rankings as they moved up from No. 75 to No. 33, while Valdes and Westby found their way into the rankings for the first time to tie for No. 74. Katz and Smith dropped to No. 34, while Kulikove and Westby also fell three slots, taking No. 67.

This weekend will allow the Trojans to defend their national rankings and to continue to cement their place in the conference early in Pac-12 play.