Over the weekend, the USC women’s tennis team traveled to Columbia, S.C. to compete in the ITA Kick Off Weekend. In the tournament, the Women of Troy fell to Clemson 4-2 on Friday and swept Oklahoma 7-0 on Saturday. Following their recent matches, the Trojans now sit at 3-2 this season.
Against Clemson, USC came out fighting early, securing the doubles point with both teams winning their respective matches. Although the Trojans dominated in doubles, the team was inconsistent in its singles matches. Only sophomore Becca Weissmann won her match, and Clemson ultimately took home the win.
“From the beginning, coming out on the court, even prior to the match, the energy was just great and I could feel it,” Weissmann said. “That definitely translated into doubles. [Gabby Smith] and I had a great doubles match, and coming into singles I felt really great about my energy, and from there I honed in and zoned in and I felt really great throughout.”
Hungry for a win, the Women of Troy looked unstoppable against Oklahoma. The Trojans posses an all-time record of 3-0 against the Sooners. The team got off to a hot start picking up the doubles point easily and then followed by sweeping the singles. Weissmann secured the first win, which was quickly followed by senior Madison Westby winning her match 6-3.
“I don’t think anything really changed,” Westby said. “We came out to Clemson with a lot of energy; that was our main goal — to have a lot of energy and start out strong. We did that in the Clemson match, we just unfortunately didn’t come out on top. But we still liked how we competed and so we just made an effort to do the same thing the next day.”
According to coach Alison Swain, the Women of Troy were able to rebound against Oklahoma after analyzing their first match.
“We talked about those momentum shifts after the match, and we talked about being really focused and on it when we’re trying to close things out,” Swain said. “[Westby’s] match was a great example of that — her match went three sets against Clemson. Against Oklahoma she finished her match and got the win in two sets and really closed it out well. Those kinds of things make a big difference and that was a big improvement for our team into day two.”
The team has two and a half weeks until their next game. Swain plans to make the most of the training time available.
“We’ve played five matches. Everybody has a sense of where they’re at, how they want to improve, and so this training block gives us some time to work on those things,” Westby said. “That started today, and Chris and I put together a three-week plan for the girls. Number one, we’ll make sure everybody’s healthy, number two we’ll push our fitness, and number three work on some tactical things to implement before our matches in late February.”
Westby already knows how she wants to improve in the next few weeks.
“Going forward with our next three-week training block, I’d really focus on having a higher first serve percentage, so that’s my goal before the next match,” she said.
The team will play its next match at San Diego State — whose team currently sits at 3-0 on the season — on Feb. 16.
Instead of scouting San Diego State, Swain prefers to keep the focus on her own team.
“It’s good to know some information about the teams you’re playing, but it’s more important to know where we are, and how we want to get better,” Swain said. “It’s really about focusing on us and how we can take our tennis to the next level, and a lot of that is how we’re competing. We’re going to work on that in the next three weeks, and if we’re doing that well, we’re going to have a great match with San Diego.”