The USC women’s tennis team is sending nine of its 10 players to compete today in the 2009 Wilson/ITA Southwest Regional held at the Barnes Tennis Center in San Diego, Calif.
In contrast to the Trojans’ last ITA tournament, the Riviera, which involved a selection of Division-I players throughout the nation, this tournament focuses on their region, with competition from two Arizona schools and six Southern California schools.
Junior Maria Sanchez topped the singles and the doubles competition during last fall’s Regional play. And this weekend, Sanchez is hoping for the same kind of result.
During last year’s Regionals, three of the four players in the semifinals were from USC, which later led to an all-USC finals matchup between Sanchez and then-freshman Ali Ramos.
Although playing against a teammate happens mostly in the fall during individual tournaments, Sanchez said it’s never easy.
“It’s always tough playing a teammate because you want them to do well, but then you want to win when you play,” Sanchez said.
Two weeks ago, freshman Danielle Lao impressed her teammates during the Riviera by winning seven straight singles matches. Lao said she feels some pressure to produce again this weekend.
“People now know who you are and expect to see good things. That pressure is great enough to motivate me to perform and compete well,” Lao said.
Meanwhile, the other freshman on the team, Valeria Pulido, will play with the defending doubles champion Sanchez, while Lao will play with junior Lyndsay Kinstler. Juniors Leyla Entekhabi and Cristie Andrews and senior Sarah Fansler and Ramos will also represent the doubles teams.