Women of Troy open dual meet season

After competing in tournaments down the coastline last weekend, the USC women’s tennis team will begin competition today, hosting their first dual match of the year.

The No. 9 nationally ranked Women of Troy will challenge the No. 50 Long Beach State 49ers today at Marks Stadium at 1:30 p.m. Last year, USC beat Long Beach State 7-0 during the spring season and is hoping to repeat that success.

Leader · Junior Maria Sanchez is ranked No. 8 headed into the season. - Photo courtesy of USC Sports Information

The seven-time defending Big West champion 49ers, however, also hold an impressive roster. Sophomore Rachel Manasse and freshman Jaklin Alawi made their debut in the doubles rankings at No. 58. The duo had a perfect 4-0 record in fall play, and won the Fullerton Invitational doubles championship.

But the Women of Troy are also coming out of a successful fall season. Eight players returned from the 2009 roster, which went undefeated in the Pac-10, claiming their first-ever conference crown and a 21-3 overall record.

Junior Maria Sanchez leads the way after pounding out a dominant fall season for the Trojans, holding a No. 8 singles ranking. Sanchez and the Women of Troy are looking for a fast start to their season.

“We are all just getting eager to start the season,” Sanchez said.

Sophomore Alison Ramos, who holds a No. 39 ranking in singles, echoed Sanchez’s anticipation for the dual season to begin.

“We’re just ready to compete,” Ramos said.

Two other Women of Troy have secured 2010 singles rankings, with freshmen Danielle Lao and Valeria Pulido weighing in a No. 18 and No. 37.

In the doubles scene, Sanchez and Pulido are teamed up with a No. 19 national rank.

The lineup for the match includes six singles matches and three doubles matches. The lineup is not yet official, but for singles play, it is expected to be Sanchez, senior Sarah Fansler, Ramos, Lao, Pulido and junior Leyla Entekhabi.

For doubles play, the lineup is expected to be Sanchez and junior Lyndsay Kinstler, Pulido and Fansler, and Ramos and Lao.

Each win for a singles match earns the team one team point, while the team that wins two out of three doubles matches gets a doubles point.

The teams will be notified this morning if the match is still on, depending on weather conditions. If there is bad weather, the match will be rescheduled for a later date. USC will also host UC Irvine on Friday at 1:30 p.m. at Marks Stadium.