USC looks to extend strong singles play

The USC women’s tennis team is holding tight to its No. 9 ranking as it rolls undefeated into its fifth home dual match of the year. The Women of Troy (4-0) are set to host the No. 40 Pepperdine Waves (1-2) at 1:30 p.m. today at Marks Stadium.

Unbeaten · All four Women of Troy singles players, including junior Maria Sanchez, above, hold a perfect 4-0 record early in the season. - Amaresh Sunduran Kuppuswamy | Daily Trojan

So far, USC has had an easy time with its competition. The Women of Troy won their last two dual matches last weekend in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association qualifying Kick-Off tournament, first versus No. 60 San Diego and then versus No. 35 Auburn in the final round.

In addition, USC’s nationally ranked singles players have yet to lose a singles match this year. No. 8 Maria Sanchez, No. 18 Danielle Lao, No. 37 Valeria Pulido and No. 39 Alison Ramos are all 4-0 in singles play.

“We’re feeling real confident now, but we’re still super eager to compete so we’re looking to go in hungry and fired up, taking nothing for granted, so that we can stay undefeated,” Lao said. “If we can do that, we’ll continue to play the good tennis we’ve been playing and hopefully be able to build and get better as the season goes on and gets tougher.”

Although Pepperdine is a non-conference opponent, the Women of Troy look to build upon its winning start.

The lineup for the match includes six singles matches and three doubles matches. The lineup is not yet official, but the Women of Troy’s singles lineup is expeted to include Sanchez, Ramos, Lao, Pulido and juniors Leyla Entekhabi and Cristala Andrews.

For doubles play, Sanchez is expected to be paired with junior Lyndsay Kinstler, with Ramos and Lao and Pulido and Andrews rounding out the doubles pairs.

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 best of seven points wins the overall match.

USC coach Richard Gallien’s alma mater Pepperdine is coming off its first victory of the season against No. 41 University of Nevada Las Vegas last weekend. USC has won the past 12 meetings with the Waves. Pepperdine last won in 2001 with a 4-3 decision.

“I am excited for this match mainly because I feel like we are on a good roll,” Gallien said. “I have a lot of respect for the Pepperdine team, and I expect a tough fight. It’s our last chance to compete before next week, so our girls are pumped.”