Women of Troy aim for postseason championship

The No. 18 USC women’s tennis team kicks off its postseason push Thursday with a trip to Ojai, Calif., to compete for the 2010 Pac-10 championships.

The Women of Troy (13-9, 5-3) finished Pac-10 action Wednesday morning with a 3-4 loss to No. 12 Stanford (20-1, 8-0). The Women of Troy and the Cardinal were tied at 3-3 in their match-up last month, with doubles play suspended because of rain.

Since the result of the match become a deciding factor in the conference’s determination of the 2010 Pac-10 champion, the teams wrapped up their match before beginning their individual and doubles competitions for the weekend.

But Stanford had the last word and dominated every match. The Cardinal swept all three of USC’s doubles pairs, 8-2, 8-3, 8-2.

Despite being taken down by Stanford, USC has a weekend full of opportunities to defeat some of its Pac-10 foes. Conference individual crowns are on the line in Ojai, with action beginning today and running through the title matches Sunday.

USC has three Women of Troy lined up for the Pac-10 singles championship bracket and another three  playing on the invitational side.

In the mix for the morning’s first-round singles championship play are sophomore Alison Ramos, freshman Valeria Pulido and senior Sarah Fansler. Juniors Cristala Andrews, Lyndsay Kinstler and Leyla Entkehabi will partake in invitational play. Ramos is seeded No. 5 in her draw, while Andrews is seeded No. 4 in her bracket.

In the doubles realm, which kicks off Friday morning, freshman Danielle Lao and teammate Ramos will compete in the Pac-10 doubles championship along with Kinstler and Fansler, and Pulido and Andrews are tabbed for invitational doubles play.

Singles competition at the               Pac-10’s is made up of 32 contestants, and doubles action starts with 16.

Singles and doubles rankings were also released earlier this week, with junior Maria Sanchez leading the way at No. 2 in singles and three other Women of Troy well settled in the nation’s top 125: No. 26 Ramos, No. 30 Lao and No. 103 Pulido.

In doubles, Sanchez is also ranked on three different doubles teams with Lao at No. 46, Kinstler at No. 61 and Pulido at No. 73.

Sanchez, however, will not compete in the individual or doubles tournaments this weekend because of a stress fracture in her ankle that needs rest, but she will be cheering for her teammates on the sideline.

“It’s a great opportunity for them to get a ton of matches in,” Sanchez said.

Despite the excitment, USC still knows there are tests ahead.

“We are very excited to play this weekend,” Pulido said. “Right now we still have plenty to look forward to — we just have to stay motivated.”