Sanchez takes national indoor tennis title

Senior Maria Sanchez was a force to be reckoned with at the ITA Indoor Championships this weekend, upsetting a higher-ranked opponent in the finals of the tournament and taking home first place, making her the national indoor champion.

No. 7 Sanchez defeated No. 2-seeded Jana Juricova of Cal in the final match with a 6-2, 3-6, 6-4 win, and took away the championship trophy from the defending champion.

“Jana’s a great player and has beaten me quite a few times, so I’m really happy to get this win,” Sanchez said. “It’s such a great feeling.”

USC coach Richard Gallien also expressed his happiness with a Trojan victory at the Indoor Championships, which took place at the site of the US Open in Flushing, N.Y.

“To have one of our players go to a tournament back East, with a different time zone and indoors, and then win is a real accomplishment,” Gallien said.

The Women of Troy were well represented in the tournament, with three other players participating in the tourney as well. The doubles pair of juniors Alison Ramos and Valeria Pulido made it to the quarterfinals of the tournament but was narrowly defeated by the No. 3-ranked pair from Clemson. Sophomore Danielle Lao also faced a loss in the singles round of 32 to No. 5 Denise Dy of Washington.

Gallien isn’t disheartened, however, by the team’s performance as a whole. In fact, he said he was proud of the Women of Troy’s performance at the Indoor Championships, in which only the top-ranked players in the country can participate.

“We had doubles team that will be ranked in the top 8 in the nation at the end of this, and there’re a lot of people who didn’t even get to play in this tourney,” Gallien said.

With the accompaniment of USC assistant coach West Nott, the women’s tennis team had a good showing at the ITA indoor championships as a whole. Gallien attributed a lot of the team’s success to Nott’s efforts.

“I feel like I owe a great debt to West. He does a super great job with the girls,” Gallien said.

With their last tournament out of the way until early next year, the Women of Troy will now get a chance to take a breather before they start Pac-10 play. The next time the team plays will be on Jan. 28 at the ITA Kick Off Weekend in Ann Arbor, Mich.