After a resounding defeat at the hands of archrival UCLA, the USC women’s tennis team looks to start another winning streak in its Pac-10 opener at home against Washington.
Despite their recent hiccup, the Women of Troy (7-2) have been a dominant force all season long, led by one of the nation’s best players in senior Maria Sanchez.
Facing Washington (8-4), Sanchez will have her hands full in her singles match, squaring off against No. 6 Denise Dy.
Though Sanchez has notched victories against four top-10 players this season, how she comes out of the gate after a taxing match against McCall Jones on Wednesday will be critical.
Sanchez won’t be the only one with a challenge on her hands, with sophomore Danielle Lao matched up against No. 27 Venise Chan. Lao suffered a rare defeat against the Bruins, going down quietly in what could have been her worst match of the season.
“If [Lao and Pamela Montez] played ten times it’s going to maybe be 5-5 or 6-4,” USC coach Richard Gallien said. “Sometimes it’s one of those things that you aren’t as good as you think you are nor as bad as you think.”
Freshman Kaitlyn Christian had a rough outing of her own against UCLA’s top player, No. 64 Andrea Remnyse.
Although her eight-match winning streak was snapped against UCLA’s Montez, sophomore Valeria Pulido had been playing very strong.
A win for junior Alison Ramos would also be a huge boost not just for the team, but also for her confidence moving forward.
“We may be a thin team, but we are a tight squad in terms of chemistry,” Gallien said.
Although Washington isn’t nearly as talented as USC, the duo of Chan and Dy, both pose the biggest challenge to coach Gallien’s group.
“I think we’re going to come out really well [against Wash.],” Gallien said. “Our girls will fight on Friday and I expect no one to hang their head with a tough game ahead.”
First serve is at 1:30 p.m. at Marks Stadium.