After garnering their first Pac-10 win last week, the USC women’s tennis team will battle against the No. 58 Fresno State today before it heads to Malibu, Calif. on Saturday for a match against Pepperdine.
Despite a rough start to singles against Washington, the Women of Troy (8-2, 1-0) showed their usual top form in closing out the Huskies 6-1 on the heels of senior Maria Sanchez and freshman Kaitlyn Christian.
In doubles, specifically, the Sanchez-Christian combo has risen to No. 20 in the nation after starting out No. 80 at the outset of the season.
The development of Christian has helped supplement USC’s talent at the top, along with Sanchez and junior Danielle Lao. Since taking over the third slot in singles, Christian has shown great poise against better competition with her only loss coming at the hands of UCLA’s top player, Andrea Remnyse.
Although Fresno State has been a powerhouse in recent years, they only enter the week at 3-5 on the year. Before they face USC, the Bulldogs will have to travel to Westwood, which could prove to do them in when they play the Women of Troy.
“In the past they have been a top-20 team and for about eight years running they were nasty,” USC coach Richard Gallien said. “Not to say this year they shouldn’t be taken lightly, but we are looking for a good win on Thursday.”
Fresno State does boast No. 77 Lucia Battle in the top singles spot, as she looks to take down the nation’s No. 2 player in Maria Sanchez.
Pepperdine will prove to be more of a challenge against USC, coming in at 6-2 on the season. While the Waves don’t jump out at you statistically, they’ve been able to grit out tough victories against Texas and San Diego (both USC victims) led by senior Anamika Bhargava.
“The match, especially being at Pepperdine, is a prickly one,” Gallien said. “We’re really going to have to watch out [on Saturday].”