Coming into this weekend, USC coach Richard Gallien knew that his group of girls would have a tough homestand as they were set to square off against the No. 10 California Golden Bears and No. 2 Stanford Cardinal.
On Friday against No. 10 Cal (12-4, 3-0), senior Maria Sanchez had her 22-match winning streak snapped by Jana Juricova, who was seeking revenge for a defeat at the hands of Sanchez during last year’s ITA National Indoor Championship singles championship. Juricova, a junior, dug out of a 1-0 hole to take the last two sets 6-2, 6-1 from Sanchez, extending her singles match winning streak to 15.
Christian has made great strides throughout the season and her continued development was evident this weekend against top competition.
Although she would lose to No. 11 Nicole Gibbs 6-3, 7-6 (6-3) on Saturday, Christian displayed great poise and in the face of defeat, she responded accordingly.
Facing Stanford (16-0, 4-0) on a cloudy Saturday afternoon, only Sanchez seeking revenge for her past day’s loss taking down No. 2 Hilary Barte on court one proved to be a bright spot, as the Cardinal would finish the day up 6-1.
Despite falling down 3-0 in the first set, Sanchez would rally to win 12 of the next 15 sets, never relinquishing momentum to keep USC within striking distance in the match.
For the rest of the Women of Troy, fatigue, both mentally and physically, seemed to set in, especially with the injuries continuing to mount.
On court four, sophomore Valeria Pulido, returning from injury this weekend, was able to make it through her first match on Friday, a 6-4, 6-4 loss to Cal’s Anett Schutting, but her match against the Cardinal’s No. 21 Kristie Ahn would prove to be too stressful for Pulido’s foot as she would end up retiring 4-6, 6-0.
Battling through ailments of her own, No. 25 Danielle Lao has seen her recent struggles continue after losses against Cal and Stanford.
The junior’s losing streak, which has now reached three matches, has not-so-coincidentally corresponded with the Women of Troy’s three-match skid.
Her experience and winning ways was a catalyst early on for USC, but recently she has failed to properly complement the No. 1 Sanchez from her two spot.
Along with Ramos, senior Cristala Andrews also struggled to find victory, going down quietly to the Golden Bears’ Marina Cossou 6-2, 6-3, before putting in a spirited performance against Carolyn Mcveigh in a 4-6, 7-5, 1-0 (10-6) loss on Saturday.
With their match against Oregon looming, the No. 13 Women of Troy will look to get back to their winning ways as they hope to make strides in the Pac-10 with four conference games still ahead.