Women of Troy to clash with rival UCLA

In its regular season finale at Marks Stadium, the USC women’s tennis team looks to exact revenge on a UCLA squad that handed it a 5-2 loss earlier in the year.

Coming off a 4-3 win at Pepperdine, the No. 6 Bruins (17-5, 6-1) have vaulted themselves into the top-10. The last time USC (14-6, 4-3) faced them, the Bruins were ranked No. 17.

As with any matchup against UCLA, there is added incentive and pressure to perform well, something the coaching staff is well aware of.

“With our seniors playing their last home match, I always worry about emotions staying in check,” said USC coach Richard Gallien. “If we can start off even keel and just get into a tough wrestling match, I believe we have every chance to win.”

Following a loss last week to Arizona State’s Kelcy McKenna, senior Maria Sanchez once again faces a tough match against No. 60 McCall Jones. Although Jones has struggled lately, going 5-5 in her last 10 matches, the BYU transfer took Sanchez to a second-set tiebreaker in their previous matchup.

Freshman Kaitlyn Christian will be back in action this week against UCLA, after injuring herself during practice against Arizona State last weekend. Christian will square off against Andrea Remynse.

Although Christian lost the last time she played Remynse, she has matured into a strong force for USC, sitting at No. 124 nationally with a 23-8 record. With a 9-3 record in the third slot, Christian has become accustomed to seeing opposing team’s top competition.

Sophomore Danielle Lao, who currently ranks No. 21, is matched up against No. 43 Noelle Hickey, who defeated her 6-3, 6-3 in Westwood earlier in the year. Hickey is coming off a loss last week in Malibu.

Sophomore Valeria Pulido is  back at full health after fighting off injury the last few weeks. She will look to break a three-match skid against UCLA’s Pamela Montez, who took her down 6-3, 6-1 in their previous matchup.

Along with Sanchez, seniors Cristala Andrews and Lyndsay Kinstler will each get the start against the Bruins on Friday. Andrews will face 20-1 Carling Seguso on court six, while Kinstler will team with Danielle Lao to take on the doubles pair of Montez and Seguso in the third doubles spot.

First serve is at 3 p.m. at Marks Stadium.