At home last weekend, the No. 16 Women of Troy took down St. Mary’s and Pepperdine to match their best start to a season since 2007 with a 5-0 record.
The two matches provided USC with a nice warm-up for the ITA National Indoor Championships this upcoming weekend in Virginia.
Playing against the Lady Gaels on Thursday, the Women of Troy dominated from the first set, sweeping all three doubles matches and repeating the feat after winning the six singles matches as well.
Court two held host to the game of the day as junior Danielle Lao had to stave off a late comeback by St. Mary’s Jenny Jullien. After defeating Jullien 6-2 in the first set, Lao, who ranks 42nd nationally, faltered 3-6 in the next set. In a thrilling tiebreaker, Jullien pushed the USC junior to the brink going up 6-2 in the final set, but Lao proved too much for Lady Gaels’ 68th-ranked sophomore rattling off eight out of the last 10 points to secure the victory.
The pair of freshmen for the Women of Troy seemed to have no trouble dispatching of their opponents with No. 19 Zoë Scandalis easily defeating SMC’s No. 82 Catherine Isip 6-1, 6-0 on court one and No. 18 Sabrina Santamaria taking down Jade Frampton in straight sets on court thre
On Saturday, the Women of Troy recovered from a slow start all around to sweep Pepperdine 7-0.
Despite falling into a 5-2 hole early on in the first set, Scandalis showed her resolve by storming back to force a tiebreaker against No. 72 Ale Granillo. Though the freshman found herself once again staring at defeat down 1-4 in the first set tiebreaker, she would once again come back to take the first set 7-6 (5). Granillo was trounced by Scandalis 6-1 in the second set to round out her victory.
“It was good to see Zoë come back,” USC coach Richard Gallien said. “You’d prefer to not have to be in a position to come back, but she did a good job of picking her game up after a slow start.”
Santamaria and freshman Gabriella DeSimone added to the win total with victories on court three and five, respectively.
Danielle Lao proved triumphant against Khunpak Issara in second singles, 6-3, 6-4, in a hard-fought match that saw the USC junior constantly working for her points.
In the final match of the day, senior Alison Ramos fought back from a one-set deficit against Pepperdine’s Megan Moore to steal a win in three sets, 4-6, 6-2, 6-2. Despite being on court six, both players hit the ball extremely well and it made for an exciting affair.
“Alison hits more winners than anyone else on the team when she gets in a groove,” Gallien said. “She lost the first set but didn’t get discouraged and came back strong to get the win.”
With this past weekend going as planned, the Women of Troy look to be hitting their stride as they head in to Virginia riding a five-game winning streak to start the year. For the younger girls, the ITA Indoor Championship should be a great way to continue to gain experience and as a for the team, a strong performance could really put them on the map.