The USC women’s tennis team has reached the round of 16 in the NCAA tournament after taking down Fairfield and Vanderbilt.
In the first round of the tournament, USC (22-3) took advantage of playing on their home court as they beat4 Fairfield (14-7) 4-0 at Marks Stadium on Friday. The Women of Troy raced out to an early lead against the Stags after taking the doubles’ point behind the the stellar play the No. 3 squad of sophomore Kaitlyn Christian and freshman Sabrina Santamaria. The duo posted an 8-0 shutout on court 1, and on court 3 the tandem of senior Alison Ramos and junior Danielle Lao did the same against the Fairfield pair of Jackson-Pirrello.
During singles play, USC didn’t notch a win on the first three courts because the bottom of their order finished the match before they had a chance. The Women of Troy received a great outing from the second half of their singles lineup leaving No. 13 Zoe Scandalis one set short of recording her first true NCAA tournament victory (she was up 6-0, 5-0 on court 1).
Breaking through first was freshman Gabriella DeSimone on court 5 as she posted a dominant 6-0, 6-1 score line to put USC up 2-0 on the day. Rounding out the 4-0 score were Ramos and the 87th-ranked Chrstian, who combined for just one dropped set between the two.
On Saturday, the Women of Troy took down the Vanderbilt Commodores 4-1 in their last home match of the season. USC once again started off strong out of the gate stealing the doubles point behind wins on each court, though Vanderbilt put up a fight on both court 1 and 2 stretching both matches out. Court 1 provided the Christian-Santamaria pairing with a formidable challenge from the No. 30 pair of Wu-Mira as they eked out an 8-6 victory to end the doubles round.
In the singles portion, Vanderbilt (17-8) provided stiff competition across the board, but USC’s depth proved to be too much for the Commodores.
Junior Valeria Pulido started off singles with a blowout victory against Vandy’s Megan Gornet with a 6-0, 6-0 shutout. Vanderbilt struck back quickly, winning their only match on the day behind Marie Casares’s defeat of Sabrina Santamaria on court 3 6-2, 6-3.
Juniro Danielle Lao struck back in second singles, taking down the 94th-ranked Lauren Mira 6-2, 6-3, and Kaitlyn Christian finished up the match with a comeback victory over Ashleigh Antal 3-6, 6-3, 6-1 on court 4.
Scandalis survived a tough first set tiebreaker against No. 42 Jackie Wu before her match was cut short and Gabriella DeSimone had her hands full on court 5 just before the day was over.
The Women of Troy will look to stay in top form against the Baylor Bears on Thursday in Athens, Ga.