The USC women’s tennis team fought valiantly in Berkeley this weekend, but could not stave off No. 7 Cal in their 5-2 defeat.
USC came out strong in the match taking the doubles’ point from the Golden Bears with ease.
”It was a tough loss and the toughest losses for me are the matches that are winnable at some time during the match,” USC coach Richard Gallien said. “The positive would be that Cal is a really tough team and we almost beat them without two out of our top three players, while UCLA with their full team was two points away from defeat the day before.”
The nation’s top doubles team of junior Kaitlyn Christian and sophomore Sabrina Santamaria took down the Cal pairing of Lynn Chi and Anett Schutting, who rank 27th nationally, by a 8-5 margin. Overshadowing the match, though, was an injury to Santamaria that kept her out of the singles portion of the match.
Cal’s top player, Zsofi Susanyi, also missed her singles’ match after injuring herself in the team’s previous match against UCLA just a day prior. The two injuries deprived the crowd of a match between the top singles players in the country as Susanyi and Santamaria share the crown of being ranked No. 1.
Sophomore Zoë Scandalis also missed the match due to injury, and USC will look to get her back as soon as possible.
“Sabrina coming out for us really hurt, especially because she’s playing the best tennis of anyone in the country, but you can’t cry over spilled milk you just have to be ready for the next time you get out,” Gallien said. “It looks like a sprained ankle for Sabrina, and Zoë is almost done healing with what could’ve possibly been a stress fracture, but it looked like they got it early enough.”
On court two, seniors Danielle Lao and Valeria Pulido played a tough match against Fabikova and Susanyi that ended up in a 8-6 victory.
Sophomores Gabriella DeSimone and sophomore Giuliana Olmos handily defeated Davis and Posylkin 8-2 in the third slot to wrap up the doubles round.
Chi, who’s ranked No. 66, scored Cal’s first point of the match after defeating Olmos, who broke into the nation’s top 100 this week and now sits at No. 81. Olmos, who usually plays in the third slot, had to be shuffled around because of the injury and she went down quietly 4-6, 0-6.
Ranked No. 3 in the country, Lao could not stave off a gritty performance from Schutting, who ranks No. 30 in the country, at the top of singles. Filling in for Susanyi, Schutting defeated Lao, who also was replacing Santamaria on court one, 6-2, 2-6, 6-3.
After Alice Duranteau came back to defeat Pulido on court six, 2-6, 6-3, 6-0, USC received a much-needed victory from freshman Ellie Yates. Starting in the fifth spot, Yates took down Kelly Chui of Cal 6-3, 7-5 to knot the match at 2-2.
Now ranked 60th in the nation, DeSimone gave it all she had on court three against Cal’s Klara Fabikova, but it wasn’t enough to stave off defeat. After losing the first set 6-2, DeSimone came back strong to win the next set 6-3, but could not push through in the third and would fall 7-5.
Christian was also engaged in a three-set match and, just like DeSimone, she fought hard but could not come out on top. After winning the first set 7-5, Christian dropped the next two sets 7-5, 6-1 as Cal’s Tayler Davis would seal the deal for the Golden Bears.
“It would be really discouraging for us if we had our full team, but we need to get healthy over the next 10 days or so, “ Gallien said. “We can definitely play with anybody, but the losses do sting, and we just have to go on and compete again.”
The Women of Troy will look to bounce back after dropping to 8-2 on the year in their next match against San Diego on March 1.