USC defends its home court with four straight wins

Senior Salma Ewing and junior Eryn Cayetano give each other a high five during USC's victory over CSUN Tuesday.
Senior Salma Ewing and junior Eryn Cayetano give each other a high five during USC’s victory over CSUN Tuesday. (Louis Chen | Daily Trojan)

In its triumphant homestand, No. 21 USC women’s tennis came out on top against Washington State, No. 24 Washington, Hawaii and Cal State Northridge, defeating the latter two teams 4-0. 

The impressive win streak moves the Trojans to 14-10 overall and 5-3 in Pac-12 conference play. 

In the first leg of their doubleheader, USC won two doubles matches against Hawaii, securing the first point of the day. Senior Danielle Wilson and Redshirt freshman McKenna Koenig defeated Hawaii seniors ​​Nidhi Surapaneni and Gitte Heynemans 6-0. The next Trojan duo of No. 6 junior Eryn Cayetano and No. 41 senior Salma Ewing defeated Hawaii sophomore Léa Romain and junior Satsuki Takamura 6-2. 

From there, the team never looked back. On the singles courts, Cayetano again beat Takamura 6-1, 6-0. Freshman Leyden Games picked up the third point of the day for the Trojans, beating Hawaii sophomore Madison Kim 6-1, 6-2. To complete the sweep, Ewing defeated Romain 6-4, 6-1. 

A few hours later, the Trojans began their second sweep of the day against Cal State Northridge. 

The duo of Cayetano and Ewing continued their doubles dominance, winning their first match of the day 6-1 against CSUN seniors Joelene Coetzee and Ana Isabel Fraile Toboso. To secure the doubles point for USC, the redshirt freshman twins Gabrielle and Isabelle Lee defeated redshirt freshman Yulia Zhytelna and freshman Jacqueline O’Neill 6-4. 

On the singles courts, USC remained in control. Cheong defeated Fraile Toboso 6-0, 6-2 for the singles point. Games scored the next point for USC, winning against CSUN freshman Jasmine Tolmoyan 6-1, 6-2. 

To close out the match, Cayetano continued her impressive showing, defeating CSUN redshirt senior Ekaterina Repina 6-3, 6-1. 

Sophomore Naomi Cheong said the team looks to build momentum off these bounceback wins. 

“It definitely helps with our confidence,” Cheong said in an interview with the Daily Trojan. “We’re definitely [going to] use these two matches to continue the work that we put in [against] Washington and continue to build that consistency of performance and play.”  

USC won its first match against the Cougars last Friday in a close 4-3 match, despite losing the opening doubles point. 

The Trojans picked up the next two points on the singles courts, as Cayetano defeated Washington State senior Savanna Ly-Nguyen 6-1, 6-3. Willson picked up another singles point for USC after defeating freshman Elyse Tse 6-3, 6-3. 

Freshman Grace Piper took down Cougars freshman Hania Abouelsaad 6-3, 6-3, earning USC its third singles point of the day. However, Washington State kept the match close, picking up a point of its own as No. 77 redshirt freshman Snow Han fell to freshman Maxine Murphy. 

Freshman Sloane Morra secured the match for the Trojans after winning a close one against Cougars senior Yang Lee 7-6(4), 4-6, 6-4. 

Although the Trojans had already clinched the match, Ewing and Cougars fifth year senior Michaela Bayerlova still played out their fixture. Ewing lost the matchup in three closely contested sets, bringing the overall match score to 4-3. 

For their second win of the weekend, the Trojans were dominant against the Huskies. In this ranked matchup, USC stayed in control, winning 4-1. 

The Trojans again failed to secure the doubles point early on, as the Huskies won two of the three doubles matches. But USC quickly got back into the win column, securing four straight singles points. 

Han started off the wins for the Trojans, defeating Washington senior Nika Zupancic 6-2, 2-0 after Zupancic fell to an injury. Cayetano then defeated sophomore Sarah-Maude Fortin 6-1, 6-2. Willson bested Huskies freshman Kelly Leung 6-4, 7-6 (10-9) before Piper secured the match for the Trojans against Huskies sophomore Yolanda Lin 7-5, 7-6 (7-2). 

Cayetano said the team remains locked in as they continue their extended stretch of home games.

“If anything, it’s just getting us closer to our goal and keeping us in that match mindset to play this weekend against Oregon and the following week against UCLA,” Cayetano said. “We’re super excited just to be home and be in front of our family and friends.”