Women’s tennis prepares to host crosstown rivals

No. 19 women’s tennis are slated to play No. 15 UCLA in a key rivalry matchup Friday, marking the teams’ second matchup of the season. In their previous match, the Bruins defeated the Trojans 4-1. 

USC currently has a record of 16-10 overall and 6-3 in Pac-12 play, placing them fourth in Pac-12 standings. UCLA sits at 11-4 overall and 7-0 in conference play, holding first place. 

On the singles court, USC has No. 6 ranked junior Eryn Cayetano, No. 42 ranked senior Salma Ewing, No. 73 ranked sophomore Naomi Cheong and No. 98 ranked redshirt freshman Snow Han. No. 65 Cayetano and freshman Grace Piper along with No. 46 Ewing and Han — a jump from No. 50 the previous week — make up the doubles court. 

The Bruins currently have three ranked athletes on the singles court: No. 28 ranked junior Abbey Forbes, No. 82 ranked senior Elysia Bolton and No. 120 ranked freshman Kimmi Hance. 

The duo of Bolton and freshman Elise Wagle are also ranked No. 49 on the doubles court. Forbes and freshman Ava Catanzarite also rank No. 56. 

The Trojans haven’t given up much at home this season, and Friday’s match will only be UCLA’s fourth away game. USC holds a 12-1 record at home. 

Although the Bruins have already defeated USC once, much has changed since their last matchup. As the regular season comes to a close, USC has won six matches in a row, including seven of its last 10. 

After two straight losses to UC Berkeley and Stanford, senior Danielle Wilson said the team got together to reevaluate and reset. 

“Something that we discussed as seniors … was just the will to win,” Wilson said. “We felt that was something we needed to touch upon a little bit right after Cal-Stanford weekend.” 

Since those matches, USC has turned its season around with the six-game win streak.

“We’re all fighters and no matter what, we want our opponents to feel that we’re never going to give up,” Wilson said. “Everyone wants to win, nobody wants to lose, so that’s not a problem on our team.”

Wilson said the UCLA game carries a great deal of weight to the team, as the underdog Trojans have an opportunity for redemption. 

“We’re capable of an upset, and we think that UCLA is a great opportunity for that,” Wilson said. “There are a lot of different factors that play into this match being super important other than the fact [that] we want to be the better L.A. school.”

Friday’s matchup will also mark USC’s senior day, where the team will honor Wilson and Ewing. 

“There’s a lot of emotions that come up when it comes to talking about the end of  my time playing as a Trojan,” Wilson said. “There’s a little bit of sadness, but  I’m also just really hungry to get out there.” 

USC faces UCLA in a rivalry rubber match Friday at 1:30 p.m.