LOS ANGELES. CALIF. -- The No. 4 USC women's tennis team charged through to the ITA Kick-Off Weekend final as the Trojans outlasted the elements and overpowered visiting Akron for a 4-0 win. That victory puts the Women of Troy into tomorrow's championship at 1 p.m. at Marks Stadium, where USC will face UC Irvine for the right to move on to next month's ITA National Team Indoor Championships. USC improves to 2-0 on the year with today's victory.
The Anteaters gutted out a tense stretch of singles with three-setters pending down the stretch. Sarah Gong's win from her No. 4 spot won it for UC Irvine, who topped Tulane 4-2 to move into tomorrow's final against USC -- a rematch of last week's season opener for the Trojans, who beat the Anteaters 7-0.
Both matches today were played out on three courts, beginning with No. 1, 3 and 5 singles and then filled down the line with Nos. 2, 4 and 6 pending a decision in the match. Doubles was only to be played if singles play resulted in a match tied 3-3.
The Trojans took to the courts full-force, as Zoë Scandalis, Giuliana Olmos and Valeria Pulido all roared to 5-0 leads on their Akron opponents. Their final scores would be similarly dominant, with #19 Scandalis racing to the finish first with a 6-1, 6-2 victory over Olga Shkundina on court one. Pulido pinned up a 6-2, 6-1 win over Ksenia Berestetska at the No. 5 spot next, leaving Olmos to wrap up USC's first wave of wins with her decisive 6-1, 6-0 victory over Angelina Jogasuria. The next set of singles players took to the courts next, with #14 Danielle Lao on court one. Kaitlyn Christian was slotted at the No. 4 position, with freshman Ellie Yates playing at No. 6. Christian would come through with the clinching heroics in this one, wrapping up Angelika Jogasuria at the No. 4 spot with a 6-1, 6-0 victory that staked the Trojans' claim on the win and a spot in tomorrow's final.
With the UC Irvine-Tulane match still raging on, USC was able to play out its remaining two singles matches. Yates got on the scoreboard next for the Trojans with her 6-3, 6-2 win over Madison Cohen to give USC a 5-0 lead in the match. That left Lao doing battle at the No. 2 position against Prang Pantusart, who put Lao in a 1-3 hole in the second half only to see the Trojan senior battle back to even the score. She'd grab a late break, and hold for the win, topping Pantusart 6-2, 7-5 to round out the day's action for the Women of Troy.
ITA Kick-Off Weekend - Day One
#4 USC 6, Akron 0
Jan. 26, 2013 - Los Angeles, Calif. (Marks Stadium)
(1) #19 Zoë Scandalis (USC) def. Olga Shkundina (AKR) - 6-1, 6-2
(2) #14 Danielle Lao (USC) def. Prang Pantusart (AKR) - 6-2, 7-5
(3) Giuliana Olmos (USC) def. Angelina Jogasuria (AKR) - 6-1, 6-0
(4) Kaitlyn Christian (USC) def. Angelika Jogasuria (AKR) - 6-1, 6-0*
(5) Valeria Pulido (USC) def. Ksenia Berestetska (AKR) - 6-2, 6-1
(6) Ellie Yates (USC) def. Madison Cohen (AKR) - 6-3, 6-2
Order of finish: 1, 5, 3, 4*, 6, 2
not playOrder of finish: 5, 3, 1, 2, 6, 4*