LOS ANGELES —USC women's tennis was victorious in a 5-2 upset over a very tough No. 4 Michigan squad Friday afternoon in Marks Stadium. With this win, USC improves to 4-3 on the season.
It was a beautiful day for tennis in Los Angeles. The Michigan Wolverines had spent the week in Southern California on their spring break trip and had practiced here to adjust to playing outdoors. This was the first match this season that Michigan has competed outside.
The Wolverines took a quick lead as USC’s Katz/Westby were bested by the No. 1 duo in the county in Fahey/Najarian 6-1 on court one. Shortly thereafter, Michigan’s Minor/Ruder-Hook defeated Trojan tandem Failla/Valdes 6-2 on court two. This win gave Michigan the doubles point and a 1-0 advantage entering singles.
Although the Trojans were down, they exemplified the USC motto and continued to fight on. On court six, USC’s Sydney Van Alphen put the Trojans on the board with her 6-0, 6-3 win over Michigan’s Kara Hall. The Wolverines responded with a singles win of their own with Mira Ruder-Hook topping USC’s Angela Kulikov 6-3, 6-1 on court five to push Michigan ahead 2-1.
Court three was a battle from the start. USC’s Madison Westby and Alex Najarian were locked in a close back-and-forth. After the first set reached 6-6, a tiebreak ensued. Westby powered through to win a close 7-6 (6) first set. She claimed the second set over Najarian 6-4 to tie up the overall score at 2-2.
Fired up by the loud crowd at Marks Stadium, the Women of Troy continued to fight. The crowd was consumed by an epic battle on court two. USC’s Jessica Failla took Michigan’s Brienne Minor to two tiebreaking sets where she came out victorious 7-6 (5), 7-6 (5). Failla’s win pushed the Trojans ahead for the first time in the match to 3-2.
The fans at Marks Stadium turned their attention to court four where USC’s Rianna Valdesand Michigan’s Chriara Lommer were locked in a third set. After winning the first set 6-3, Valdes dropped the second set 6-4 to Lommer. Valdes surged ahead and won the third set 6-4 to clinch the match for the Women of Troy.
Court one was the final court in play. After losing the first set 6-4 to Michigan’s Kate Fahey, USC’s Gabby Smith broke serve at 6-5 to win the second set 7-5. Her momentum carried over to the third set where she won 6-2 to close out the afternoon.
USC’s next action will bring the women back to Marks Stadium where they will face California on Friday (March 10) and Stanford on Saturday (March 11).
#32 USC 5, #4 Michigan 2
March 3, 2017 - Marks Tennis Stadium (Los Angeles, Calif.)
(1) #1 Fahey/Najarian (UM) def. #21 Katz/Westby (USC) - 6-1
(2) #28 Minor/Ruder-Hook (UM) def. #45 Failla/Valdes (USC) - 6-2
(3) Kulikov/Smith (USC) vs. Lommer/Patiuk (UM) - 5-2 susp.
Michigan wins doubles point.
Order of finish: 1, 2
(1) #33 Gabby Smith (USC) def. #21 Kate Fahey (UM) - 4-6, 7-5, 6-2
(2) #55 Jessica Failla (USC) def. #26 Brienne Minor (UM) - 7-6(5), 7-6(5)
(3) #104 Madison Westby (USC) def. #108 Alex Najarian (UM) - 7-6(6), 6-4
(4) Rianna Valdes (USC) def. #125 Chiara Lommer (UM) - 6-3, 4-6, 6-4*
(5) Mira Ruder-Hook (UM) def. Angela Kulikov (USC) - 6-3, 6-1
(6) Sydney Van Alphen (USC) def. Kara Hall (UM) - 6-0, 6-3
Order of finish: 6, 5, 3, 2, 4*, 1