No. 10 USC Women Snap Stanford With 5-2 Win
LOS ANGELES, CALIF. - The No. 10 USC women's tennis team stormed to its first win over Stanford in 23 years with a 5-2 decision over the No. 11 Cardinal on Saturday afternoon at Marks Stadium. Stanford had claimed the previous 50 straight dual matches against USC, but the Trojans came up big in doubles and followed up a quick win from senior Amanda Fink with a sweep at the 4, 5, and 6 singles slots to tack up the historic win. A win at No. 5 from Leyla Entekhabi put the Trojans in position to clinch, while freshman Alison Ramos and sophomore Lyndsay Kinstler were gutting out three-setters on the other end of the court. Ramos pulled out her win first, and USC's streak-snapping win over the powerhouse Cardinal was in hand. The dual match win bumps the Trojans along to a seventh straight victory and a 15-2 overall record to go along with their 3-0 Pac-10 mark.
Ramos provided some early heroics for the Women of Troy during doubles play. Teamed up with sophomore Cristala Andrews for the first time this season due to an injured Maria Sanchez for the match, Ramos and Andrews came up big to clinch the doubles point for USC. Stanford got the first win of the day in an 8-3 win by McVeigh/Nguyen over USC's #53 Sarah Fansler / Lyndsay Kinstler. At No. 1 USC's #10 combination of Amanda Fink / Gabriela Niculescu warded off a comeback try by Stanford's #17 Barte/Burdette as Niculescu held serve to make it 6-6, the Trojans broke the Cardinal next for the lead, and Fink held serve with a Niculescu finish at the net to take their match 8-6. Playing at No. 3, Andrews/Ramos worked through an early 0-2 deficit and pushed out ahead thanks in part to strong service games from Andrews. One last Andrews ace won the match for the Trojan pair at 8-4, and put USC ahead 1-0 in the match overall.
Determined to drive her team to its first win over Stanford since 1986, senior #26 Amanda Fink drilled out a 6-0, 6-3 win over Lindsay Burdette at the No. 2 singles position to push USC up 2-0 and tally the senior's 12th straight singles win. At No. 5, Leyla Entekhabi outlasted her opponent Carolyn McVeigh through a pile of long games to emerge with a 6-2, 6-4 win for USC and put the Trojans within reach. The Cardinal answered back on a 6-1, 6-4 win from #14 Hilary Barte over USC's #25 Sarah Fansler at the No. 1 slot. Veteran #98 Jessica Nguyen pushed ahead of USC's #58 Gabriela Niculescu on court 3 for a 7-5, 6-2 win that made it a 3-2 USC lead in the match.
While the Cardinal made moves to close in, Lyndsay Kinstler was calmly making a comeback run against her opponent Logan Hansen at the No. 6 position. Kinstler had tripped up in the first set, but took over in the second set with a 3-0 start on the way to a 6-4 win in the second to force a third set. Meanwhile, #62 freshman Alison Ramos closed in on clinching the match in the second set before Stanford's Veronica Li managed a late push that brought the pair to a second-set tiebreak. The Cardinal freshman would get the end in the tiebreak, and the pair was headed into a third set as well. Down 1-2 in the third, Ramos held serve then broke Li to take a lead. She added to that with another hold for a 4-2 advantage. Li got it to 4-3, but Ramos would not let her Cardinal opponent make another late comeback run. She held serve again to make it 5-3, and then allowed Li no more points in the final game to get the break and the match-clinching win with her 6-4, 6-7 (5), 6-3 decision. That left Kinstler still going strong in her third set against Hansen. Hansen pulled the set to a 5-5 as the pair battled through deuce in almost every game. Kinstler held for a 6-5 lead and then dished up one final break of Hansen to wrap up her comeback win with a 3-6, 6-4, 7-5 victory that put the finishing touches on USC's gutsy 5-2 win over the Cardinal. USC had last beat Stanford in a 6-3 win during Pac-10 play on April 4, 1986.
USC's next action takes the Trojans to Washington next week. The Women of Troy are set to play at Washington State at 12 p.m. on Friday (April 3) and then go to face Washington at 12 p.m. on Saturday (April 4).