Tennis

USC steamrolls into second-place in the Pac-12

The Trojans completed a pair of sweeps this weekend against Colorado and Utah.

After concluding all non-conference matches on its schedule last week, the USC women’s tennis team welcomed a pair of Pac-12 opponents to Marks Stadium this weekend. The Trojans did not lose a point in either match, earning 4-0 and 7-0 sweeps over Colorado and Utah.

“To sweep both matches 4-0, 7-0 was really exciting for us,” head coach Alison Swain said. “I think we were able to make a statement this weekend. Going that extra mile, even after a match is decided, builds a lot of trust in this team.”

Colorado struck first on Friday, as sophomore Maria Campos and junior Ky Ecton won 6-2 on court three. That was USC’s only blemish on the weekend. The Trojans responded with victories of their own in the other two doubles matches to grab the 1-0 lead.

Junior Danielle Willson kept things rolling for the Trojans with a 6-2, 6-4 victory to open singles play. Freshman Naomi Cheong then added to the lead, fighting back from a 1-3 second-set deficit en route to her two-set win on court two.

With the score at 3-0, redshirt senior Clare McKee, already with two clinches this season, put the match away with a 6-3, 6-4 victory on court six. The victory was the Trojans’ second of the young conference season, who improved to 2-1.

It was a quick turnaround for USC, which was set to host Utah less than 24 hours later on Saturday. There was no letdown from their previous performance, however, as they stayed hot, blitzing the Utes in a 7-0 victory.

“Our players are really focused on the process right now,” Swain said of a potential letdown against the Utes. “They are really keyed into the things they want to do individually to get better, especially at competing.”

The Trojans completely dominated the doubles matches against a struggling Utah squad who had lost their last five contests. USC took the 1-0 lead behind a pair of 6-1 victories from the Summer Dvorak/Willson and Eryn Cayetano/Cheong pairings.

Cayetano and Cheong built on their strong play in doubles with commanding singles victories, dropping just 4 for a combined 28 games between the two of them. McKee then found herself in a familiar position to close out the match on court six, securing the Trojan victory with her fourth clinching win of the season.

“[Clare] winning both her singles in straight sets this weekend shows a lot of improvement in how she’s competing,” Swain said. “Eryn and Naomi, at the top of our lineup again, had pretty definitive wins. [We’re] just trying to be very steady as competitors with our intensity and our energy.”

The No. 24 Trojans are now back to a season-best four games above .500 at 9-5 overall, and their 3-1 conference record has them just a half a game out of first place in the Pac-12.

For the first time in over a month, USC will play just one match this week. They will travel to Eugene on Friday to face a red-hot Oregon team, winners of nine of their last ten, in a battle for sole-possession of second place in the Pac-12.