USC gears up for a mountain road trip
The No. 21 women’s tennis will be looking to get back into the win column this weekend as it travels for a match against Utah on Friday afternoon, followed by Colorado on Sunday morning.
The Trojans suffered back-to-back losses last weekend against rivals UCLA and UC Santa Barbara. Overall, the team is 6-6 this season and is currently on a five-game losing streak with just one victory in February.
The most recent ITA rankings saw USC fall nine places to No. 21 due to the recent string of losses.
Team captain and senior Danielle Willson highlighted the team’s mentality ahead of the two-game trip.
“It’s easy to have a negative mindset, especially after a losing streak,” Willson said. “Right now we are taking these losses just trying to make ourselves stronger and as fuel in the fire.”
The Trojans got off to a sluggish start against the Bruins. The duo of senior Salma Ewing and rookie Snow Han lost to rookie Ava Catanzarite and junior Abbey Forbes. USC ultimately lost the doubles point.
The team never got on track heading into the singles matches as the only point the Trojans scored would come from Han’s win over junior Sasha Vagramov.
Slow starts have become a common theme for USC during its five-game skid. He gave up the double point for each of his defeats.
“As a team, we really want that double point, and we’ve worked really hard in training to try and keep improving,” Willson said. “We know we are all capable of earning those points in doubles.”
Although they suffered a loss in their game against the Gauchos last Saturday, the Trojans showed a gallant effort in the 4-3 loss. Going into the singles matches at doubles point, Han and Ewing won their respective clashes to make it 3-2 in favor of the Gauchos.
However, UCSB sealed the match point after rookie Amelia Honer defeated rookie Sloane Morra. Sophomore Eryn Cayetano defeated Gaucho senior Shakhnoza Khatamova to ultimately make the final score 4-3.
Willson said she thinks the team got something out of that tight loss and hopes she can build on that momentum.
“It’s always important, even if you lose, to name a positive thing that happened,” Willson said. “Even the resilience of [Cayetano] getting this win showed leadership and the importance of being resilient no matter what position you find yourself in.
Although the second half of February was a difficult period for the Trojans, there were positives for the team.
Han and Ewing are currently 9-5 and sit 19th in the recent ITA doubles rankings. They are also doing well individually, with Han currently holding a 21-7 record and ranked No. 56 in singles in the ITA. Ewing is having a strong season, going 12-9 overall and ranking No. 36.
This week, USC will face a team from Utah that has been on a tear. The Utes are currently 11-1 and have shut out their last two opponents. Their only loss this season was a narrow 4-3 loss to Denver.
“Our mindset is to treat every team as if it were any other team,” Willson said. “It can be the number one team in the country… Everyone is beatable there.”
The Trojans will then travel to Boulder, Colorado to take on the Buffaloes who are currently enjoying a four-game winning streak.
USC will look to get back to its winning path that won its first five games in January.
The team is scheduled to face the Utes in Salt Lake City at 12:30 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. against Colorado on Sunday.