The Oregon women’s tennis team put itself in good position at several points, but was unable to capitalize on some key opportunities in a 7-0 loss to No. 14 USC on Friday.
The Ducks (7-10, 1-5 Pac-10) were in position to take the first set in three singles matches, but could not break through to get a point against the 14th-ranked Trojans.
USC scored a quick 8-1 win at No. 3 doubles and an early break snapped a 1-1 tie to allow the Trojans’ top pairing of Maria Sanchez and Kaitlyn Christian (No. 5 in the country) to pull away with an 8-3 win over Pavlina Smatova and Patricia Skowronski at the No. 1 position.
With the doubles point secured for USC, Oregon’s Julia Metzger and Trudie du Toit battled back from a 5-3 deficit to force a tiebreaker, where they edged Lyndsay Kinstler and Danielle Lao 7-6 (8-6).
“Julia and Trudie did a great job battling back to get that doubles win,” head coach Paul Reber said. “Those two got a good win that will keep pushing them along the path that they’re on.”
The Trojans went up 3-0 with wins at the third and fourth spots as No. 104 Christian (6-0, 6-1 over Metzger at No. 3) and Alison Ramos (6-0, 6-0 over Pascale Neubert at No. 4) lost only one game.
Patricia Skowronski fought back from early holes against Lao at the No. 2 spot, but the 26th-ranked player in the country managed to pull out a 6-3, 6-3 decision to clinch the dual win for USC.
Oregon more than held its own at the other three spots. Lana Buttner took the first set against Kinstler at No. 6 singles while 116th-ranked Smatova and du Toit each had chances to take the first set at No. 1 and 5 singles, respectively.
Smatova had five set point opportunities leading 5-4 over top-ranked Sanchez, but the nation’s top singles player fought back to take the first set and won the last two games of the next set to win 7-5, 6-3.
Du Toit grabbed an early 5-2 lead in the first set of her match, but Cristala Andrews clawed her way back into it and ended up forcing a tiebreaker, which she took 7-1. The win gave her the momentum she needed to take the match in straight sets, 7-6, 6-3.
After taking the first set, 6-2, Buttner and Kinstler fought back and forth with Kinstler forcing a third and deciding set. Buttner broke serve to tie the final set at five apiece, but Kinsler fought off several game points to answer with another break and served out a 2-6, 6-4, 7-5 victory to finish the singles sweep.
“We played really tough at four spots and look to build on it going into tomorrow’s match against UCLA,” Reber said. “Pavlina played very well today while continuing to battle with the top players in the country. It was disappointing that she didn’t take that first set, but she’ll be back tomorrow more determined than ever.”
Oregon hosts No. 6 UCLA on Saturday at noon. Depending on the weather, the match will be held at either the Student Tennis Center (indoors) or the 18th Street Courts (outdoors).
2011 Oregon Women's Tennis
#14 USC 7, #75 Oregon 0
USC vs Oregon (4/1/2011)
4/1/2011 at Eugene, Ore. (18th St. Outdoor Courts)
|1. #1 SANCHEZ, Maria (USC) def. #116 SMATOVA, Pavlina (ORE) 7-5, 6-3|
|2. #26 LAO, Danielle (USC) def. SKOWRONSKI, Patricia (ORE) 6-3, 6-3|
|3. #104 CHRISTIAN, Kaitlyn (USC) def. METZGER, Julia (ORE) 6-0, 6-1|
|4. RAMOS, Alison (USC) def. NEUBERT, Pascale (ORE) 6-0, 6-0|
|5. ANDREWS, Cristala (USC) def. DU TOIT, Trudie (ORE) 7-6 (7-1), 6-3|
|6. KINSTLER, Lyndsay (USC) def. BUTTNER, Lana (ORE) 2-6, 6-4, 7-5|
|1. #5 SANCHEZ, Maria/CHRISTIAN, Kaitlyn (USC) def. SKOWRONSKI, Patricia/SMATOVA, Pavlina (ORE) 8-3|
|2. DU TOIT, Trudie/METZGER, Julia (ORE) def. KINSTLER, Lyndsay/LAO, Danielle (USC) 7-6 (8-6)|
|3. ANDREWS, Cristala/RAMOS, Alison (USC) def. NEUBERT, Pascale/STUCKEMANN, Rabea (ORE) 8-1|
|USC 12-5 (2-2 Pac-10); National ranking #14|
|Oregon 7-10 (1-5 Pac-10); National ranking #75|
|Order of finish: Doubles (3,1,2); Singles (4,3,2,5,1,6)|