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Sunday, January 31, 2016

On UK and Pepperdine

I was very impressed with UK's level yesterday. All had firepower AND variety. USD players were mostly busy retrieving.  And Adachi didn't even play.

Not sure Pepperdine is better than UK to be honest. The Waves boast strong doubles, but so does UK. And frankly I think UK lower positions are better.

But UK players did allow USD players to fight back; either UK players have some work to do, or that the Toreros showed incredible grit.

SEC, and WCC(what with SMC also showing some promise) got just that much more interesting. Again, it will also be really interesting to see who makes the final 16(both in terms of ranking and thus hosting NCAA regional, and actually making to the Final site).

On Failla

Decided to write a less hysterical post lol.

I never in my wildest imagination thought Failla would play #4 singles. Honestly, as I've said before, thought she was a typical #6 player; not enough firepower who counterpunches, moves, and hustles well.

Well speed and counterpunching ability are talent; and no one can deny she's the hardest worker.  (I haven't seen one AO match due to birding in the morning lol, so can't comment on Kerber vs Williams final lol)

Frankly I think Failla playing #4 is a risk; I thought her playing #6 will be an almost guaranteed win, but #4? She just lost to Dzina of Pepperdine.  3 and 4 anchor positions are especially important for Trojans which lacks superstars; compounding the problem is that big hitters like Xepoleas and Westby are rather inconsistent, to put it mildly.

But the season has just started, so we'll see. It'll be very interesting to see how Failla fares. Will she exhibit mental toughness and steely determination that the Trojans usually lacked in NTI and NCAA(or was it tactical inability, or simple lack of weapons. Dunno)? That aspect is said to have enabled Kerber to beat Williams.
Anyway, we shall see.


Had trouble parking; the lots were absolutely full. Had to park far away and hurriedly come back.

Score from USD

Kentucky 4 San Diego 1
Skip and Cindy Hogan Tennis Center
January 30, 2016 - San Diego, Calif.
Final Results
 1 – Morgan Chumney/Akvilė Paraźinskaitė (UK) def. Drew Spinosa/Dana Oppinger (USD), 6-0
2 – Aldila Sutjiadi/Kirsten Lewis (UK) def. Shani Blecher/Marta Stojanovic (USD), 6-3
3 – Justine Mikulskytė/Nadia Ravita (UK) def. Colomba DiFilippo/Maria-Paula Torres (USD), 6-4
(Order of finish: 1-3-2)

UK too good. Too powerful. USD resisted well especially at the later positions, but eventually UK surged ahead.


Every UK players hit flat, and aggressively; no wonder they took it to Michigan.  Every match was similar; UK players taking control of the points with their aggression, and USD players trying to return those with looping balls.

Adachi didn't play and was busy helping teammates :)
And I see that UK is a pretty young team.

1 – No. 97 Aldila Sutjiadi (UK) def. Marta Stojanovic (USD), 6-1, 7-5

Aldila too good. Almost first strike tennis. Every USD players rallied later, testament to their mental toughness; but eventually, UK players had too big a firepower.

2 – Justina Mikulskytė (UK) def. Drew Spinosa (USD), 7-6(5), 7-6(4)

So this is Justina. Hit very well. But also netted tons lol, hence the tight score. Every Wildcats also had nice variety. Drew fought hard.

3 – Nadia Ravita (UK) def. Sophia Chow (USD), 6-0, 6-2

Couldn't really watch much, but similar pattern. Well no wonder, Ravita was former #1 player lol.

4 – Morgan Chumney (UK) vs. Dana Oppinger (USD), 6-4, 3-6, 1-1 unfinished

Morgan was tall, and hit flat; also had nice variety. Dana was the opposite in height lol, but as befitting for a #1 dbls players, had nice variety as well.

5 – Shani Blecher (USD) def. Akvilė Paražinskaitė (UK), 6-3, 7-6(0)

Akvile also hit very well.  Shani played well, returned those well, forcing that extra shot which Akvile couldn't keep in play. Nice blend of defense(slices) and sharp attacking.  Both were quite emotional.  I wondered why Shani was playing #1; still looked like a #1 player to me lol. She did have a MTO, had her foot or leg looked after.

6 – Kirsten Lewis (UK) vs. Colomba DiFilippo (USD), 6-1, 5-7, 2-3 unfinished

Lewis' serve was good. Wondered how Colomba defeated Meredith Xepoleas; don't get it lol. Nothing very special about her play. As with other USD players did hustle well.

Tea Jandric's singles results

She's a freshman.

And defeating Lord isn't surprising, considering her junior resumé and current ranking.

Scores from ITA

DateEventRnd/PosOpponentOpponent SchoolResultScore
1/29/2016Dual MatchPos. #4Melissa Lord #8 StanfordWin6-2, 2-6, 6-4
1/23/2016Dual MatchPos. #2Bretney Sargent Univ. of Arkansas Pine BluffWin6-0, 6-0
1/16/2016Miami Spring InviteDanielle Wagland #38 University of Texas at AustinLoss6-1, 6-2
1/16/2016Miami Spring InviteClementina Riobueno #11 University of Miami (Florida)Loss6-4, 7-6 (7-3)
10/31/20152015 Roberta Alison Fall ClassicRound of 32Janet Koch University of KansasWin2-6, 6-3, 6-1
10/30/20152015 Roberta Alison Fall ClassicSemifinals#36 Anastasia Rentouli #29 Mississippi State UniversityLoss6-4, 3-6, 6-3
10/30/20152015 Roberta Alison Fall ClassicQuarterfinalsAmy Lowther UABWin6-0, 6-2
10/16/20152015 USTA/ITA Division I Women’s Southern Regional ChampionshipRound of 32#31 Andie Dikosavljevic #40 Auburn UniversityLoss6-2, 4-6, 7-5
10/16/20152015 USTA/ITA Division I Women’s Southern Regional ChampionshipRound of 64Jacqui Katz #72 Tulane UniversityWin7-5, 6-2
10/3/2015Steve Baras Fall ClassicSemifinalsKayla Jones ChattanoogaLoss6-1, 1-6, 1-0
10/2/2015Steve Baras Fall ClassicQuarterfinalsStacia Kissell Western Carolina UniversityWin6-1, 7-5
9/27/2015Country Club of Little Rock InvitationalConsolation#27 Katarina Adamovic #10 Oklahoma State UniversityWin6-2, 6-2
9/26/2015Country Club of Little Rock InvitationalSemifinals#38 Vladica Babic #10 Oklahoma State UniversityLoss7-6(4), 6-3
9/25/2015Country Club of Little Rock InvitationalQuarterfinals#45 Anastasiya Rychagova University of KansasWin6-4, 5-7, 6-2

Ole Miss & Vandy def. Stanford: Ellie Yates!

#25 Ole Miss 4, #8 Stanford 3

1. #47 El Kamash/Hartono (OM) def. #10 Davidson/Doyle (STAN) 6-4
2. Lord/Yee (STAN) def. Sanford/Suk (OM) 6-4
3. Hardebeck/Lampl (STAN) def. Khairudinova/Jandric (OM) 6-2
Order of Finish: 3, 1, 2
1. #84 Arianne Hartono (OM) def. #20 Taylor Davidson (STAN) 6-2, 2-6, 6-1
2. Natalie Suk (OM) def. #39 Caroline Doyle (STAN) 2-6, 6-2, 6-4
3. Krista Hardebeck (STAN) def. #55 Mai El Kamash (OM) 6-2, 6-4
4. #44 Tea Jandric (OM) def. Melissa Lord (STAN) 6-2, 2-6, 6-4
5. Caroline Lampl (STAN) def. Zalina Khairudinova (OM) 2-6, 6-4, 6-4
6. Marija Milutinovic (OM) def. Kimberly Yee (STAN) 6-1, 4-6, 7-5
Order of Finish: 3, 1, 5, 2, 4, 6

Lol Sanford didn't even start in singles. Ole Miss is definitely promising:quickly recovered from Boxx's graduation I see.

And who is this Jandric, highest ranked player playing #4 lol.

No. 1 Vanderbilt 4, No. 8 Stanford 1
1) No. 10 Davidson/Doyle (STAN) d. No. 11 Sydney Campbell/Courtney Colton (VANDY) 6-2
2) Astra Sharma/Ellie Yates (VANDY) d. Lord/Yee (STAN) 6-1
3) Hardebeck/Lampl (STAN) d. Frances Altick/Fernanda Contreras (VANDY) 6-2
Order of Finish: 2, 1, 3

As I said, Stanford doubles could be good.

And the player of the match, Ellie Yates!!! Routing Lord/Yee who defeated Danilina/Morgan easily???!! Is Vandy again going to win the doubles point this season lol.  Nice to see former Trojan doing well.

1) No. 20 Taylor Davidson (STAN) led No. 15 Frances Altick (VANDY) 6-4, 1-5, unfinished
2) No. 24 Sydney Campbell (VANDY) d. No. 39 Caroline Doyle (STAN) 6-1, 6-2
3) No. 33 Astra Sharma (VANDY) d. Krista Hardebeck (STAN) 6-4, 6-0
4) Courtney Colton (VANDY) d. Melissa Lord (STAN) 6-3, 6-1
5) Georgina Sellyn (VANDY) d. Kimberly Yee (STAN) 6-4, 6-0
6) Caroline Lampl (STAN) vs. Fernanda Contreras (VANDY) not played
Order of Finish: 2, 5, 3, 4

Very thoughtful commentary from coach Macdonald. Vandy will continue to recruit well.

Let's applaud Dave Nowick

He's director at Fullerton. On the tournament webpage;

4:30 am UPDATE!
Well I just spent the last 1 1/2 hours driving to all sites. EVERYTHING is completely wet and HEAVY mist. I'm SORRY to say with the dooming forecast which shows basically 100% rain starting at 9 am - about 4 pm ish, it just doesn't make any since to hold all of you at bay. So WE are officially calling the matches for today. NO matches will be played today. I will reschedule all remaining matches and put them up ASAP. SORRY again Dave
3 am UPDATE !
Could there be something called TOO EARLY !! So as of now DRY , I know its way early ..... So check back in a couple hours 5 am ....

Another rant about Xepoleas

I kept silent last season, but will no more :p

It was incomprehensible to me Xepoleas was stuck at #6. The most talented player since Lindsey Nelson(yes I thought her upside, potential was bigger than Maria Sanchez).  You think she was just damn lucky to beat Claire Liu and advance to EB G16 singles final and beat Arconada at National G16 and trouble Hradecka?  Do you know how hard it is to even win a set from Liu? Ask Neel lol.

Sure similar hard hitters Stacey Tan and Cat Harrison played #5 even later in their college careers. G16 National winner Peggy Porter also played #6 last season. But USC is NOT Stanford, UCLA, and Florida lol; they are NOT brimming with talent.

Xepoleas's G18 debut at ISC and EB wasn't good; exited early. But look at this result;

The Easter Bowl ITF Tennis ChampionshipsStart Date: 4/5/2014  End Date: 4/13/2014
Girls' 18 Singles (Draw Line - 41)
32Francesca Dilorenzo d. (14) Ellyse Hamlin
64(14) Ellyse Hamlin d. Meredith Xepoleas6-4; 7-5
Girls' 18 Doubles (Draw Line - 14)
16(7) Haffey/McCarthy d. Hamlin/Moldovan
32Hamlin/Moldovan d. Corley/Smith6-3; 6-4
USTA International Spring ChampionshipsStart Date: 3/29/2014  End Date: 4/6/2014
Girls' 18 Singles (Draw Line - 58)
32Claire Liu d. Ellyse Hamlin6-7(3); 6-3; 6-0
64Ellyse Hamlin d. (15) Emilie Francati6-4; 6-2

Xep was basically spewing errors in the 2nd set against Ellyse, so the score got quickly to 5-0 or something in the 2nd set.  Do you know what happened later? Xepoleas played 1st strike tennis and tied all the way to 5-5 lol. Overwhelmed Ellyse. Which Trojans can do that? I've never seen anybody do that except Nelson.

And do you know what this Hamlin achieved later?

USTA National Clay Court ChampionshipStart Date: 7/11/2015  End Date: 7/18/2015
Girls' 18 Singles (Draw Line - 33)
F(6) Ellyse Hamlin d. (17) Kaitlyn McCarthy6-7(8); 6-1; 7-5
SF(6) Ellyse Hamlin d. (5) Mia Horvit6-2; 7-6(3)
Q(6) Ellyse Hamlin d. (1) Jessie Aney6-4; 6-0
16(6) Ellyse Hamlin d. (9) Camille Favero6-7(4); 6-3; 7-5
32(6) Ellyse Hamlin d. (17) Carson Branstine6-3; 6-4
64(6) Ellyse Hamlin d. Arianna Beltrame6-0; 6-0
128(6) Ellyse Hamlin d. Racquel Lyn6-1; 6-4


So Xepoleas defeated Kyle and Lynn in her debut season; I missed those matches due to birding and such lol. I did hurriedly come later to watch her Regional singles semifinal match against Scandalis. It was evident who had the bigger upside.

Naturally I was very looking forward to her playing against those elite players. As I said, since she has weapons to trouble anybody(As I repeatedly said, she troubled Hradecka. Go look up her WTA ranking lol. Shibahara defeating Chirico wasn't the biggest surprise at IW PQ that year; this was. Or, maybe it wasn't that much of a surprise lol).
The only stage she can do that is at Ojai; but of course, since she was playing #6, she was stuck at Invitational; and of course she dominated to the win lol, how not? Too easy.

And now this.
Who is going to play top 1 and 2 singles for USC next season? When a decent player like Olmos graduates? As I said, very gloomy. Angela Kulikov? She lost to Van Alphen and Duong.  I mean, all Trojans are solid, decent players. But who can compete at the upper positions and actually win it?

What with the new rules that butchered doubles and USC's gloomy prospect, I'm losing interest in Div. I tennis. Fast.  Maybe I should stop or curtail watching Div. I tennis for a while and concentrate more on birding lol.

Cheers.  Time to resume reading Tolstoy's War and Peace.

/End of Rant

Birding around San Diego; 1/30

I'm sure y'all all been waiting for my birding report!

Not much..only one new species, and that was an easy one, Lawrence's Goldfinch. Birders were already there at Tijuana River Valley Regional Park--ball fields lol, and they pointed it out to me.

My target species initially were; Orchard Oriole, Hepatic Tanager, Nelson's Sparrow, Green-tailed Towhee..

But couldn't find the Oriole at Seascape Apartment Area; only Cedar Waxwings were note of interest. So already spent precious 30 min. of the morning, and decided not to press my luck for Hepatic Tanager at Marston House(at the NW edge of Balboa Park).

So just went to Tijuna Slough area, first to Seacoast Dr. south end to spot Nelson's Sparrow; fail lol.

Then to Visitor Center to spot Green tailed Towhee; not sure. Either this or that ultra common White crowned sparrow lol. I did spot it last July or something at Big Bear, anyway, but still wanted to spot it again.  Did spot Blue-winged Teals though.

As I said, decided to go to TRVRP and spotted LAGO, easily.

Left early from the match to bird of course lol; decided to stay put at San Elijo visitor center; not much birds, highlights were a Song Sparrow and a Nuttall Woodpecker. No Wilson's Snipe, no Northern Waterthrush..not sure I heard Ridgeway's Rail call.

Tried again to spot Orchard Oriole at Seascape; I thought I found some candidates so hurriedly brought my scope from my car trunk and was setting it up...then those 4 flew far away to the north;  Fu&^&**^())%^%$&   Lol. I've already failed to spot that Oriole at Mile Squre Regional Park at OC; this species is just killing me :sobbing:

Why haven't I thought of THIS species, ugh; Laughing Gull!!! Dear God...
Bayside Park--G St., San Diego County, California, US ( Map )
Date and Effort
Sun Jan 24, 2016 1:10 PM
Party Size:
20 minute(s)
Alex Bairstow
13 species total
Brant (Black)
American Wigeon
Lesser Scaup
Surf Scoter
Red-throated Loon
Eared Grebe
Double-crested Cormorant
Brown Pelican
Marbled Godwit
Laughing Gull


Ring-billed Gull
Western Gull
California Gull

All in all, not very fruitful. Spotted like less than 40 species.  It was pretty cloudy in the morning, and the waves were roaring at the sea, which didn't help I guess.  Oh well, hope to visit again next month during ITF this stage, adding one new species is damn hard lol.

Now lifebird total at 313(I am now very close to LA County top 100. 281 species for me, and if I add one or two more, definitely can get inside top 100! Stay tuned!).
Total this year? 181 (LA county, 160)

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Xepoleas and McCarthy then and now

USTA National Spring Championship (The Easter Bowl)Start Date: 4/8/2012  End Date: 4/15/2012
Girls' 16 Singles (Draw Line - 124)
PL(17) Kaitlyn McCarthy d. Jessica Golovin6-2; 2-6; 6-2
SFMeredith Xepoleas d. (17) Kaitlyn McCarthy6-7(5); 6-2; 6-3

Team National G18

McCarthy; won 2 times
Xepoleas; DNP

Hard National G18


USTA National ChampionshipsStart Date: 8/3/2013  End Date: 8/11/2013
Girls' 18 Singles (Draw Line - 176)
16(4) Taylor Townsend d. (12) Kaitlyn McCarthy7-5; 6-2
32(12) Kaitlyn McCarthy d. Jennifer Brady6-4; 1-6; 6-4
64(12) Kaitlyn McCarthy d. Madeline Lipp6-3; 7-6(6)
128(12) Kaitlyn McCarthy d. Allegra Hanlon6-0; 6-0

USTA National ChampionshipsStart Date: 7/31/2014  End Date: 8/9/2014
Girls' 18 Singles (Draw Line - 61)
32(16) Josie Kuhlman d. (17) Kaitlyn McCarthy6-4; 7-5
64(17) Kaitlyn McCarthy d. Savannah Slaysman6-4; 6-1
128(17) Kaitlyn McCarthy d. Michelle Wang6-2; 6-3
4Q(17) Ellie Halbauer d. (17) Kaitlyn McCarthy7-5; 6-0
R3(17) Kaitlyn McCarthy d. Nicole Kalhorn6-2; 6-2
Girls' 18 Doubles (Draw Line - 112)
F(1) Chirico/Stewart d. (6) Kuhlman/McCarthy4-6; 6-4; 6-3
SF(6) Kuhlman/McCarthy d. (4) Dilorenzo/Kenin6-3; 6-2
Q(6) Kuhlman/McCarthy d. (2) Austin/Porter6-1; 3-6; 6-3
16(6) Kuhlman/McCarthy d. Daavettila/Goodman6-0; 6-3
32(6) Kuhlman/McCarthy d. Failla/Hance6-3; 6-0
64(6) Kuhlman/McCarthy d. Maltby/Wesbrooks6-2; 6-1

USTA National Championships - Girls 16's & 18's (Level 1)Start Date: 8/1/2015  End Date: 8/9/2015
Girls' 18 Singles (Draw Line - 121)
32(11) Ena Shibahara d. (17) Kaitlyn McCarthy7-5; 1-6; 6-2
64(17) Kaitlyn McCarthy d. Erica Susi6-3; 6-2
128(17) Kaitlyn McCarthy d. Mihaela Codreanu6-2; 6-1
R4Stephanie Schrage d. (17) Kaitlyn McCarthy
Girls' 18 Doubles (Draw Line - 49)
16Ouellet-Pizer/Shaffer d. (8) Ivanova/McCarthy6-1; 6-4
32(8) Ivanova/McCarthy d. Cox/Muller6-3; 6-1
64(8) Ivanova/McCarthy d. Dreyfuss/Tsokilauri6-4; 6-2

Xepoleas; DNP

Current singles lineup;

McCarthy; Duke's #2
Xepoleas; USC's #6 or 7

Next season's projected singles lineup;

McCarthy; #1
Xepoleas; who knows


Was Xepoleas ill or injured off-season? How can her game deteriorate this much. Her serve for example. Ball toss is like Ana Ivanovic; so unstable. Her serve wasn't this bad before.

Is she too content or has no ambition to play higher up. Failla seems overeager to compete lol. She's like everywhere, from Hard National to Winter National to Hawaii 25k.  Her left thigh is heavily taped right now. Is she also going to play Arizona and San Diego ITF or what lol.

But there's so much difference between Failla maximizing and Xepoleas maximizing their potential... :sigh:  Let's hope Xepoleas didn't peak in HS. Was her coming to USC early a right decision? Sure she won at #6 so helped the team to Pac 12 Championship, #1 Ranking and NCAA Semifinals, but..

Friday, January 29, 2016

Claire Liu and this week's highlight bird pics

So with a palpitating heart, crept out from Riviera at 7:17 lol. All clear! There was an inevitable traffic at the junction, but an hour, that's not bad.

So, why the fuss about Claire Liu?

Please ruminate on these results;

Easter Bowl Championship (Closed)

    • Indian Wells, USA
    • 06 Apr - 10 Apr 2015
    • Singles
    • Grade B1
    • Entry: DA
    • Surface: Hard
    • (O)
    Main Draw
    64 W H2H vs LEVINE, Mimi (USA) 6-1 6-2
    32 W H2H vs LOMMER, Chiara (USA) 5-7 6-2 6-1
    16 W H2H vs NEEL, Ingrid (USA) 7-5 6-1
    QF W H2H vs ALTICK, Helen Abigail (USA) 6-1 6-2
    SF W H2H vs KINGSLEY, Raveena (USA) 6-4 6-1
    FR W H2H vs SWAN, Katie (GBR) 6-2 3-6 6-2

  • The Junior Championships, Wimbledon

    • Wimbledon, Great Britain
    • 04 Jul - 12 Jul 2015
    • Singles
    • Grade A
    • Entry: DA
    • Surface: Grass
    • (O)
    Main Draw
    64 W H2H vs STEFANI, Luisa (BRA) 6-0 6-1

  • Eddie Herr International Tennis Championship

    • Bradenton, FL, USA
    • 30 Nov - 06 Dec 2015
    • Singles
    • Grade 1
    • Entry: DA
    • Surface: Clay
    • (O)
    Main Draw
    64 W H2H vs RAMASAMY, Brindtha (CAN) 6-2 6-0
    32 W H2H vs NEEL, Ingrid (USA) 6-2 7-6(5)
    16 W H2H vs DAY, Kayla (USA) 6-3 6-3
    QF L H2H vs GALFI, Dalma (HUN) 4-6 3-6

  • Now don't tell me any team which gets her is not the winner lol.

    Probably Stanford. UCLA may try I guess. Unless she just turns pro!

    Now, birding highlights before I get my beauty sleep :)

    Common Yellowthroat at LA Arboretum

    Purple Finch at LA Arboretum!
    Red-whiskered Bulbul at LA Arboretum

    Loggerhead Shrike at Santa Fe Dam Recreational Area. It's 'Vlad the Impaler', Stephanie Vlad should like this bird lol. It impales its prey on thorns for later consumption!!! Haven't seen the spectacle though, to my dismay lol.
    Rock Wren at Santa Fe Dam Recreational Area!

    White-throated Sparrow at Arlington Garden today! Was very lucky; it just came to me! As you can see, white throat is obvious; just stands out against the gray belly. You don't see this sparrow everyday :)

    SMC vs UCLA

    Lol only 5:37pm. They all left though? They won't be moving an inch driving, maybe they're somewhere on the venue.

    Dunno why they held this at Riviera: sure parking is much easier lol, but the sideline views and the distance are minus pts. Dunno why they played WAATC PQ at Pepperdine either, to think about it. Well Pepperdine has its advantage in being near to that birding hotspot, Malibu Lagoon..haha.

    The traffic was naturally horrible, so when I arrived it was already 2nd set in sgls. I see that Kaur even finished the match against Luca.

    Surprisingly Vansessa didn't play dbls.

    1. Battle of the equal. Always a pleasure to watch Jana play: that whipping fh! Variety wasn't bad either, and her bh held well, so the match was pretty exciting what with both hitting aggressively.

    2. So this is CC: moves well for her size, and can attack lines. Bh was pretty good as well. Did leak some drive errors, Kyle was the better disciplined driver.

    3. Pawid was playing #3!! Another hard test for Alaina, so I thought. She surprised me by dominating lol. Well of course the pace and angle of her drives are devastating(the reason why she's one of my favorite players, as I've repeatedly said), but still against a good player like Pawid, that's quite a surprisingly easy win. She didn't even wear her good-luck-charm black glitter cap! Haha.

    4. Actually thought Emma had a chance lol. That's a very good win by Kristin. Nice to see Emma's fh drives again, but leaked too many errors.

    5. Actually thought Vanessa played well. Could produce impressive pace at times, and overall hit quite solidly. Variety was good as usual. And Maia won? She's stepping up, I see :)

    Naturally after the match(since we were going nowhere lol), had a nice chat with 'the gang'!  Hope they enjoy the visit and arrive safe back home :)

    Man it's still only 5:56. Should I dbl check my birding itinerary at San Diego lol.

    Score from UCLA

    #21 UCLA 6, #47 Saint Mary's College 1
    Jan 29, 2016 at Pacific Palisades, CA (Riviera Country Club) 
    Doubles competition
    1. Harrison/McPhillips (UCLA) def. McCord/Pawid (SMC) 6-3
    2. Fleming/Magill (UCLA) def. Clement/Kaur (SMC) 6-4
    3. Miller/Wiley (UCLA) vs. Critser/Manji (SMC) 5-3, unfinished
    Singles competition
    1. #18 Catherine Harrison (UCLA) def. Jana McCord (SMC) 6-4, 6-3
    2. Kyle McPhillips (UCLA) def. Clementine Clement (SMC) 6-3, 6-3
    3. Alaina Miller (UCLA) def. Jamie Pawid (SMC) 2-6, 6-2, 6-1
    4. Kristin Wiley (UCLA) def. Emma Critser (SMC) 6-4, 7-5
    5. Maia Magill (UCLA) def. Vanessa Nommensen (SMC) 6-3, 6-4
    6. Parminder Kaur (SMC) def. Laura Luca (UCLA) 6-1, 6-0
    Match Notes
    Saint Mary's College 1-1; National ranking #47
    UCLA 1-1; National ranking #21
    Order of finish: Doubles (1,2); Singles (6,1,5,2,3,4)

    Pepperdine at USC

    I'm now stuck at Riviera, so may as well type(poke!) this via Kindle Fire: nobody is going anywhere lol(TRAFFIC!!!!!).

    Surprise guests were the Guillermos! Father and daughter of course. The Waves will definitely miss her: one of the best players in recent years. Imagine if she was still competing for the team this season lol. Timing is everything.

    Valdes played, and Xepoleas sat out. I never thought this would happen. Maybe she was injured, dunno. She did have a horrible Fall season.

    Last season wasn't fun for me because Xepoleas was playing #6: of course she'll win lol, she's too good at that position(she was after all Regional sgls semifinalist, routing Kyle on the way). And I don't watch blowout matches, so inadvertently, did not really watch her play that much (she did defeat Lynn Chi at that position, but I was birding that day, romping around San Gabriel Mts. with Pasadena Audubon members!).

    I thought the 'saving grace' of USC's recent humdrum recruiting was getting Xepoleas: because she has the requisite firepower to be an elite player(and she was: you cannot advance to EB G16 sgls final and beat Claire Liu and threaten Hradecka without massive talent. Sure she wasn't really tested at G18, but still). But if she can't even start, I don't see the team getting very far: because without necessary firepower, it's so hard to compete against top teams. And frankly her playing #6 sgls is such a waste of talent(Of course it's up to the player themselves to realize their potential. Well Gugu started at #5 and is now starting at #1, so Meredith has hope I guess lol. How about Maegan Manasse!).

    So, left early to watch SMC vs UCLA: yes I decided to bird San Diego area and watch Kentucky vs USD as a bonus tomorrow lol. Wish me a safe trip.

    I don't even know the score nor who won, so will just write match impressions briefly, as usual. Oh just checked and the Waves won. I'll copy the scores later when they post recaps on their websites.

    Man, Michaela Capannolo(the fact that she isn't starting testifies to their depth) was loud rooting for her teammates, just like a Northern Mockingbird at Arlington Garden today morning! ;)  AG is a hidden gem in Pasadena: birds love it too! Spotted like 27 species, including a (lucky sightings) Mountain Chickadee and a White-throated Sparrow. Failed to find the target species, Summer Tanager though.

    1. Trojans led 5-2. Don't think they choked, just that the Waves managed to eliminate early errors. The Waves doesn't lack firepower, just that they made so many errors, especially drives. The Trojans were definitely more disciplined.

    On this matchup, Trojans are definitely the better movers. But Smith's condition didn't seem too good. Don't think I saw her poach much at all when I watched, and her weak drive returns got punished.

    At first the Trojans were making passing shot winners, but later on, the Waves settled down and began to drive solidly: did well to return those sharp angled drives by the Trojans, and Maddox volleyed well at net. Then even Cutura joined in. And at the crucial moment both Trojans sent weak returns to the middle of the court, which naturally got punished.

    MP(on Olmos' serve: they led 40-15) featured fittingly, both seniors' drive duel: then Olmos decided to be proactive, and aimed a dtl passing shot. Which got punished by Maddox. Can't really blame Olmos, of course. She wanted to finish the match aggressively.

    2. Jean didn't even have to do much: Stefani just dominated with her strong serve and excellent bh volleys. But the Trojans in fact volleyed quite well, both players. So the match was replete with poaching winners on both sides lol.

    3. Dzina was terrible lol. So many errors. Surprisingly easy win by the Trojans.


    Left during the 1st set.

    1. Quite high level methinks. Both hit well and aggressively. Gugu isn't a bad mover at all, now. But maybe Luisa was a bit better in this department.

    2. Mad played #2. Gulbe isn't a big hitter per se: so maybe struggled to return Mad's drives(I think she's a good server though. But Mad can produce impressive pace on her serve). As I said before, Mad has a surprisingly nice variety, dtl slice and such. Maybe she added it at USC: don't remember her using it a lot during juniors.

    3. Can't say, didn't really watch #3 and #5.

    4. Dzina was aggressive as usual, and it may have borne fruit. Managed to take charge of lots of points. Not sure Jess' condition was particularly good, but the score was surprisingly lopsided(of course the 1st set I mean).

    6. Similar to #4. Maddox was the more aggressive player, but also committed more drive errors methinks. Valdes seems to hit a heavy topspin on her fh, which were particularly effective in dbls methinks.

    Score from Pepperdine: they got it wrong, Zoe played #5 singles. Oh Pepperdine #1 dbls actually trailed 1-5, according to the recap.

    Wait a minute even USC posted that Meredith played #5? That can't be right, I for sure thought Zoe was playing. Or am I even becoming blind lol.

    Nope USC Twitter does say that Zoe played. Now, really, these two teams :p

    #18 Pepperdine 4, #4 USC 3
    Jan. 29, 2016 – Marks Stadium (Los Angeles, Calif.)

    (1) #18 Cutura/Maddox (Pepp.) def. #4 Olmos/Smith (USC) – 7-5
    (2)  #8 Runglerdkriangkrai/Stefani (PEP) def. Failla/Katz (USC) – 6-2
    (3) Valdes/Westby (USC) def. #45 Gulbe/Milovanovic (PEP) – 6-1

    Pepperdine wins doubles point
    Order of finish: 3, 2, 1

    (1) #14 Luisa Stefani (PEP) def. #42 Giuliana Olmos (USC) – 4-6, 6-2, 6-2*
    (2) #49 Madison Westby (USC) def. Laura Gulbe (PEP) – 6-4, 6-2
    (3) Gabby Smith (USC) def. Matea Cutura (PEP) – 6-3, 6-3
    (4) Dzina Milovanovic (PEP) def. #76 Jessica Failla (USC)– 6-2, 7-6 (1)
    (5) Apichaya Runglerdkriangkrai (PEP) def. Meredith Xepoleas (USC) – 7-5, 6-1
    (6) #48 Rianna Valdes (USC) def. Christine Maddox (PEP) – 6-1, 6-1
    Order of finish: 6, 5, 2, 3, 4, 1*