There’s a new brand of #TeamSoCal headed to Indian Wells today, and no, Roger Federer hasn’t bought real estate in Calabasas. While Federer and his friendly nemesis Rafael Nadal play quarterfinals on Friday to force a potential semifinal showdown, the men and women of USC arrive in Indian Wells to represent Southern California in the Oracle Collegiate Challenge, which begins today in tandem with the BNP Paribas Open.
Competing against teams from Arizona State University, Baylor University, Cornell University, Purdue University, University of California at Berkeley, University of Idaho, and University of Michigan, the Trojans bring a strong team to the desert in hopes of locking up the Oracle Challenge title. USC is led by Brandon Holt and Daniel Cukierman at 1 & 2 singles respectively, along with talented seniors Laurens Verboven and Jack Jaede. Holt and junior Riley Smith also pack quite a punch in doubles, if coach Peter Smith opts to roll out the cream of the crop at Indian Wells. The Trojans open against Cornell at 11am on Friday.
While the men’s team continues to find its groove entering conference play, the women’s squad has been strong since the outset this year, compiling an impressive 10-2 overall record to date, and they bring a six match winning streak to the desert. Coming off a PAC-12 Player of the Week honor, junior Angela Kulikov leads the way along with 2018 SCTA Sectionals champion Salma Ewing and senior Rianna Valdes into Saturday night’s action. Valdes & Kulikov also represent the team’s top doubles threat for second year head coach Alison Swain. They meet Baylor on Saturday night at 7pm, in a bracket that also includes NC State University.