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Huskies continue magical season, beat No. 13 USC

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Nika Zupancic (left) and Stacey Fung (right) celebrate winning a point during their doubles match against USC. The Huskies took sole control of second place in the Pac-12 after a 4-3 victory over the Trojans Friday afternoon. 

The Washington women’s tennis team pulled out a big 4-3 win over No. 13 USC on Friday.

The Huskies (17-2, 7-1 Pac-12) got timely wins from the back end of their lineup (No. 4, 5, and 6 singles), which has dominated opponents this season. The Dawgs are now alone at second in the Pac-12, distancing themselves from the Trojans who move to 7-2 in conference play.

In singles, the Huskies were able to do just enough to pull out the upset win. Junior Natsuho Arakawa clinched the fourth point, defeating Rianna Valdes 6-3, 4-6, 6-3. Arakawa had to fight after losing the second set, but came up big when it mattered, winning several crucial deuce points to take control of the match.

“Coach Robin [Stephenson] teaches us to never be nervous,” Arakawa said. “I just knew that my team needed me, and I’m glad I could come up with the win for them.”

The Huskies started out strong, and won their first sets in four of their six singles matches. The UW went on to win all four matches where first sets were won.

The freshmen for the Huskies came up big. Sedona Gallagher won another match at No. 5 singles, defeating Danielle Willson 7-5, 6-1. With today’s win, Gallagher improves to 20-4 in singles this season.

Freshman Nika Zupancic also shined on Court 6, beating Becca Weissmann 6-0, 4-6, 6-1 for the Huskies’ third point. Zupancic used her athleticism to track down her opponent’s big groundstrokes and wear her down mentally.

Zupancic is now 9-1 this year in dual singles matches.

Sophomore Vanessa Wong produced another win at No. 2 singles, defeating Angela Kulikov in straight sets 6-3, 6-4.

Up next for the Huskies is No. 8 UCLA. The Dawgs will look to hold onto their momentum and topple another top-15 team on Sunday at noon. 

Reach reporter Caden Conder at  Twitter: @cadenmconder

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