Something has to give.
The Florida women’s tennis team carries a 20-match winning streak into today’s NCAA Championships semifinal match with Duke. The Blue Devils have won 18 straight — the second-longest streak in program history — after its 4-2 win over Georgia on Saturday.
Florida blanked Duke 5-0 in a weather-shortened match on March 14 in Gainesville. Lightning and Duke’s travel schedule forced the final two singles matches to be canceled.
“When we lost that match, all the girls said that hopefully we would have the chance to play them again,” Duke coach Jamie Ashworth said. “We wanted to play them again. We’re definitely looking forward to that opportunity. We always have really good matches with them.”
The women’s semifinals begin at 1 p.m. today.
Top-seeded UCLA and fifth-seeded Southern California play in the other match.
Florida is seeking its second straight national title. Duke is looking for its second in four years after winning in 2009.
Leaning on family
UCLA’s Carling Seguso has quite the accomplished support system here this week in her parents.
Her father, Robert Seguso, won more than 25 career ATP doubles titles and four grand slam doubles titles. Her mother, Carling Bassett-Seguso, was a top-20 WTA player in 1983 and 1986.
“I look to my dad actually more,” the Bruins’ senior said. “My mom is just there more for cheering. She’s the loud outspoken one. My dad is more the calm one there on the sideline. My mom was always more the person on the court that would just feed me tons of balls and tell me to move, move, move. My dad was always more technical.”
Seguso says she hears from officials at her matches about her parents.
“I find it kind of awkward, I don’t know why,” she said. “I’m like, ‘Cool.’ ”
Seguso won in straight sets in No. 6 singles against California in the quarterfinals and won her match at No. 3 doubles with McCall Jones.
She’s played at Nos. 4, 5 and 6 singles and didn’t know that she would play on Saturday until the day before due to an injury to Kaitlyn Ray, who is considered day-to-day.
“I always feel like I’m really well-prepared because in our practices, they don’t treat anyone differently from one to eight,” Seguso said. “I always get in the practices. Over the years, people do get injured and I do know that.”
Strike up the band
A small contingent of the University of Southern California Marching Trojan Band found its way to Athens on Sunday to help cheer on the Trojans and the Women of Troy for the next several days at the NCAA Championships.
Assistant band director R.J. Suddeth said many of the band’s 300 members are on a three-concert tour of England (the band played at Trafalgar Square in London on Sunday) and added their presence was requested by men’s coach Peter Smith.
“(Smith) called and asked us to come down for the semifinals,” said Suddeth, who’s been with the band for 12 years. “He said they really wanted the band there, so we scrambled to get some guys together to come down.”
Smith stopped on the stairs to take a picture of the band members after his team’s 4-1 quarterfinal win against Duke on Sunday.
“Really, does it get any better than that?” Smith said. “It’s so cool. … It’s just a blast.”
There are 10 musicians on hand — two percussionists and eight brass players — and early Sunday they were perched in the grandstand behind Court 3 in Henry Feild Stadium.
Suddeth said the group plays before, during and after singles and doubles play but wouldn’t play during the matches. He added they have a canon of fight songs, rock classics and, of course, the 1979 Fleetwood Mac song “Tusk,” in which the band added its brass-and-drum flourishes on the original recording.
Besides performing at the home and away games for the Trojans’ football team and for other sporting events in Los Angeles, a group of players traveled to San Diego recently to root on the USC water polo team.
This and that
Southern Cal and UCLA, about 13 miles apart in Los Angeles, will meet in both the men’s and women’s semifinals today. Southern Cal won 50-0 in football against the Bruins at the L.A. Coliseum this school year, but UCLA won all three games against the Trojans in men’s basketball. USC won both women’s basketball games against the Bruins.