No. 10 Trojans Top UC Santa Cruz 6-1 To Open 2017 On A Winning Note|
Jan. 16, 2017
LOS ANGELES, CALIF. -- The No. 10 USC men's tennis team set the scene for its 2017 campaign in opening the year with a 6-1 win over visiting UC Santa Cruz on the Trojans' home courts at Marks Stadium. USC rattled off the double point first and then peeled out to victory in claiming five straight-set singles matches, with the clincher coming from freshman Riley Smith on court three. With its first dual match of 2017 in the books, USC opens the year 1-0.
The Trojans whipped up the doubles point with two swift wins on courts one and two. Freshman sensations Brandon Holt and Riley Smith paired up with their typical power and drilled out a 6-1 win over Slugs Dugan/Stone to get the 2017 season off on a winning note. Soon after, David Laser and Laurens Verboven finished off a 6-3 win over Hollister/Stone, and the first point of the match was on the board for the Trojans.
In singles play, it was veteran #114 Thibault Forget who set the tone for his Trojan teammates in ripping through to a 6-0, 6-1 victory on court one over UC Santa Cruz' Chad Stone. Up 2-0, USC saw the same freshmen who rang up the first double win of the year find similar success on the singles courts. At the No. 2 spot, #20 Brandon Holt took out Chad LeDuff 6-2, 6-1 to make it a 3-0 USC advantage, and then his double partner Riley Smith secured victory for the Trojans with a 6-4, 6-3 win over Derek Levchenko on court three. Just seconds later, junior Henry Ji topped off his court four match for a 6-3, 6-2 win over Sean Hollister, and USC gripped a 5-0 lead on the Banana Slugs.
Playing in the first dual match of his Trojan career, Jens Sweaney emerged victorious, notching a 6-4, 6-3 win over Ryan Dugan to lock in a 6-0 lead for the Trojans. That left a battle still raging on court five, where David Laser was looking to force a third set. His UC Santa Cruz opponent, Alexander Flora, would steal away that hope with a comeback effort in the second set to win it 7-5, 6-4 and round out the match as a 6-1 USC decision.
Before the action got underway at Marks Stadium, two Trojans were finishing off their run at the Sherwood Collegiate Cup in Westlake. Senior-sophomore duo Rob Bellamy and Jake DeVine were in the doubles final at the Sherwood after a strong run through the weekend. In the title match, though, the Trojans were edged out 7-5 by Baylor's Benitez/Tchoutakian to finish as runners-up at the event.
The Trojans remain home for the next stretch, hosting a doubleheader this weekend and then hosting three teams at ITA Kickoff Weekend at the end of the month. This Saturday (Jan. 21), USC will take on UC Riverside at 10 a.m. before turning to face UC Irvine at 2 p.m. -- all at Marks Stadium.
#10 USC 6, UC Santa Cruz 1