No. 8 USC Men Take First Loss Of 2017 At Pac-12/SEC Challenge

    Feb. 4, 2017

    GAINESVILLE, FLA. — The No. 8 USC men’s tennis team was dealt its first loss of the year and first loss at the Pac-12/SEC Challenge with today’s 4-3 defeat at the hands of this year’s event host, No. 11 Florida. The Trojans picked up the doubles point to open the match, but the Gators responded by snagging the first four singles wins in that next stretch to secure victory before two Trojans tallied wins in the final two matches. The 4-3 loss puts USC at 5-1 overall on the year.

    As the match got underway, USC made the first move of the day. At the No. 2 spot in doubles, USC’s Nick Crystal and Lauren Verboven whipped up a 6-3 win over Florida’s Lipman/Perez-Blanco. As a battle ensued on court one, another tense match was playing out at the No. 3 position. There, it was USC’s Rob Bellamy and Jack Jaede who locked in a 1-0 lead for the Trojans on a gutsy 7-5 win over Florida’s Kessler/Orkin. That suspend play between USC’s freshman pairing of Brandon Holt and Riley Smith against Florida’s #3 Ingildsen/Perez on court one, and brought up singles action. 

    Florida would tangle up the match at 1-1 when #13 Alfredo Perez worked out to a 6-1, 6-2 win over USC’s #28 sophomore Logan Smith on court one. The Gators would grab the lead soon after when #64 Elliott Orkin managed a 6-3, 6-3 win over USC’s #88 senior Nick Crystal at the No. 3 spot. Florida would move closer to the finish line when Johannes Ingildsen forged ahead of USC freshman Riley Smith on court six. That 7-5, 6-3 Gator win had Florida up 3-1 in the match. 

    On court three, USC’s #114 Thibault Forget fought off two match points to extend his match against #67 McClain Kessler, but Kessler was about to win it after surrendering a third match point, closing out a 7-5, 6-4 win over Forget that clinched the match for the Gators with the hosts up 4-1 on the Trojans. 

    The teams would play out the remaining matches, and the Trojans were far from done. In three-setters on courts two and five, USC was able to register the last two wins of the day. On court two, USC’s #20 freshman Brandon Holt made a three-set comeback to beat Florida’s Chase Perez-Blanco in an impressive 3-6, 7-5, 6-2 battle from behind. Finally, on court five, USC sophomore Jack Jaede stayed focused and pulled off a third-set tiebreaker to beat #98 Maxx Lipman 6-4, 4-6, 7-6 (6) and wrap the day’s action in Gainesville.

    USC will now face No. 5 Georgia in tomorrow’s continuation of the Pac-12/SEC Challenge at 10 a.m. ET.

    Pac-12/SEC CHALLENGE (Ring Tennis Complex | Gainesville, Fla.)

    #11 Florida 4, #8 USC 3
    Feb. 4, 2017 | Gainesville, Fla.
    (1) #3 Ingildsen/Perez (FLA) vs. Holt/R. Smith (USC) - DNF
    (2) Crystal/Verboven (USC) def. Blanco/Lipman (FLA) -  6-3
    (3) Bellamy/Jaede (USC) def. Kessler/Orkin (FLA) - 7-5
    USC wins doubles point.
    Order of finish: 2, 3
    (1) #13 Alfredo Perez (FLA) def. #28 Logan Smith (USC) - 6-1, 6-2
    (2) #20 Brandon Holt (USC) def. Chase Perez-Blanco (FLA) - 3-6, 7-5, 6-2
    (3) #64 Elliott Orkin (FLA) def. #88 Nick Crystal (USC) - 6-3, 6-3
    (4) #67 McClain Kessler (FLA) def. #114 Thibault Forget (USC) - 7-5, 6-4*
    (5) Jack Jaede (USC) def. #98 Maxx Lipman (FLA) - 6-4, 4-6, 7-6 (6)
    (6) Johannes Ingildsen (FLA) def. Riley Smith (USC) - 7-5, 6-3
    Order of finish: 1, 3, 6, 4*, 2, 5