No. 7 Seeded Georgia Edges No. 10 USC In NCAA Round of 16

    Peter Smith's Trojans went down-to-the-wire and came up just short of a Round of 16 upset win.
    May 20, 2016

    TULSA, OKLA. -- The No. 10 seeded USC men's tennis team played an intensely competitive NCAA Round of 16 match against No. 7 seed Georgia and came up just a touch short in a 4-3 loss to the Bulldogs. In a see-saw battle that went down to the wire as the sun set on Tulsa's Michael D. Case Tennis Center, Georgia got a late rally on court one to secure the match on a heart-pounding three-setter. The Trojans' loss wraps the 2016 season with a 17-7 overall record.

    "I think with matches like that you have this overwhelming sense of being a part of something that is bigger than you. It's such a great rivalry between UGA and us," USC head coach Peter Smith said. "To play that quality of a match for three and half hours, you really feel like it's a honor and privilege to be a part of it. It hurts to lose, but it was just a great match. It ends with our two best players, who are seniors, who have had such successful careers, going out. You just feel sorry that you had to lose it, but they played a great match and that's the way sports go."

    The Trojans got a crucial boost in doubles thanks to a decisive push on court one from #46-ranked junior-freshman combo pack Nick Crystal and Laurens Verboven. That pair took no prisoners, whipping up a 6-1 win on court one over Georgia's Smith/Wagland. While Max de Vroome and Thibault Forget were duking it out with the Bulldogs on court two, USC's young guns Jack Jaede and Tanner Smith held their ground on court three and pulled off the doubles clincher with a 6-4 win over Montgomery/Reinberg.



    That win propelled the Trojans into singles play with a 1-0 advantage over the higher seeded Bulldogs. Freshman Jack Jaede would continue on his hot streak and drum up a solid 6-3, 6-3 win on court five over Jan Zielinski to launch USC to a 2-0 lead. Georgia would get in the game next, though. At the No. 2 spot, Georgia's #32 Wayne Montgomery got the best of USC's #41 Nick Crystal despite a battle put forth by Crystal in the second set. The 6-1, 6-4 decision put a point on the board for the Bulldogs, but USC had an answer. On court four, USC sophomore Thibault Forget made a stand in his second-set tiebreaker to haul his Trojans to a 3-1 lead on his 6-2, 7-6 (6) win over Georgia's Walter Duncan.

    USC's 3-1 lead would be put to the test next. On court six, the Bulldogs issued a warning shot with a three-set comeback as Nick Wood topped Rob Bellemy 4-6, 6-2, 6-1 to work within a point of the Trojans. The equalizer would come at the No. 3 spot where Georgia's #64 Paul Oosterbaan fended off USC's #64 freshman Logan Smith with a tough second-set tiebreaker. That 6-4, 7-6 (7) decision locked up the match at 3-3 and put all eyes on court one, where two seniors were in a full-on battle to keep their respective teams alive in the NCAA bracket. USC's #23 senior Max de Vroome had fought off a first-set deficit with a powerful second set against Georgia's #17 Austin Smith. The two big guns went toe-to-toe in the third, with Smith managing to return almost all of de Vroome's ferocious serves to stay in the match an ultimately stage a comeback that wound up with Smith hanging on for one last break to post a 7-6 (5), 1-6, 7-5 victory that clinched the match as a 4-3 Georgia victory.

    USC has two Trojans who will journey on in NCAA individual action next, as Nick Crystal and Max de Vroome are set up for slots in the NCAA Singles Championships running May 25-30 in Tulsa.

    ROUND OF 16
    [7] Georgia 4, [10] USC 3
    May 20, 2016 - Michael D. Case Tennis Center (Tulsa, Okla.)
    (1) #46 Crystal/Verboven (USC) def. Smith/Wagland (UGA) - 6-2
    (2) de Vroome/Forget (USC) vs. Oosterbaan/Zielinski (UGA) - 4-5 susp.
    (3) Jaede/T. Smith (USC) def. Montgomery/Reinberg (UGA) - 6-4
    USC wins doubles point.
    Order of finish: 1, 3
    (1) #17 Austin Smith (UGA) def. #23 Max de Vroome (USC) - 7-6 (5), 1-6, 7-5*
    (2) #32 Wayne Montgomery (UGA) def. #41 Nick Crystal (USC) - 6-1, 6-4
    (3) #64 Paul Oosterbaan (UGA) def. #69 Logan Smith (USC) - 6-4, 7-6 (7)
    (4) #121 Thibault Forget (USC) def. #123 Walker Duncan (UGA) - 6-2, 7-6 (6)
    (5) Jack Jaede (USC) def. Jan Zielinski (UGA) - 6-3, 6-3
    (6) Nick Wood (UGA) def. Rob Bellamy (USC) - 4-6, 6-2, 6-1
    Order of finish:  5, 2, 4, 6, 3, 1*