March 10, 2015
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THE LAST MEETING
April 26, 2014
Libbey Park / Ojai, Calif.
No. 1 USC Falls 4-2 In Pac-12 Championship Match
The No. 1 USC men's tennis team was upended in the Pac-12 Tournament title match today, taking a 4-2 loss to No. 5 rival UCLA in the championship in Ojai, Calif. That puts the top-ranked Trojans, who carried a 17-match win streak into the final, with a 26-3 overall record on the way into the coming NCAA Tournament.
The No. 5 USC men line up for their first look at rival UCLA this week, hosting the first installment of the crosstown showdown in an 11 a.m. clash on Saturday (March 14). The singles portion of the match is scheduled to be televised on Pac-12 Networks beginning at 12 p.m. with Brian Webber and Paul Toricelli on the call. The Trojans and the Bruins tangled four times last season, splitting those contests before the Trojans manufactured their winning push to the 2014 NCAA Championship. For this weekend's battle, USC enters with an 11-2 overall record and ranked No. 5 in nation. UCLA is ranked 14 and holds an 8-5 record.
ITA RANKINGS UPDATES
The Trojans --- winners of five NCAA Championships in the past six years and the nation's leader with 21 total titles -- opened their 2015 campaign ranked No. 1 in the nation. USC was at No. 2 for one cycle after taking second at the ITA National Team Indoor Championships, but bounced back to No. 1 on Feb. 24. The Trojans' upset loss to No. 51 Tulsa, dropped USC out of the top spot. USC is now ranked No. 5 in the latest set of national rankings (March 10). The No. 6 rank is USC's lowest since standing at No. 7 in the March 8, 2011 team rankings. Individually, USC remains stacked in the rankings department. Seniors Yannick Hanfmann and Roberto Quiroz opened the year tabbed at #1 in doubles, and have since move to #4 in the latest set of individual rankings, released March 10. Yannick Hanfmann remains USC's highest ranked singles player, weighing in at #8 in the nation as he continues his senior season. Fellow senior Roberto Quiroz is next in line, ranked at #20 in the nation in singles. Joining that pair in the singles rankings are #35 Jonny Wang, #50 Nick Crystal and #51 Max de Vroome. Also in doubles, USC has #50 Max de Vroome and Eric Johnson teaming up for a spot in the rankings.
The No. 14 Bruins are 8-5 overall after beating Tulsa 5-0 last week. UCLA has two players nationally ranked in singles: #5 Mackenzie McDonald and #33 Dennis Mktchian. In doubles, UCLA has #6 McDonald/Redlicki. USC is 90-105 all-time against the Bruins in a series dating back to 1929. Last season, the Trojans and the Bruins split in their four faceoffs. USC won the first meeting 4-3 in the ITA National Indoor semifinal, lost 5-2 in a nonconference match in Westwood, won 4-2 in the Pac-12 regular-season clash at USC, and then fell 4-2 in the Pac-12 Tournament championship match.
USC claimed a decisive 5-2 win over the Toreros last week to get back in winning mode. After coming off a disappointing 4-3 loss to Tulsa the previous week, the Trojans were ready to make a comeback. USC claimed the first win of the day as the #2 duo of seniors Yannick Hanfmann and Roberto Quiroz defeated USD's Angus/Vittek 6-3. The Toreros answered with a win of their own as USC's Tanner Smith and Thibault Forget fell to Torero pair of Fitzgerald/Fosso. The action was now focused on court two, where it came down to a tie breaker. The Torero twosome of Kalaydjian/Petronijevic beat #30 Trojans Eric Johnson and Max de Vroome 7-6(6) in a competitive set to secure the doubles point. Entering the singles portion of the competition down 0-1 lit a fire under the Trojans. On court four, USC's #31 Jonny Wang closed out USD's Jordan Angus 6-2, 6-4 for the first Trojan point of the day. Almost immediately after, #72 de Vroome collected a 6-3, 6-3 win over Torero opponent, Geoffrey Fosso. This win pushed the Trojans ahead 2-1. Not long after, #6 Hanfmann fell to USD's #115 Uros Petronijevic 7-6(6), 6-2. This was Hanfmann's second singles loss of the season. With the score now tied at 2-2, the Trojans needed to gain momentum and earn points. Trojan #20 Quiroz was just the person to drive the energy back into USC's favor. He defeated USD's #68 Filip Vittek 7-6(6), 6-2. With the Trojans now holding a slight 3-2 lead, it was vital to make the final push to close out the match. On court six, USC's #45 Nick Crystal was locked in a heated battle. After dropping the first set to Torero Ciaran Firtzgerald 3-6, he fought back and won the next two sets 6-2, 6-4 to clinch the match for the Trojans. With only one match left in competition, court six featuring USC's Johnson and USD's Jordan Angus would finish playing even through the match was clinched. Johnson took the first set, 7-6(4), but lost the second one 4-6. The Trojan ended up having the final word as Johnson won the third set 6-2 to secure a 5-2 overall win for USC.
ITA INDOORS RECAP
Last month in Chicago at the ITA National Team Indoor Championships, the top-seeded Trojans worked their way to the title match for the fourth straight season. Opening up against No. 22 Penn State in their Round of 16 match, the Trojans swept through to a 4-0 win to advance. That pushed USC into a quarterfinal clash against Ohio State, which had beaten the Trojans in last year's championship match. USC found revenge in this year's matchup. The clincher came from top gun Yannick Hanfmann for the second straight match, with the senior's win on court one wrapping up a 4-1 victory for the Trojans to advance. In the semis, USC tangled with No. 4 Georgia for the second time in two weeks, having silenced the Bulldogs in Athens to start the month. This time, Georgia was able to grab the doubles point, but the Trojans charged back with four singles wins, capped by the clincher from senior Roberto Quiroz for the 4-1 comeback. That earned the Trojans yet another championship rematch, pitting USC against Oklahoma for the first time since the Trojans beat the Sooners in last year's NCAA Championship. This time, the Sooners took a 2-0 lead on the Trojans before senior Eric Johnson continued his winning ways with yet another singles victory to cut the margin down to 2-1. Oklahoma got ahead 3-1 next before Nick Crystal pulled off a three-set comeback win on court six to keep USC within reach, only to see the Sooners get the clincher with a three-setter on court five to ring up a 4-2 victory over the Trojans. After the close of the event, USC landed several Trojans on the ITA National Indoor All-Tournament Team for their powerful efforts in Chicago. In singles, Yannick Hanfmann was named to the No. 1 spot, Eric Johnson picked up the No. 4 singles spot, and Nick Crystal earned his place at No. 6. In doubles, Max de Vroome and Eric Johnson were tabbed on the All-Tourney Team at No. 2 doubles.
USC senior Eric Johnson was instrumental in driving the USC men to a fourth straight trip to the final of the ITA National Team Indoor Championship. He pinned up straight-set singles wins in the Round of 16, quarterfinal and semifinal to move USC into the title match. In doubles, he also was victorious alongside teammate Max de Vroome in the first two matches, while having his match suspended in the semifinal. He beat a ranked opponent in the quarterfinal round, topping #68 Ralf Steinbach of Ohio State to help USC win that match - a rematch of the 2014 ITA Indoors title match. In the final, Johnson was the only Trojan to win out in doubles and singles as USC fell 4-2 to No. 2 Oklahoma. The singles win marked Johnson's sixth straight victory and gave him an 8-1 mark in dual-match singles play. For his efforts, Johnson not only was named Pac-12 Player of the Week on Feb. 23 for the first time in his career, he earned multiple honors on the ITA National Team Indoor All-Tournament Team. He secured spots on team for his work at No. 4 singles and at No. 2 doubles with de Vroome. Johnson currently rides an eight-match singles win streak to hold a 14-7 overall record with a 10-1 mark in dual matches.
ROBERTO RULES IN ATHENS
USC senior Roberto Quiroz secured his fifth career selection as the Pac-12 Player of the Week with a powerful performance in Athens, Ga., at the Pac-12/SEC Showdown. Quiroz was victorious across the board in USC's winning weekend. The senior whipped up doubles wins in both matches to help USC pocket the first point in both eventual Trojan wins. The momentum he gathered up in doubles would propel Quiroz to two quick straight-set victories in singles. Against Florida's #81 Elliott Orkin, Quiroz' 6-2, 7-5 win lifted USC to a 2-0 lead over the Gators, en route to a final 5-2 victory. The next day, Quiroz whipped up the first singles win for the Trojans once again. This one was a big one, as the #68 Quiroz upset Georgia's #15 Nathan Pasha with a 7-5, 6-2 win to again put USC ahead 2-0 on the way to a final 4-0 shutout of the Bulldogs from his court two spot. The USC men improved to 5-0 overall with that winning road trip. Quiroz is now 15-4 overall in singles play and is 7-2 in dual matches.
CRYSTAL SHINES THROUGH
Nick Crystal pinned up two powerful singles wins to help drive the Trojans through two sweeps of opponents at the ITA Kick-Off Weekend. Crystal also was victorious in his doubles match vs. Louisiana alongside Connor Farren to help spark USC in its opening win over the weekend and push him on to a selection as the Pac-12 Player of the Week on Jan. 26. It's the first career honor for Crystal, and he's the first Trojan to win the award this season. Crystal was the first to win his singles match on both days, taking USC to a 2-0 lead against #73 Louisiana and then also against #57 Santa Clara. Crystal stands as USC's winningest player to date this season, now holding a 20-3 overall record in singles play. He's also now 9-0 in dual matches thanks to a nine-match singles win streak.
BREAKING GROUND ON NEW DIGS
The USC men's and women's tennis teams have called the David X. Marks Tennis Stadium home since its construction in 1971. This year, Trojan tennis will see its home revamped and renovated, bringing the venue up to date and in line with the impressive accomplishments of both programs. A ceremony to kickstart the renovation of Marks Stadium, which includes breaking ground on the Buntmann Family Tennis Center, was held on Tuesday (Feb. 24). Goals for this renovation are to elevate Marks Tennis Stadium to be on par with the best facilities in the country by creating an inviting, elegant, bright and safe training and competition environment. The Buntmann Family Tennis Center entrance and lobby will welcome fans and visitors and put on display the rich history of USC tennis. To improve the building functionality and support the tennis program operations, the new Lisa and Douglas Goldman Family Student-Athlete Learning Studio will support direct collaboration between coaches, staff and athletes on a daily basis. The teams will be able to utilize and enjoy brand-new suites with lockers, showers, team meeting rooms and lounges. Both teams will have access to a new training room, a stringing storage area and a large multi-purpose room. To better accommodate and enhance the spectator experience, new spectator shade canopies will be added, a new elevator to the seating area will be installed. In addition to the lead gift from the Buntmann family, the renovation has been made possible thanks to financial support from the Lisa and Douglas Goldman family, the Fritz B. Burns Foundation, John Shea and Michael Uytengsu. The renovation is expected to be complete for Spring 2016.
2015 TROJANS AT A GLANCE
The Trojans enter 2015 looking to add to their growing collection of recent NCAA championships. USC's fifth title in the past six years netted the university its 100th all-time NCAA Championship last year. The 2015 Trojans are certainly up to the task of defending that crown, thanks in part to a set of five Trojans who opened the season in the national singles rankings as well as the top-ranked doubles team in the land. USC seniors Yannick Hanfmann and Roberto Quiroz began 2015 as the nation's #1 pair, standing as the 2014 ITA National Indoor doubles champs and finalists at the ITA All-American in the fall. Both All-Americans, the seniors also appear on the singles list. Hanfmann reigns supreme as the highest ranking Trojan of them all, standing out at #3 in the nation. He reached the singles final at the ITA All-American and reached the quarterfinals at the ITA National Indoors. Next in line is another USC senior. Jonny Wang enjoys easily his highest post of his Trojan career, ranking #8 in the nation after a powerful fall campaign. Wang was a finalist at the ITA Southwest Regional Championships and reached the Round of 16 at the ITA All-American and ITA National Indoors. Sophomore Nick Crystal, meanwhile, stands at #58 in the nation. He reached the final of the USTA Clay Court Invitational and swept the titles at the Battle in the Bay in the fall. Senior Roberto Quiroz was limited in his action during the fall, and picks up a #68 ranking to start the spring, having reached the Round of 32 at the ITA All-American. Rounding out the USC rankings list is junior Max de Vroome -- clincher of the 2014 NCAA Championship victory. The junior reached the ITA Southwest Regional semifinals during the fall.