March 12, 2014
USC Men's Tennis Release
The No. 4 USC men's tennis team digs in for another quality doubleheader at Marks Stadium this week, hosting Notre Dame and Hawai'i back-to-back on Friday (March 15). The Trojans (13-2) open the day with its sixth top-10 opponent of the year in taking on No. 8 Notre Dame at 12 p.m. before turning to face Hawai'i at 4 p.m. that afternoon.
ITA RANKINGS UPDATES
The Trojans -- winners of four consecutive NCAA Championships from 2009-2012 and the nation's leader with 20 total titles -- opened their 2014 campaign ranked No. 4 in the nation. After a runner-up finish at the ITA National Team Indoor Championships, USC had moved up to stand at No. 2, but the Trojans now currently sit at No. 4in the land as of March 11. In the individual rankings (released March 11), senior Ray Sarmiento continues to lead the pack, ranked No. 3 in the nation in singles. He is joined on the national rankings list by five more Trojans -- No. 11 junior Yannick Hanfmann, No. 46 junior Jonny Wang, No. 64 Roberto Quiroz, No. 96 Max de Vroome and No. 118 Michael Grant. In doubles, USC has Hanfmann/Sarmiento ranked No. 8 in the land and Crystal/Grant at No. 49.
USC picked up two more wins in a doubleheader last week against No. 12 Baylor and UC Riverside to hold a four-match win streak. The Trojans started off the day with a 5-2 win over a talented Baylor squad. The Bears came out of the games strong when Diego Galeano and Tony Lupieri took down USC's Max de Vroome and Eric Johnson on court two in a resounding 8-1 victory. The Trojans bounced back on court one, where USC's indomitable duo of Yannick Hanfmann and Ray Sarmiento pulled off a close tiebreak win over Baylor's Patrick Pradella and Mate Zsiga, 8-7 (4). This left all eyes on court three, where USC's Roberto Quiroz and Rob Bellamy were battling it out with Baylor's Michel Dornbusch and Julian Lenz. It was the first time these Trojans had played together this season, as Quiroz's usual partner, Connor Farren was out with a foot injury. Dornbusch and Lenz took the match 8-6 and the Trojans headed into singles play down 1-0. The Bears quickly extended their lead to 2-0 when Lupieri defeated USC's #43 Jonny Wang, 6-1, 6-1. It was the last match the Trojans would drop all day, though, as they came roaring back with five straight wins. USC's #80 Quiroz served up an easy 6-1, 6-2 win over Zsiga to pull USC within one point. Then, de Vroome topped #18 Galeano, 6-3, 6-3 to tie the match up. With the score tied, all three remaining matches would go to three sets. On court six, Johnson dropped the first set but flexed his muscle in the next two sets, pulling off a 4-6, 6-3, 6-3 win over Dornbusch to give USC its first lead of the day. With the Trojans up 3-2, the fate of the match was left up to the players on the top two courts. On court one, USC's Sarmiento and Baylor's Lenz, who are tied for #6 in the nation, duked it out. Sarmiento dropped the first set, but was able to make a comeback in the second, pulling off a tiebreak victory. After that, he didn't look back, charging ahead to a 4-6, 7-6 (2), 6-0 win to clinch the match for the Trojans. USC's #10 Hanfmann was left playing the closest match of the day, eventually dialing up a 6-7 (3), 7-6 (3), 6-4 victory over a fellow German in Baylor's #13 Pradella. This capped off a 5-2 Trojan victory, which took four and a half hours -- but USC's day was only halfway over, as the team had to get right back on the court to host the UC Riverside Highlanders. That match would prove much easier for the Trojans, who came out on top with a 7-0 win. USC rested some of its starters, but still got the job done in doubles. Johnson and de Vroome moved up to court two and delivered an 8-2 win over UCR's Marcus Vizcarra and Jack Felich to get the Trojans off on the right foot. Quiroz and Bellamy clinched the doubles point for USC with an 8-3 victory over UCR's Michael Carella and Cooper Bridge on court one. All six Trojan singles players served up straight-set victories to earn USC its second win of the day. Quiroz maintained his momentum throughout the day, defeating UCR's Luis Gaståo, 6-2, 6-0 on court one to increase USC's lead to 2-0. Not long after that, Michael Grant put up a 6-2, 6-1 score against UCR's Sean Yun on court four. De Vroome clinched the match for the Trojans with a dominant 6-2, 6-0 win over UCR's Cooper Bridge next on court two. Even after the match was clinched, the Trojans refused to let up. Wang defeated UCR's Felich, 6-1, 6-2, before Nick Crystal won 6-2, 6-3 over UCR's Carella in his dual-match singles debut at Marks Stadium. Bellamy took it home for USC with a 7-5, 6-3 victory over UCR's Vizcarra to end the Trojans' long day.
SCOUTING NOTRE DAME
The No. 8 Fighting Irish are 11-4 overall after taking a 6-1 loss to Virginia on March 2. Notre Dame has #28 Greg Andrews nationally ranked in singles and #18 Andrews/Lawson ranked in doubles. USC is 11-1 all-time against Notre Dame in a series dating back to 1971 after beating the the Irish 6-1 last season in South Bend.
The Rainbow Warriors are 5-7 overall after beating Sacred Heart 7-0 last week. The Rainbow Warriors have no players nationally ranked in singles or doubles. USC and Hawai'i have met just once before in 2009 when USC posted a 4-3 win at Marks Stadium.
ITA INDOOR ACTION
On Feb. 14-17 in Houston, USC worked its way through to the title match of the ITA National Team Indoor Championships for the third straight season. The No. 3 seeded Trojans opened up with a 4-1 win over No. 14 Tennessee in the Round of 16 before taking down No. 6 Baylor in the quarterfinals. That set up an early clash against crosstown rival UCLA in the semifinals. The Trojans and the Bruins had met in last year's semi as well, and this season the Trojans replicated their efforts with another 4-3 victory over UCLA. Yannick Hanfmann held on for the clincher in that one, upsetting #5 Marcos Giron with a 6-3, 3-6, 6-3 victory that sealed the tight win for the Trojans and sent them into the title match for the third year in a row. There, USC was up against an upset-minded No. 5 seed Ohio State, which had upended top-seeded Virginia in the semifinals. The Buckeyes handed the Trojans their first loss of a double point on the year, and went on to post a 4-1 decision over USC to claim the title. USC junior Roberto Quiroz was the lone Trojan to come away from the tourney unscathed, having won two doubles and two singles matches during the action. For his winning efforts, Quiroz was named Pac-12 Player of the Week.
RO IN CONTROL
Roberto Quiroz helped drive the Trojans to a third straight appearance in the title match of the ITA National Team Indoor Championships with undefeated play in singles and doubles. For his winning efforts, Quiroz was named Pac-12 Player of the Week for the first time this season and the third time in his Trojan career. Across the Round of 16, quarterfinals and semifinals, Quiroz grabbed two doubles and two singles victories. He opened the competition with the point-clinching doubles victory in the Round of 16 against #14 Tennessee and was up a set in his singles match when the Trojans secured that 4-1 win. In the quarterfinals against #6 Baylor, Quiroz won across the board, getting the first doubles win to help grab that first point and then taking the Trojans to a 2-0 advantage with a powerful straight-set victory over Mate Zsiga at the No. 3 singles spot. In the crosstown rivalry clash against #2 UCLA, Quiroz' double match was suspended once the Trojans captured that first point, and he'd bump USC ahead 3-0 in the match later when he upset UCLA's #51 Mackenzie McDonald with a straight-set victory that helped boost the Trojans to the upset team win and punch that ticket to the championship match against Ohio State. Both his doubles and singles matches would wind up suspended in that one, as the Buckeyes claimed the title with a 4-1 decision over the Trojans. Quiroz now holds a 16-3 overall singles record and an 8-1 record in doubles with teammate Connor Farren.
BEATING THE BULLDOGS
In the first edition of the Pac-12 SEC Showdown, USC served up a 4-0 takedown of No. 3 Georgia. After pulling off a tight doubles point, the Trojans rattled off three straight-set singles wins to wrap a quick victory over the visiting Bulldogs. Setting the winning tone for the Trojans was USC's top guns on the doubles courts, Yannick Hanfmann and Ray Sarmiento. They more than held their ground against Georgia's #12 Pieters/Wagland and hustled to a 6-2 win on court one. The Bulldogs made it interesting by snagging the win on court three in a tiebreaker, as UGA's Diaz/Smith edged out USC's Max de Vroome and Eric Johnson. That set up the heroics on court two, where USC's new combo pack of freshman Connor Farren and junior Roberto Quiroz continued their winning ways. Up 5-4 on Georgia's Brasseaux/Pasha with Quiroz on the service line, the Trojans finished off the Bulldogs with one last blast at the net by Farren, and USC had the 6-4 win and the doubles point in hand. The feature presentation of the singles scene was set for court one, where USC's #10 senior Ray Sarmiento was up against Georgia's #12 Austin Smith. While that battle ensued, it was USC junior Jonny Wang who ripped his way to the first singles victory of the day. #67 Wang wrapped up USC's second point with a smooth 6-3, 6-1 win over Georgia's Hernus Pieters on court five. Meanwhile, at the No. 2 spot, USC's #34 junior Yannick Hanfmann was all business in his first set tiebreaker against UGA's #21 Nathan Pasha. The momentum Hanfmann gleaned from that tiebreak sweep carried him through to a strong second set, as he would tally a 3-0 lead for the Trojans with his 6-5 (0), 6-1 win. With the Trojans poised for the upset victory, Sarmiento buckled down in his clash with #12 Smith. The senior would lock in the W for USC on a 6-4, 6-4 win at the No. 1 spot to suspend action on the remaining courts.
HANFMANN'S A HERO
USC junior Yannick Hanfmann served up two singles upsets of higher ranked opponents and paired with teammate Ray Sarmiento for two more doubles wins - one over a #12 ranked pair - to help the Trojans two big wins over SEC opponents last weekend. For his heroic efforts, Hanfmann was been named Pac-12 Player of the Week on Feb. 4. It's the first such award for a Trojan this season and the fourth of Hanfmann's USC career. Hanfmann and the No. 4 Trojans kicked of the first edition of the Pac-12/SEC Showdown with an upset shutout of the nation's No. 3 team, Georgia. Unranked Hanfmann and Sarmiento took out #12 Pieters/Wagland of Georgia 6-2 for the first win of the day, and in singles #32 Hanfmann would notch another upset with a powerful 6-5 (0), 6-0 win over #21 Nathan Pasha on court two to speed the Trojans along to the 4-0 win over the Bulldogs. The next day, Hanfmann and Sarmiento secured the doubles point against Florida with another win on court one, and Hanfmann would make it a 3-0 lead on the Gators with another singles upset, beating #28 Stephen Piro in straight sets 6-5 (5), 6-2 on court two. Hanfmann is now 8-1 overall in singles and 3-0 in doubles with Sarmiento.
USC junior Eric Johnson won both his singles matches and grabbed a doubles shutout win during USC's victorious run at the ITA Kick-Off Weekend. Johnson secured the Trojans' trip to the ITA National Indoor Championships with his clinching singles win against Wichita State, posting a 6-2, 6-2 win over Wichita State's Cuic to lock USC in with another shutout win to open 2014 team play. The previous day, Johnson had paired with Max de Vroome for a smooth 6-0 shutout in doubles against Santa Clara before tallying USC's first singles win of the day with his 6-1, 6-2 victory that helped spark the Trojans to a shutout in their spring season opener.
2014 TROJANS AT A GLANCE
In 2013, the Trojan men came up just short in their efforts to defend a string of four consecutive national championships, as USC was bumped out of the NCAA Tournament in the quarterfinals to finish the year at 26-5 overall and with a No. 5 national ranking. Only one member of that 2013 team has departed Troy, with Emilio Gomez having entered the pro ranks. The remaining Trojan contingent is a powerful crew, with six players already boasting at least one NCAA championship ring. The 2014 Trojans are led by senior All-American Ray Sarmiento, who starts up 2014 in the same place he began 2013 -- ranked No. 10 in the nation in singles. He is joined on the national rankings list by four more Trojans -- No. 32 junior Yannick Hanfmann, No. 67 junior Jonny Wang, No. 70 senior Michael Grant and No. 113 junior Roberto Quiroz. All five of those Trojans have been members of at least one NCAA championship squad. In all, USC boasts three ITA All-Americans on its 2014 roster in Hanfmann, Quiroz and Sarmiento. Also back in action for the USC men is junior Eric Johnson and sophomore Max de Vroome, while USC head coach Peter Smith has welcomed five newcomers to the roster in freshmen Rob Bellamy, Nick Crystal and David Laser, along with spring additions Connor Farren and Sander Brendmoe.