March 14, 2017
USC Men's Tennis Release
The No. 7 Trojans have a busy week ahead, hosting a doubleheader at Marks Stadium before hitting the road for Indian Wells for more dual-match competition at the BNP Paribas Open Collegiate Challenge. First up is that double dose of action on Tuesday (March 14), with USC (13-2) facing off against Lehigh at 11 a.m. before turning to a 3 p.m. clash against Texas Tech at Marks Stadium. Out in Indian Wells, the Trojans have drawn an opening matchup against South Florida on Friday (March 17). From there, USC will line up against opponents to be determined as play continues with a match on Saturday (March 18) and Sunday (March 19) out at the BNP Paribas Open Collegiate Challenge. In addition to USC and USF, the other teams participating in the event are Baylor, Cal, Oklahoma, Purdue, SMU and Tulsa.
THE LAST MEETING
March 12, 2009
No. 13 USC Men Edge No. 30 Texas Tech 4-3
The No. 13 USC men's tennis team saw freshman Matt Kecki clinch a tight match with No. 30 Texas Tech by beating out his Red Raider opponent in a three-set battle. Kecki's win put the Trojans ahead 4-3 for the match, improving USC's overall mark to 11-3.
THE LAST MEETING
February 12, 2016
No. 6 USC Men Advance To Quarterfinals In ITA National Indoors
The No. 6 USC men's tennis team went down to the wire and pulled through again, snagging a 4-3 victory over No. 13 South Florida in the Round of 16 at the ITA National Team Indoor Championships. At the Boar's Head Sports Club, the Trojans had to fight out of an early hole, but kept the Bulls within reach. After freshman Jake DeVine pulled USC even at 3-3, sophomore Thibault Forget came through in the clutch and delivered the deciding blow with a three-set victory from court six to clinch the match for USC and keep the Trojans perfect at 6-0 overall this season. USC will now advance to the Quarterfinals tomorrow (Feb. 13) against TCU.
BNP PARIBAS PLAN
The BNP Paribas Open Collegiate Challenge brings eight teams to Indian Wells for three matches running March 17-19. On Friday (March 17), top-seeded Cal opens the action with an 8:30 a.m. matchup against Purdue, followed by No. 3 seed Baylor vs. SMU at 11 a.m. The No. 4 seed, USC has that 2 p.m. clash with USF at 2 p.m. before No. 2 seeded Oklahoma plays Tulsa at 5 p.m. Winners advance to the semifinals on Saturday (March 18), while losing teams go to the consolation side of the draw. All teams will have a match on Sunday (March 19), highlighted by the championship bout at 10 a.m.
ORACLE/ITA RANKINGS UPDATES
For the 10th straight season, the USC men's tennis team kicked off the new year ranked in the nation's top-10 of the Oracle/ITA rankings. The Trojans opened 2017 ranked No. 10 in the nation. As of the latest set of national team rankings (March 24), USC is at No. 7 in the land after spending previous weeks at No. 8, 9, 12, 10 and 14. The latest individual rankings of 2017 (released March 7) has two Trojans ranked in singles and two ranked doubles teams. In this latest round of rankings, freshman Brandon Holt remains at the top of the list for the Trojans as he's upgraded his ranking to No. 16 in the nation in singles. Sophomore Logan Smith is next in line, now slotted at No. 45 in singles. In doubles, USC's freshman duo of Holt and Riley Smith sits at No. 19 in the nation. Junior Thibault Forget and Logan Smith are now paired up at No. 55.
The Mountain Hawks enter the week at 2-6 after a 5-2 loss to Saint Francis in their last competition. Lehigh will visit Azusa Pacific on Monday before Tuesday's clash against the Trojans. Lehigh has no players or doubles teams in the national rankings. This will be the first-ever meeting between USC and Lehigh.
SCOUTING TEXAS TECH
Coached by former USC assistant coach Brett Masi, the Red Raiders are 6-9 overall after a 4-0 loss to Illinois and a 5-2 loss to Northwestern last week. Texas Tech has #63 Jolan Cailleau nationally ranked in singles. In doubles, Texas Tech has #33 Curry/Thomson and #53 Bisht/Curry. USC is 1-0 all-time against Texas Tech after posting a 4-3 win in the teams' first meeting in 2009 in Los Angeles.
USC jumped out ahead of crosstown rival No. 13 UCLA and closed out a 4-1 win over the visiting Bruins last week with a gutsy clincher coming from sophomore Logan Smith on court three. The victory snapped a three-match skid against the Bruins and avenged a February loss to UCLA. Similar to their last meeting, the Trojans had the upper hand in doubles. This time, however, USC would speed to the finish line, netting a 6-1 win on court two by Nick Crystal and Laurens Verboven over UCLA's Brymer/Rapp. Up on the scoreboard next was USC's Rob Bellamy and Jack Jaede, who whipped up a 6-3 decision over Cressy/Goldberg on court three to tally a 1-0 lead for the Trojans. That suspended action on court one, where USC's #19 Brandon Holt and Riley Smith were trailing UCLA's #26 Redlicki/Zhu 4-5. In singles, USC looked to have a handle on things early. Jack Jaede, Thibault Forget, Brandon Holt and Logan Smith all strung up wins in their opening sets. UCLA would come through with first-set victories on courts two and six, but USC appeared to be in control the rest of the way. Thibault Forget hit the finish line first for the Trojans from court five, where he delivered a swift 6-2, 6-1 win over Austin Rapp to make it a 2-0 USC advantage. While the tilt between USC's Jaede and UCLA's Logan Staggs stretched into a third set, USC's #16 freshman Brandon Holt proved a stubborn opponent on court one. Up a break, Holt didn't surrender a point in the final game, drumming up an ace to cap off a 6-4, 6-3 win over UCLA's #42 Martin Redlicki to get USC ahead 3-0. Matches would tighten up down the line, putting the outcome in question, and UCLA would register its first point of the match with a 7-5, 6-2 win by #11 Gage Brymer over USC's Nick Crystal on court two. But USC's #45 Logan Smith decided to avert a dramatic finish by buckling in and turning the tide on a 4-5 deficit in the second set. Instead of letting his match slip into a third set, Smith held serve, got the break and then held his ground again to finish out a 6-4, 7-5 clincher for his Trojans over UCLA's Evan Zhu. With USC's 4-1 lead in the books, the remaining matches were suspended. Freshman Riley Smith was about to start his third set against Max Cressy on court six, while Jaede was deep into a third against Staggs.
It was going to be a season of firsts no matter what for Brandon Holt, who has stepped into a key role for the Trojans as a freshman. Rightly so, Holt was the first Trojan to be named Pac-12 Player of the Week after another winning week. USC leads the conference in all-time Pac-12 Player of the Week awards, having claimed 49 now on the men's side with Holt's selection on Feb. 27. In two tight 4-3 wins the previous week, Holt came through in the clutch with singles wins that gave USC a leg up in both matches. Against No. 33 Cal Poly on Thursday, Holt and fellow freshman Riley Smith scored a win over #35 Donovan/Pang in doubles on court one. In singles, Holt tallied a straight-set victory over #57 Ben Donovan -- again on court one -- to push his Trojans out to a 23-2 lead in an eventual 4-3 victory over the visiting Mustangs. The next day against No. 35 Stanford, Holt was on his game once again. This time, the freshman took down Stanford's #12-ranked Tom Fawcett with another decisive straight-set win, beating the Cardinal's top gun 6-4, 6-2 to get a 2-1 lead for USC in a match that the Trojans would finally wrap as another 4-3 victory. Now ranked #16 in the nation in singles, Holt leads USC in singles and doubles wins this season. He's currently 27-5 overall in singles and has paired with Riley Smith for a #19 national ranking in gathering a 15-3 record together to date.
BY THE NUMBERS
As dual match play continues to roll along, one Trojan has broken ground on the 20-win club to date with several more closing the gap. Freshman Brandon Holt claimed his 20th singles win in the ITA Kick-Off Weekend championship bout against San Diego, and he now boasts 27 singles wins to lead the Trojans to date. Behind Holt's charge, there are now seven Trojans who have claimed 15 or more singles victories so far this season. Rob Bellamy and Thibault Forget each have 18 wins to date. Next in line are three Trojans with 15 wins to date -- sophomore Jack Jaede, who rides a 12-match win streak, sophomore Logan Smith, who clinched last week's win over UCLA, and freshman Riley Smith, who has won six in a row. In doubles, USC's winningest pair is currently the talented freshman duo of Brandon Holt and Riley Smith with 15 wins together to date. Right behind them in the win column is senior-sophomore combo pack of Nick Crystal and Laurens Verboven, who have claimed 14 wins.
In its ninth straight trip to the ITA National Team Indoor Championships, USC wound up facing off against crosstown rival UCLA in the Round of 16 out in Charlottesville, Va. USC grabbed the opening point with a gutsy win in doubles, but the No. 7 Bruins were able to pull off a 4-3 win over the Trojans with a strong stand in singles. Relegated to consolation play from there, USC continued its success in doubles, and rang up a swift 5-0 win over Utah State the next day. In their final match at the event, the Trojans locked in on another doubles point and would hold off a tough No. 13 Baylor squad to wrap the trip with a 4-2 victory. The biggest winners on the weekend for USC were Jack Jaede, who collected three singles wins from his spot on court five, and the doubles pair of Nick Crystal and Laurens Verboven, who also drummed up three wins in three matches from court two.
Brandon Holt was the star of the fall for the Trojans, posting a 17-3 record out of the gates while snagging the consolation title at the ITA All-American to earn a place at ITA National Indoors in New York, and while also winning the Southern California Intercollegiate crown. Logan Smith's highlight for the fall was a run to the ITA Southwest Regional singles semifinals, while accumulating a 9-6 singles mark. Nick Crystal, meanwhile, had faced Holt in that Southern California Intercollegiate semi, and also competed at the ITA Oracle and ITA All-American events en route to a 6-5 fall singles record. Thibault Forget racked up 11 wins in the fall, going 11-4 while reaching the ITA Southwest Regional singles title match along the way.
2017 TROJANS AT A GLANCE
The No. 10 Trojans are on the cusp of the 2017 spring season, where they will be looking to open up another path to the NCAA Tournament. With five national championships claimed in the last eight years, Peter Smith's Trojans are poised for another successful campaign. Coming off a 2016 journey to the NCAA Round of 16, the 2017 Trojans look to improve on that 17-7 record from last season. With the loss of just one senior from that team, USC has a powerful arrangement of young and experienced talent this year. The 2017 Oracle/ITA singles rankings are a reflection of that balance, as USC has a freshman (Brandon Holt), sophomore (Logan Smith), junior (Thibault Forget) and senior (Nick Crystal) nationally ranked to open 2017.
FIRST RANKINGS REPORT
For the 10th straight season, the USC men's tennis team kicked off the new year ranked in the nation's top-10 of the Oracle/ITA rankings. The Trojans opened 2017 ranked No. 10 in the nation. The first individual rankings of 2017 (released Jan. 4) saw four Trojans ranked in singles and two ranked doubles teams. In that latest round of rankings, freshman Brandon Holt topped the list for the Trojans as he opens his USC career ranked No. 20 in the nation in singles. Sophomore Logan Smith held his highest career rank, slotted at No. 28 in singles. Senior Nick Crystal weighed in at No. 88, and junior Thibault Forget ranked No. 114 to kick off the new year. In doubles, USC had Forget and Logan Smith listed as the No. 35 doubles pair in the nation, with senior Rob Bellamy also paired with Smith at No. 49 to open the 2017 campaign.