USC Men Snag No. 4 Seed Into 2017 NCAA Action|
May 2, 2017
The USC men’s tennis team is all lined up for another journey to the NCAA Tournament, having snagged the No. 4 seed into the 2017 NCAA Championships. It’s the 11th consecutive appearance in the tourney and 39th all-time for the Trojans, who have won five titles in the last eight years and who hold the national record with 21 team championships in program history. USC will serve as a host for the NCAA First and Second Rounds at Mark Stadium May 12 and 13. From there, Georgia will take over as host of the Round of 16 and beyond, as well as the NCAA Individual Championships. All the action in Athens, Ga., runs May 18-29.
The Trojans, with head coach Peter Smith at the helm for the 15th season, secured an automatic spot in the 2017 NCAA Championships after collecting the Pac-12 Tournament Championship last weekend in an epic 4-3 win over crosstown rival UCLA. USC carries a 25-5 overall record into this latest NCAA tourney. The No. 4 seed is a nice upgrade from last year’s No. 10 seed, which saw the Trojans reach the NCAA Round of 16. The last time USC entered the tourney as the No. 4 seed was in 2013, when the Trojans reached the NCAA Quarterfinals.
Peter Smith’s 2017 Trojans have secured the program’s 10th 20-win season in the past 11 years and are fresh off their third Pac-12 Tournament crown. USC’s talented regular lineup includes two freshmen, three sophomores, one junior and two seniors. Those seniors — Rob Bellamy and Nick Crystal — won an NCAA Championship as freshmen in 2014, and are more than eager to finish off their USC careers with another title to share with their fellow Trojans.
Freshman Brandon Holt leads the pack this year, playing at the No. 1 singles spot and the No. 1 doubles slot with fellow freshman Riley Smith. Holt weighs in at #23 in the nation in singles and ranked #11 in the land in doubles with Smith. Next in line on the singles rankings chart for the Trojans is sophomore Logan Smith, listed at #82 in the latest round of rankings. In doubles, along with USC's #11 freshman duo, is the senior-sophomore pairing of Nick Crystal and Laurens Verboven at #80. In all, USC has five Trojans holding at least 20 singles wins to date. Holt is ahead of the curve with 33 wins, with junior Thibault Forget next with 27. He carries a five-match win streak into the postseason. Next, freshman Riley Smith and sophomore Jack Jaede have each collected 23 wins to date, followed by junior Logan Smith’s 22 wins and 20 for senior Rob Bellamy. In doubles, Holt and Riley Smith have punched up 24 wins, including 17 at the No. 1 spot. Crystal and Verboven have logged 21 wins, with 14 coming at the No. 2 slot. Rob Bellamy and Jack Jaede, meanwhile, boast 17 total doubles wins with 15 coming from position No. 3. The duo also boast a powerful win streak, having won 12 in a row as the Trojans now turn to NCAA action.
Next week it begins. USC (25-5) will host three teams at Marks Stadium for NCAA First and Second Round action. On May 12, Wisconsin (17-7) and San Diego (17-10) will square off first at 10 a.m. PT in the opening first-round match. Then at 1 p.m. PT that day, No. 4 seeded USC will face Denver (13-12) to fight for the other spot in the next day’s second round. At 1 p.m. PT on May 13, Friday’s winners will play the NCAA Second Round match to determine who gets the ticket to Athens, Ga., to continue NCAA action in the Round of 16 and beyond at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex
NCAA Men’s First & Second Rounds (Marks Stadium | Los Angeles, Calif.)
Friday (May 12) - First Round
Saturday (May 13) - Second Round