May 12, 2015
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THE LAST MEETING
May 20, 2012
USC Men Drop Duke 4-1 In NCAA Quarterfinal
The top-seeded USC men's tennis team continued to defend the turf where it picked up its 2010 NCAA Championship, as the Trojans dug in for a swift 4-1 win over No. 8 seed Duke in today's NCAA Quarterfinal match at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex in Athens, Ga. After picking up the doubles point, the Trojans rattled off straight-set wins from Daniel Nguyen, Emilio Gomez and Steve Johnson, with Johnson's clincher standing as the senior's 64th consecutive win. In beating Duke's #5 Henrique Cunha on court one, Johnson also avenged the last dual-match singles loss he had taken - way back in March 2010. Now 31-1 overall, the Trojans head into the NCAA Semifinals against UCLA at 5 p.m. on Monday (May 21) for the right to play for a possible fourth consecutive national championship.
The defending national champs are off to Waco, Texas, to make their ninth consecutive appearance in the NCAA Round of 16. The No. 7 seeded Trojans (24-4) will square off against No. 10 seed Duke (24-6) at 7 p.m. CT on Thursday (May 14) at Baylor's Hurd Tennis Center. A win there would put USC into the NCAA Quartefinals for the ninth straight season, as the Trojans are making a push to claim a sixth national championship in a seven-year span. The 2015 NCAA Quarterfinals will be held at 4 p.m. CT on Friday (May 16), followed by the Semifinals at 1 p.m. CT on Monday (May 18) and the 2015 NCAA Championship set for 1 p.m. CT on Tuesday (May 19). From there, the Trojans will look to divide and conquer at the NCAA Individual Championships, held May 20-25 in Waco, Texas.NCAA TOURNAMENT CENTRAL
USC is making its ninth consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament, and 37th overall appearance. Now toting a 24-4 overall record, the No. 7 seeded Trojans are looking to defend their 2014 national championship. With five NCAA crowns claimed in the past six years, USC continues to lead the nation with 21 national championships all-time, and holds an 97-30 overall record in the NCAA Tournament after posting two 4-0 shutouts in last week's NCAA First and Second Rounds. USC's No. 7 seed is the lowest the Trojans have held since 2009, when the Trojans were No. 8 and wound up starting their streak of four consecutive NCAA Championships. Since 2009's No. 8 seed, USC has been seeded No. 5 in 2010, No. 2 in 2011, No. 1 in 2012 and 2014, and No. 4 in 2013.
TROJANS TO DATE
The USC men secured the automatic berth in the NCAA Tournament by winning the 2015 Pac-12 Tournament Championship, beating UCLA 4-2 in the semifinals and then topping Stanford 4-3 in the title match. The Trojans and the Cardinal had finished even at the top of the Pac-12 standings at the close of the regular season, tied at 6-1 apiece. The tournament title match gave USC the chance to avenge an earlier loss to Stanford, and the Trojans prevailed with the comeback push to win the conference tournament crown for the second time since the event began in 2012. After a 4-0 win over Idaho and a 4-0 victory over San Diego State in the first two rounds of 2015 NCAA competition, the USC men now carry their 24-4 overall record into their ninth straight NCAA Round of 16 appearance. Seeded No. 7 this year, the defending national champs return all but two members of last year's NCAA championship squad. Seniors Yannick Hanfmann, Eric Johnson, Roberto Quiroz and Jonny Wang already boast two NCAA championship rings, and their experience and talent will be relied upon as the Trojans look to make another winning run. Junior Max de Vroome was the clincher in last year's title match, and sophomores Rob Bellamy, Nick Crystal and Connor Farren bring another dose of depth to the ladder in their second season as Trojans. Thibault Forget, Henry Ji, David Laser and Tanner Smith are all in their first season of competition for the Trojans, as they join their NCAA-savvy teammates for this postseason push. In all, USC's ladder is almost entirely comprised of ranked players. In singles, USC has #15 Hanfmann, #26 Quiroz, #45 Wang, #61 Crystal, #85 Johnson and #94 de Vroome. In doubles, USC boasts two ranked pairs in #3 Hanfmann/Quiroz and #74 de Vroome/Johnson.In all, USC boasts two ITA All-Americans on its 2015roster in Hanfmann and Quiroz. At 22-4 overall, USC has secured its ninth straight 20-win season.
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 No. 8 in the nation (as of May 1). Individually, USC remains stacked in the rankings department. Seniors Yannick Hanfmann and Roberto Quiroz opened the year tabbed at #1 in doubles, and the pair is currently #3 in the latest set of individual rankings, also released May 1. Yannick Hanfmann remains USC's highest ranked singles player, weighing in at #15 in the nation as he continues his senior season. Fellow senior Roberto Quiroz is next in line, ranked at #25 in the nation in singles. Rounding out a full lineup of Trojans in the singles rankings are #45 Jonny Wang, #61 Nick Crystal, #85 Eric Johnson and #94 Max de Vroome. De Vroome and Johnson also now appear in the doubles rankings at #74.
BY THE NUMBERS
USC has moved five players into the 20-win column in singles play so far, led by Jonny Wang and Nick Crystal's team-best 29 singles wins apiece, and followed closely by 27 for Max de Vroome. Wang has gathered up 16 consecutive singles wins to charge into the 20-win club. Also joining that Trojan trio in the group are Eric Johnson with 24 wins and Roberto Quiroz with 23. In doubles, USC's #3 pair of All-Americans Yannick Hanfmann and Roberto Quiroz recently clocked in to join that pack, now holding a 21-6 overall record so far.
USC is also set to divide and conquer in individual action in Waco, Texas. The Trojans have landed three singles players and one doubles team into the main draws for the NCAA Singles and Doubles Championships, to be held May 20-25, along with one player listed as an alternate for singles action. Senior Yannick Hanfmann is due to make his fourth appearance in the NCAA individual competition, this year slotted as a 9-16 seed in the singles draw. He's scored a singles spot every year, with his best run coming as a sophomore in 2013 with a trip to the Round of 16. Currently ranked #11 in the nation in singles, Hanfmann holds a 16-10 overall singles record so far this season. He was selected to the ITA National Team Indoor All-Tournament Team at the No. 1 singles spot earlier this season, and has been ranked as high as #2 in the land in singles as a senior. He also reached the singles final at the ITA All-American early in the season. Senior Roberto Quiroz will make his third NCAA appearance. His NCAA doubles debut came as a freshman in 2012, when he and Steve Johnson reached the quarterfinals. Quiroz would compete in NCAA singles the following year, reaching the 2013 Round of 32. In his senior season, Quiroz has accumulated a 23-8 overall singles record while currently holding a national rank of #22. He also won the Sherwood Cup Singles Championship earlier in the year. A third USC senior, Jonny Wang, burst onto the NCAA scene last season with a spot in the singles draw, and he's back into the NCAA action this season. Ranked #38 in the nation in singles, Wang has won 14 consecutive matches to hold a 27-7 overall record to date. He's been ranked as high as #8 in the land during his senior campaign as he now looks to improve on last year's NCAA debut, where he reached the 2014 Round of 32. Wang reached the singles final at the ITA Southwest Regionals earlier this season. Breaking into the NCAA scene for the first time in his career, sophomore Nick Crystal has been listed as an alternate in the NCAA Singles draw. Currently ranked #67 in the nation, Crystal boasts the most singles wins on the team with this 28-5 overall record to date. He won the Battle in the Bay singles title earlier in the season and was named to the ITA National Indoor All-Tournament Team at the No. 6 singles slot. He also reached the singles final at the USTA Clay Court Championships this season. In the doubles realm, senior duo Yannick Hanfmann / Roberto Quiroz have reigned supreme and have picked up the No. 2 seed into the doubles draw. Currently ranked #3 in the nation, the pair is 21-6 overall to date and opened the spring ranked #1 in the land. Hanfmann/Quiroz reached the final of the ITA All-American and would go on to win the ITA National Indoor Doubles Championship a month later. Both Trojans already have experience in the NCAA doubles scene, as Quiroz played with Johnson back in 2012 as a freshman, and Hanfmann paired with Ray Sarmiento at last year's NCAA competition.
ITA INDOORS RECAP
Out in Chicago at the ITA National Team Indoor Championships in February, 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.
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 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 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. 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. After another winning run at the BNP Paribas Collegiate Challenge, Johnson grabbed another pick as the Pac-12 Player of the Week on March 23. Now ranked #85, Johnson recently held a 12-match singles win streak and is now 24-8 overall with a 20-2 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. Currently ranked #25 nationally in singles, Quiroz is now 23-6 overall in singles play and is 15-4 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 ranked #61 in the nation in singles and holding a 29-5 overall record in singles play. After starting the dual-match campaign on a 10-match singles win streak, Crystal is currently 18-2 in dual matches.
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.