Trojans Fall In Narrow 4-3 Loss To Minnesota

March 21, 2002

LOS ANGELES, Calif. - In a match that was decided in the final point of a third-set tiebreaker, the No. 17 USC men's tennis team suffered a narrow loss to No. 27 Minnesota, 4-3, on Thursday afternoon at Marks Tennis Stadium. With the loss, the Trojans fall to 12-4 overall, while the Golden Gophers improve to 7-4.

USC, ranked No. 5 at the start of the week, fell to No. 17 when the season's first release of computer rankings were released on Wednesday (the previous rankings were voted on by ITA members).

The highlight of the afternoon came at center court as USC freshman Prakash Amritraj, playing only his second match ever at the No. 1 position, upset top-ranked Harsh Mankad, 6-1, 7-6. USC swept all three doubles matches to earn the first point and Amritraj's victory gave the Trojans a 3-2 lead after the Gophers won matches at court five and six and USC's Andrew Park swept at No. 2.

A victory by Minnesota's Chris Wettengel over Ryan Moore tied the score at 3-3 and left the match to be decided at the No. 4 position.

Gopher Avery Ticer pulled out a win in a tiebreaker over USC's Nick Rainey in the first set, but Rainey returned with a convincing 6-2 win in the second set. Each of them alternated points in the third set as Rainey matched Ticer at 6-6 to send it into a tiebreaker where Ticer eventually earned the win by an 8-6 score.

USC returns to action on Friday, March 29, against conference foe No. 33 Arizona State at 1:30 p.m. at Marks Tennis Stadium.

#27 Minnesota 4, #17 USC 3

(1) #13 Moore/Rainey (USC) def. Mankad/Wettengel (Minn) - 8-6
(2) Amritraj/Langre (USC) def. Stephens/Lievano (Minn) - 8-1
(3) Spizzo/Sullivan (USC) def. Ticer/Zharinov (Minn) - 8-5
USC wins doubles point.

(1) #117 Prakash Amritraj (USC) def. #1 Harsh Mankad (Minn) - 6-1, 7-6
(2) #62 Andrew Park (USC) def. #83 Aleksey Zharinov (Minn) - 6-3, 6-0
(3) Chris Wettengel (Minn) def. #76 Ryan Moore (USC) - 7-6, 6-4
(4) Avery Ticer (Minn) def. #27 Nick Rainey (USC) - 7-6, 2-6, 7-6 (8-6)
(5) Boris Kuharic (Minn) def. Daniel Langre (USC) - 4-6, 6-2, 6-3
(6) Manuel Lievano (Minn) def. Ruben Torres (USC) - 6-2, 6-1

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