Trojans Host Arizona State, Arizona This Week
March 25, 2002
This Week -- The No. 17-ranked USC men's tennis team (12-4, 0-1 Pac-10) hosts two conference-counting matches this week when it faces No. 33 Arizona State on Friday, March 29, at 1:30 p.m. and No. 58 Arizona on Saturday, March 30, at Noon. Both matches will be played at Marks Tennis Stadium. The Trojans are coming off a 4-2 victory over No. 55 Clemson and a 4-3 loss to No. 27 Minnesota.
Amritraj Records Stunning Upset -- Despite USC's 4-3 loss to Minnesota on March 21, the Trojans did enjoy a stunning upset. At center court, freshman Prakash Amritraj, playing only his second match ever at the No. 1 position, upset top-ranked Harsh Mankad, 6-1, 7-6. Mankad has been ranked No. 1 in the ITA polls since March 6 and was ranked No. 2 at the start of the season.
ITA Ranking Updates -- This season's first release of computer rankings was issued on March 20 (the previous rankings were voted on by ITA members) and the Trojans dropped to No. 17 in the team rankings. USC's Nick Rainey made another jump in the singles rankings, moving from No. 36 to No. 27. Andrew Park dropped to No. 62, Ryan Moore moved up to No. 76 and Prakash Amritraj fell to No. 117. Moore and Rainey rank 13th in doubles.
USC vs. Arizona State, Arizona -- USC owns a 44-6 advantage in the all-time series against Arizona State and defeated the Sun Devils 5-2 in the first meeting of the season in Tempe. Against Arizona, the Trojans are 79-1 all-time, including a 4-3 win in Tucson in February. The Wildcats only victory was a 5-4 win in Tucson in 1981.
Last Time Against Arizona State, Arizona -- On Feb. 22, USC defeated then-No. 43 Arizona, 4-3, in Tucson, Ariz. The Trojans edged the Wildcats by starting the match with a 1-0 lead after sweeping all three doubles matches. In singles, the Trojans endured losses at No. 1, 2 and 5, but clinched the victory when Ruben Torres defeated Arizona's Arnaud Agniel in three sets at court six (5-7, 6-2, 6-1).
USC defeated then-No. 42 Arizona State, 5-2, on Feb. 23 in Tempe, Ariz. The Sun Devils opened the dual by winning all three of the doubles matches for the first point. But USC quickly recovered to win the match in singles action. The Trojans posted wins at courts 1, 2, 4, 5 and 6 to earn the 5-2 victory, allowing ASU only one singles victory at No. 3.
Last Week's Results -- USC defeated No. 55 Clemson, 4-2, by winning four-of-six singles matches on Tuesday, March 19. USC and Clemson elected not to play doubles due to the fact that the Tigers played an earlier match that day. Starting in singles, Ruben Torres was the first off the court for the Trojans with a 6-0, 6-0 win over Tyler Manring at No. 5. Seniors Nick Rainey and Andrew Park followed with wins at No. 2 and 3. Just a win away from securing the match victory, Damien Spizzo, who led 7-6, 4-1 at No. 6, was defaulted and the Tigers collected their first point. But Prakash Amritraj put the match away for the Trojans with a 7-5, 6-3 win against Marko Gojanovic.
Two days later, in a match that was decided in the final point of a third-set tiebreaker, USC suffered a narrow loss to No. 27 Minnesota, 4-3. The Trojans swept all three doubles matches to earn the first point and an upset-victory by Amritraj gave the Trojans a 3-2 lead after the Gophers won matches at court five and six and 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. At court four, Gopher Avery Ticer pulled out a win in a tiebreaker over Nick Rainey in the first set, but Rainey returned with a convincing 6-2 win in the second. 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.
News N' Notes -- Andrew Park currently has recorded the most singles victories (21) this season, but fellow senior Nick Rainey owns the team's best win percentage (13-3, .813)... In doubles, Rainey and Ryan Moore lead with a 9-4 record, but Prakash Amritraj and Daniel Langre lead with an .857 (6-1) win percentage.
Get The Latest Info -- Updated team stats can always be found by logging on to www.usctrojans.com. They are located on the men's tennis page under 'Season Statistics.'
Head Coach Dick Leach -- Dick Leach enters his 23rd season at the helm of the USC men's tennis program. In 22 years with the Trojans, he has amassed a 519-131 (.799) overall record and won three national championships (1991, 1993, 1994). His teams have garnered seven Pac-10 championships, for which Leach has been named conference coach of the year four times (1987, 1991, 1992, 1994). Last season, he guided USC to a 15-9 (.625) overall mark, fourth place finish in the Pac-10 (3-4), and his second-consecutive Round of 16 appearance at the NCAAs.