Men's Tennis To Play For National Championship!
May 20, 2002
COLLEGE STATION, Texas - The No. 11-ranked USC men's tennis team (24-5) recorded its third-straight upset by beating No. 2 Tennessee, 4-3, in the NCAA Division I Semifinals on Monday afternoon at the Texas A&M Grandstand. Head coach Dick Leach, scheduled to retire at season's end, will be gunning for his fourth national title, and the Trojans' 16th all-time, in the championship match on Tuesday, May 21.
USC will face top-ranked Georgia, a 4-2 winner over UCLA in Monday's semifinal. The title match is scheduled to be played at 7 p.m. CST (5 p.m. PST) tomorrow and can be followed live on the internet at www.usctrojans.com. The championship match will also be aired by ESPN on Tuesday, May 28, at 11 a.m. PST.
The Trojans had to fight for every win after losing the doubles point for the second-consecutive match. Despite defeating the Volunteers on the No. 3 doubles court, 8-6, USC could not capture the clinching match for the crucial point. Tennessee's Adam Carey and Peter Handoyo won on court two, 8-3, and were followed by Simon Rea and Mario Toledo who earned an 8-6 win at No. 1.
In familiar territory, the Trojans were down 1-0 at the start of singles. Sophomore Ruben Torres was the first off the court for USC, earning his third-straight win to even the playing field between the Trojans and Vols, 1-1. Torres came back after being down 4-0 in the second set to rally and defeat Tennessee's Wade Orr, 6-4, 6-4.
Down 3-1, the Trojans had to win each of the last three matches to earn the victory. USC's Nick Rainey brought the team within one as he captured a 7-5, 6-4 win over Mark Dietrich at the No. 4 spot. The last two men standing were freshman Prakash Amritraj and junior Daniel Langre and each of them had just been sent to a third set after dropping the second. At match point in the third set (5-4), Tennessee's Simon Rea climbed back and eventually forced Langre to a tiebreaker. Langre jumped to a 4-0 lead in the tiebreaker and held Rea to win the match, 6-3, 4-6, 7-6 (7).
Amritraj was left to clinch the Trojan victory as he did in the quarterfinals against Illinois. As Langre walked off the court, Amritraj was ahead 5-3 in his final set and rallied to clinch the win, 7-6 (5), 3-6, 6-3.
#11 USC 4, #2 Tennessee 3
(1) #22 Rea/Toledo (Tenn) def. #9 Rainey/Moore (USC) - 8-6
(2) Carey/Handoyo (Tenn) def. Teige Sullivan/Torres (USC) - 8-3
(3) Langre/Amritraj (USC) def. Dietrich/Crews (Tenn) - 8-6
Tennessee wins doubles point.
(1) #7 Peter Handoyo (Tenn) def. #30 Andrew Park (USC) - 6-3, 6-1
(2) #18 Mario Toledo (Tenn) def. #87 Ryan Moore (USC) - 7-5, 6-3
(3) #85 Prakash Amritraj (USC) def. #77 Adam Carey (Tenn) - 7-6(5), 3-6, 6-3
(4) #46 Nick Rainey (USC) def. #82 Mark Dietrich (Tenn) - 7-5, 6-4
(5) Daniel Langre (USC) def. Simon Rea (Tenn) - 6-3, 4-6, 7-6 (7)
(6) Ruben Torres (USC) def. Wade Orr (Tenn) - 6-4, 6-4