MEN'S TENNIS WINS NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP!
May 21, 2002
COLLEGE STATION, Texas (AP) - Southern California coach Dick Leach spent 12 seasons in search of his first national championship. Freshman Prakash Amritraj needed just one.
Amritraj led the Trojans on Tuesday to their fourth national title under Leach to close out Leach's 23-year career. USC (25-5) won its 16th men's title.
Amritraj defeated Bo Hodge, 7-6 (3), 7-5, to seal Southern Cal's 4-1 upset over top-seeded Georgia in the NCAA men's tennis championship at Texas A&M.
Amritraj clinched all three upsets for USC in the tournament as the Trojans first defeated Illinois and Tennessee. He was named the tournament most valuable player.
'This is my Cinderella team,' Leach said. 'I'm just glad we won before midnight. We might have had some pumpkins.'
USC, which rallied to win four singles matches in both the quarterfinals and semifinals, won the doubles point against the Bulldogs to start the championship match.
'The team winning doubles got us off to a great start. It was our best doubles and probably our best singles all year,' Leach said.
Amritraj and Daniel Langre turned in the first doubles victory this season over Georgia's Nicolas Boeker and Lesley Joseph, 8-3. Amritraj and Langre broke serve at love to take a 7-3 lead and served for the match.
The victory gave USC's No. 2 team of Teige Sullivan and Ruben Torres, already with a 7-3 lead of their own, two serves to clinch the point. Sullivan and Torres took their first opportunity on serve to beat the Bulldogs' team of Adam Seri and Brandon Wagner 8-4.
'We were sluggish in doubles which I thought we would break out of, but that never happened,' Georgia coach Maual Diaz said.
Southern Cal carried the momentum on the singles courts, winning four of six first sets.
Matias Boeker won Georgia's only point at No. 1 singles over Andrew Park 6-1, 7-5 to cut USC's lead to 2-1. Torres gave Amritraj the chance to clinch with a 6-2, 6-3 victory over the Bulldogs' Nicolas Boeker.