Men's Tennis Hosts Cal Poly On Saturday
Feb. 6, 2003
This Week -- Having played five matches in seven days, the defending national champion USC men's tennis team (3-2) took some time off this week and will host only one match this Saturday, Feb. 8, when it faces Cal Poly (San Luis Obispo) at 10 a.m. at Marks Tennis Stadium. After defeating UC Santa Barbara, 6-1, on Jan. 27, the Trojans suffered their first two losses of the season against No. 18 Pepperdine (Jan. 29) and No. 1 UCLA (Jan. 31) by scores of 5-2 and 6-1, respectively.
USC claimed the program's 16th national title in 2002. The Trojans did lose three seniors (Andrew Park, Ryan Moore and Nick Rainey), who made up the top of last year's lineup, but return NCAA Tournament MVP Prakash Amritraj and all-tournament selections Daniel Langre and Ruben Torres. This season, the three will also be aided by top transfers Johan Berg and Brian Wright.
ITA Ranking Updates -- Team rankings were updated on Jan. 29, but USC remained at No. 7. Sophomore John Berg ranked 75th in singles in the preseason poll.
USC vs. Cal Poly -- Saturday's match will be the first-ever meeting between USC and Cal Poly (San Luis Obispo).
Amritraj Untouched -- Sophomore Prakash Amritraj has proven that he belongs at the top of the lineup in only his second season. Last year's NCAA Tournament MVP made the jump from No. 3 to No. 1 this year and remains undefeated in dual matches. He has not gone unchallenged. Amritraj's record includes upset victories over Pepperdine's No. 81 Diego Acuna and UCLA's No. 12 Tobias Clemens.
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 Peter Smith Enters First Season -- Peter Smith, who guided the Pepperdine men's tennis team to conference titles and NCAA tournament appearances in each of his five years there, is in his first year at the helm of the USC men's tennis program. Smith replaced Dick Leach, who retired in May after guiding the Trojans to four NCAA championships in his 23 years at USC. Smith's collegiate coaching career includes five years (1998-2002) at Pepperdine, six years at Fresno State (1992-1997) and four years at Long Beach State (1988-1991). He boasts a 273-137 (.666) overall record and has led his teams to nine NCAA appearances and seven top 20 finishes. Last season he earned his sixth conference Coach of the Year honor (WCC) and was named the ITA Region VIII Coach of the Year.