Men's Tennis Travels To UCLA For NCAA Regionals

May 7, 2003

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This Week -- The 21st-ranked USC men's tennis team (13-11 overall, 2-5 Pac-10) received its 27th all-time bid to the 2003 NCAA Championships and will be making its 27th-consecutive appearance. The Trojans will face No. 62 UC Santa Barbara (15-8) in the first round on Saturday, May 10, at 9 a.m. at the Los Angeles Tennis Center in Westwood. A first round match-up between Wichita State (20-3) and sixth-seeded UCLA (16-10) will take place at noon. The winner of each match will advance to the second round on Sunday, May 11, to be played at 1 p.m. The regional champion will advance to the NCAA Round of 16 in Athens, Ga., May 17-26.

Sophomore Prakash Amritraj will make his first-ever appearance in the NCAA Individual Singles Championship to take place following the team championships in Athens. Amritraj and partner Daniel Langre were also selected to compete in the NCAA Doubles Tournament.

2003 NCAA Championship First and Second Round

Saturday, May 10, 9 a.m.
#21 USC vs. #62 UC Santa Barbara

Saturday, May 10, Noon
#6 UCLA vs. Wichita State

Sunday, May 11, 1 p.m.
USC/UCSB vs. UCLA/Wichita State

Did You Know? USC has never missed an NCAA Tournament since the NCAA began sponsoring the postseason championship in 1977.

Did You Know? 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 returned NCAA Tournament MVP Prakash Amritraj and all-tournament selections Daniel Langre and Ruben Torres.

Did You Know? USC is one of only four teams that have won a national title in men's tennis, the others being Stanford, UCLA and Georgia.

2003 NCAA Championships -- The NCAA selected 64 teams to participate in the 2003 NCAA Tennis Championships. First and second round matches will be played at 16 host sites May 10-11, and the winner of each site will advance to the Round of 16 at the championships. The final rounds will be held in Athens, Ga., May 17-20, at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex. Individual championships will consist of 64 singles players and 32 doubles teams, and will take place following the team championships, May 21-26.

ITA Ranking Updates -- The Trojans jumped one spot to No. 21 in the latest Omni Hotels ITA Rankings released on April 27. In the individual singles rankings, Prakash Amritraj is ranked 43rd. He and Daniel Langre are No. 26 in the doubles poll, while Amritraj and Jeff Kazarian are ranked 48th and Langre and Parker Collins are ranked 52nd.

Injuries Take A Toll -- Multiple injuries this season have depleted the Trojans' lineup, including the loss of Brian Wright who has missed the entire year with knee injuries. Ruben Torres (shoulder, wrist) and Jeff Kazarian (back, stomach) have also missed their share of matches due to injury.

Last Year At The NCAA Championships -- Trojans complete upset run to win 2002 national championship... Then-head coach Dick Leach spent 12 seasons in search of his first national championship. Freshman Prakash Amritraj needed just one. Amritraj led the Trojans on May 21 to their fourth national title under Leach to close out Leach's 23-year career. USC (25-5) won its 16th men's title. In one four-day run in College Station, Texas, the underdog Trojans upset four of the country's top six teams, capped off by a 4-1 victory over top-seeded Georgia in the finals. Eleventh-seeded USC took down fourth-ranked Baylor, 4-2, third-ranked Illinois, 4-2, fifth-ranked Tennessee, 4-3, and the defending national champion Bulldogs. In doing so, the Trojans became the lowest seeded team to ever win the title. Amritraj clinched all three upsets for USC in the tournament quarterfinals, semifinals and final, including a 7-6 (3), 7-5 win over Georgia's Bo Hodge to end the run. He was named the tournament most valuable player. Ruben Torres and Daniel Langre also earned all-tournament accolades at the No. 5 and 6 singles positions, respectively. Amritraj and Langre were named to the all-tournament team at No. 3 doubles.

Senior Nick Rainey added to the team championship by advancing to the NCAA Singles Quarterfinals to earn his first career All-American honor in singles (Rainey and Ryan Moore were three-time doubles All-Americans). Rainey was eliminated by eventual champion Matias Boeker of Georgia.

Trojan History at the NCAA Championships -- USC's history at the current format (dual-match single elimination team championship) NCAA championships spans nearly four decades. Since 1977, the first year the NCAA sponsored a postseason tennis team championship, the Trojans have advanced to the tournament in each of the 27 seasons and have claimed the national championship four times (1991, 1993, 1994, 2002). The Trojans have reached the semifinals nine times and the quarterfinals five times. USC's players have also earned two singles championships (Robert Van't Hof, 1980, and Cecil Mamiit, 1996) and four doubles championships (Bruce Manson/Chris Lewis, 1977, Rick Leach/Tim Pawsat, 1986, Rick Leach/Scott Melville, 1987, Eric Amend/Byron Black, 1989) in the history of the NCAAs.

Prior to 1977, the Trojans prominence on the national scene dates back to 1946 - the year USC won its first national title (the Trojans also went undefeated in 1943 and 1944 without an official tournament title). Dating back to that year, USC has collected a total of 16 national titles, 13 singles championships and 20 doubles titles (most in the nation) in program history.

One of the Nation's Toughest Conference -- Once again, the Pacific-10 conference proved to be one of the toughest tennis conferences in the country. All eight Pac-10 universities which sponsor men's tennis were ranked among the top-100 - five of which have consistently remained in the top-25. The Pac-10 men hold down 21 spots in the Top-115 men's singles list and occupy seven spots among the Top-60 doubles teams, with a ranked duo representative of six different schools.

Amritraj And Langre Named To All-Pac-10 Teams -- Prakash Amritraj and Daniel Langre received their first career All-Pac-10 honors when the 2003 all-conference teams were announced on May 6. Amritraj was named to the second team, while Langre received honorable mention accolades.

Final Pac-10 Standings -- Stanford captured the 2003 Pac-10 Championship. Coming off of a difficult dual-match season, the Trojans finished tied for sixth place with Washington, marking their worst-ever conference finish.

At The 2003 Pac-10 Championships -- The USC men's and women's tennis teams made up for a lackluster start in the singles tournaments by capturing two doubles titles at this year's Pac-10 Individual Championships in Ojai. Daniel Langre and Parker Collins captured the Men's Pac-10 Tournament Doubles Championship, while Bernadette Bayani and Melissa Esmero won the Women's Pac-10 Invitational Doubles Championship. Unranked and unseeded heading into the conference tournament, Langre and Collins stunned each of their opponents with outstanding play, improving with every round. The pair claimed the main draw tournament title on April 27 with an 8-3 victory over Stanford's K.C. Corkery and James Pade. Collins and Langre are the first USC pair to win the Pac-10 Doubles Tournament since 1995 when Brett Hansen (current USC men's tennis assistant coach) and Fernando Samayoa captured the crown. Prior to the start of the tournament, Collins and Langre had only played six matches together this season.

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 in 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'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 283-146 (.660) 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.

Opponents --------------------------------

No. 62 UCSB: UCSB earned its second consecutive NCAA Tournament berth by winning its second straight Big West Conference title. The Gauchos defeated UC Riverside, UC Irvine and top-seeded Pacific to win the league championship. The Gauchos, behind fourth-year head coach Marty Davis, are 15-8 overall this season. The team is led by Carlos Palencia who enters the tournament with a 17-14 overall singles record. The No. 115-ranked Palencia was named the 2003 Big West Player of the Year after winning the Big West Championship's deciding match at No. 1 singles.

USC vs. UCSB Series Records: The Trojans are 22-1 all-time against UC Santa Barbara and have never faced the Gauchos in the postseason.

No. 5 UCLA: Regional host UCLA enters the NCAA Tournament seeded sixth overall with a 20-3 record this season. The Bruins finished second to Stanford in the conference race with a 6-1 Pac-10 record. UCLA won both regular season match-ups against the Trojans, winning 6-1 at USC and 7-0 in Westwood. Its top two players, Tobias Clemens and Marcin Matkowski, were recently honored as the 2003 Pac-10 Co-Players of the Year and are ranked No. 5 and No. 24, respectively.

USC vs. UCLA Series Records: The all-time series record between these crosstown rivals stands at 87-77 in UCLA's favor. The two teams have met each other only twice in NCAA history and the Bruins won both match-ups.

Wichita State: Wichita State earned an automatic berth to the NCAA Tournament by winning the Missouri Valley Conference Championship. Ranked at the end of their regular season, the Shockers dropped out of the polls last week. Led by third-year head coach Kevin Kowalik, Wichita State is 16-10 overall this season.

USC vs. Wichita State Series Records: USC has faced Wichita State twice in its history (once in the NCAAs) and won both meetings.

Player Profiles ----------------------------

Prakash Amritraj
Singles: 17-6 Overall / 16-5 Dual / 5-2 Pac-10
Doubles: 17-10 Overall / 13-10 Dual / 4-3 Pac-10
Sophomore Prakash Amritraj has played at the No. 1 singles and doubles positions this season... Selected to compete at the NCAA Singles and Doubles Championships (with partner Daniel Langre)... Named to the 2003 All-Pac-10 Second Team... Currently ranked No. 43 in singles... Boasts two doubles rankings - ranked No. 26 with Daniel Langre and No. 48 with Jeff Kazarian... Won eight consecutive singles matches in January and February... Did not compete in the fall.

Johan Berg
Singles: 24-18 Overall / 10-13 Dual / 1-6 Pac-10
Doubles: 20-11 Overall / 14-5 Dual / 3-4 Pac-10
Sophomore transfer Johan Berg has played at the No. 2 singles position and alternated at No. 2 and 3 doubles this season... Was ranked among the top 125 singles players for much of the season, but dropped out of the polls on April 27... After a successful fall season, where he reached the ITA Qualifier through the Pre-Qualifier, the Round of 16 at the Omni Regional Championships and the finals of the SCTA Championships, Berg endured an up-and-down dual match season.

Parker Collins
Singles: 14-23 Overall / 8-15 Dual / 0-7 Pac-10
Doubles: 12-11 Overall / 3-4 Dual / 16-15 Pac-10
Junior Parker Collins played at No. 5 singles for much of the season, with the exception of five matches at No. 4... Played doubles with Prakash Amritraj, Johan Berg and Daniel Langre, alternating at the No. 2 and 3 spots... Struggled in singles throughout the season, but topped off the year by winning the Pac-10 Doubles Tournament with Langre in April... Collins and Langre are currently ranked No. 52.

Jeff Kazarian
Singles: 6-9 Overall / 4-8 Dual / 1-3 Pac-10
Doubles: 14-5 Overall / 4-2 Dual / 14-6 Pac-10
Redshirt freshman Jeff Kazarian played limited singles this season while trying to rehabilitate various back, shoulder and stomach injuries... Played 12 dual matches at No. 5 and 6 singles... Found his greatest success playing doubles with Prakash Amritraj at the No. 1 position, where the duo went 9-4 overall and 4-2 against Pac-10 opponents... Amritraj and Kazarian are currently ranked No. 48.

Daniel Langre
Singles: 17-13 Overall / 14-8 Dual / 3-4 Pac-10
Doubles: 28-10 Overall / 14-9 Dual / 4-3 Pac-10
Redshirt junior Daniel Langre played at No. 2 and 3 singles and No. 2 and 3 doubles this season with various partners... Named 2003 All-Pac-10 honorable mention... Selected to compete at the NCAA Doubles Championships with partner Prakash Amritraj... Currently owns two doubles rankings - he is No. 26 with Amritraj and No. 52 with Parker Collins... With Amritraj, the pair captured the 2003 Sherwood Collegiate Cup doubles title in January... With Collins, the pair won the 2003 Pac-10 Doubles Tournament in April.

Scott Patterson
Singles: 9-14 Overall / 5-7 Dual / 1-3 Pac-10
Doubles: 0-1 Overall / 0-0 Dual / 0-0 Pac-10
As the team's No. 7 player, junior transfer Scott Patterson has stepped in at No. 6 (and one match at No. 4) for 12 dual matches this season... Clinched USC's win over San Diego on April 2 with a final win at No. 6... Has only played one doubles match.

Ruben Torres
Singles: 10-12 Overall / 9-10 Dual / 2-2 Pac-10
Doubles: 10-5 Overall / 10-5 Dual / 2-2 Pac-10
Junior Ruben Torres has had a difficult season, enduring shoulder surgery and a wrist injury... He has played mainly at No. 4 singles and Nos. 2 and 3 doubles... Found his greatest success playing doubles with Johan Berg... The pair posted a 6-2 overall record, including a 2-1 mark in Pac-10 play.

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