11th-Ranked USC Men's Tennis Hosts Crosstown Rival And Fourth-Ranked UCLA

Feb. 28, 2005

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THIS WEEK -- Following a split with the Bay Area schools at home last weekend, the 11th-ranked USC men's tennis team (5-5) hosts crosstown rival and fourth-ranked UCLA on Tuesday, March 1, at 1:30p.m. at Marks Stadium. The match, originally scheduled for Feb. 11 but postponed because of rain, is non-conference but will count towards the Lexus Gauntlet.

The 2005 squad, led by third-year head coach Peter Smith, features seven returners and five newcomers. The Trojans are coming off a successful 2004 campaign in which they advanced to the NCAA Semifinals, compiled a 23-4 overall record, earned a share of the Pac-10 title (the program's 14th) with a 6-1 conference mark and completed the year ranked fourth in the ITA.

RECENT RESULTS -- The Trojans are coming off a split against California and Stanford at home. Troy faced California on Friday, Feb. 25, where it defeated the Golden Bears, 5-2. USC ended the week with a loss to No. 18 Stanford, 5-2, just a week after having upset the then seventh-ranked Cardinal, 4-3, in Chicago, Ill. during the USTA/ITA Team Indoor Championships.

ITA RANKING UPDATES -- The Trojans moved up one spot to No.11 in the most recent ITA poll released on Feb. 22. In singles, sophomore Jamil Al-Agba improved his ranking to No. 50 and senior Drew Hoskins jumped up 65 spots to No. 51.

USC vs. UCLA -- USC and UCLA have met 167 times in series history. The series stands at 89-78 in UCLA's favor, including a series split in 2004. Last season, USC lost at UCLA, 4-3, but beat the Bruins at home, 4-3, both being regular season matches.

HEAD COACH Peter Smith -- Peter Smith, the 2004 Pac-10 Coach of the Year whose teams have now made 11 straight NCAA appearances, enters his third season as head coach of the Trojan men's tennis program. Smith's collegiate coaching career includes five years (1998-2002) at Pepperdine, six years at Fresno State (1992-1997), four years at Long Beach State (1988-1991) and two years at USC. He boasts a 307-151 (.670) overall record and has led his teams to 11 NCAA appearances, including last year's semifinal run, and nine top 25 finishes. He has been honored as conference coach of the year a total of seven times and was the 2002 ITA Region VIII Coach of the Year.

LEXUS GAUNTLET--- The winner of this week's USC-UCLA match scores 2.5 points towards the Lexus Gauntlet, a trophy awarded annually to the school with the most successful athletic year agauinst the other. Points are awarded to the winner of each head-to-head Trojan-Bruin contest. Currently, UCLA holds a 42.5 to 25 lead in this season's competition.

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