2006 Tennis Kicks Off With Three Home Matches For No. 20 USC Men

Jan. 17, 2006

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THIS WEEK: The Trojans begin the 2006 men's tennis season with three dual matches this week at Marks Stadium, beginning with a face-off against top-ranked Virginia at 1 p.m. on Wednesday (Jan. 18). USC then has two dual matches on Saturday (Jan. 21), starting up against UC Irvine at 10 a.m. and then going up against Santa Clara at 2:30 p.m.

2006 TROJANS: The 2006 USC squad, led by fourth-year coach Peter Smith, is highlighted by nine returning players from last year's team that reached the NCAA Second Round and finished the 2005 season with a No. 21 national ranking. This year, the Trojans boast three newcomers to the roster as USC works toward improving on last year's 12-13 overall record and 3-4 fifth-place finish in Pac-10 play.

ITA RANKING UPDATES: USC enters 2006 ranked No. 20 in the first ITA poll of the year (Jan. 10). Jamil Al-Agba did not play during the fall, but was ranked No. 7 entering the fall season.

RECENT RESULTS: USC had several players compete at the Sherwood Classic last week.

USC VS. VIRGINIA: USC and Virginia have met just once before, when the Trojans posted a4-0 win over the Caveliers in the first round of the 2001 NCAA Tournament. Virginia recently was upset by Pepperdine in a 4-3 loss to the No. 9 Waves.

USC VS. UC IRVINE: USC is 36-3 all-time against UC Irvine. The last meeting was in 2002, when the Trojans won 6-1. The Anteaters won their season opener against Saint Mary's 4-3.

USC VS. SANTA CLARA: This will be the first meeting between USC and Santa Clara. The Broncos opened 2006 with a 4-3 win over UC Santa Cruz and a 5-0 sweep of UC Davis.

Head Coach Peter Smith -- Peter Smith, the 2004 Pac-10 Coach of the Year whose teams have now made 12-straight NCAA appearances, enters his fourth 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 three years at USC. He boasts a 319-164 (.660) overall record, is 49-29 (.628) with the Trojans and has led his teams to 12 NCAA appearances, including last year's second-round run, and 10 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.

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