USC Men Host No. 7 Baylor

March 8, 2006

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THIS WEEK: After dropping a dual match to last year's NCAA champion UCLA last week, the Trojans now turn to face the 2005 runner-up in Baylor. USC hosts the Bears at 5 p.m. on Friday (March 10) at Marks Stadium.

ITA RANKING UPDATES: USC (6-5) is ranked No. 34 in the latest ITA team rankings (released March 7). There are no Trojans ranked in the latest singles rankings, but as of the last double chart, Kaes Van't Hof was holding a No. 38 doubles ranking with Jeff Kazarian. Baylor is ranked No. 7 and has Lars Poerschke ranked No. 5, along with No. 48 Matija Zgaga, No. 52 Michal Kokta and No. 93 Vladimir Portnov. Doubles duo Reckewey/Zgaga was ranked No. 6, and Kokta/Ward was No. 18.

RECENT RESULTS: The Trojans dropped a tough 5-2 match against crosstown rival UCLA on Feb. 28 at the Los Angeles Tennis Center, grabbing two singles wins in the nonconference match against the No. 8 Bruins. UCLA managed a doubles sweep to tack up the first point of the match against the Trojans, then moved ahead 2-0 with a win at the No. 4 singles slot. Freshman Chong Wang dropped his UCLA opponent 7-5, 6-1 at No. 5 singles to grab the Trojans their first point of the match and make it 2-1, but a win by #3 Benjamin Kohlloeffel over Jamil Al-Agba pulled UCLA back up 3-1. Once again, USC closed in on the match with #91 Kaes Van't Hof's 6-1, 5-7, 6-4 win over #82 Mathieu Dehaine at No. 3 singles. At the No. 2 position, Dejan Cvetkovic had pushed Haythem Abid into a first-set tiebreaker, then forced another one in the second set. Abid held stong again in the tiebreaker, however, and clinched the match with a 7-6 (4), 7-6 (5) win.

USC VS. BAYLOR: USC is 2-3 all-time against the Bears. The team squared off in 2005 at Baylor, with the Trojans falling 5-2 to the eventual NCAA finalists.

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 four 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.

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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