USC Men Close Down Regular Season At Home Against No. 8 UCLA
April 19, 2006
THIS WEEK: USC's Pac-10 dual match season ends this week against the defending Pac-10 champion UCLA. The Trojans take on their crosstown rivals at 3 p.m. on Friday (April 21) at Mark Stadium for a chance to upset the No. 3 Bruins and grab some momentum for the upcoming Pac-10 Tournament.
ITA RANKING UPDATES: USC (8-13, 1-5) is ranked #52 in the latest ITA team rankings (released April 18), and the Trojans have two ranked doubles teams in #33 Jamil Al-Agba / Dejan Cvetkovic and #60 Jeff Kazarian / Kaes Van't Hof. UCLA (16-5, 5-1) is ranked #8 and has the top-ranked player in the nation, Benjamin Kohlloeffel.
RECENT RESULTS: The Trojans' stretch of 4-3 decisions extended through another Pac-10 weekend, but this time USC worked its way onto the winning end of one of those tight matches. Against #20 Washington, USC won the doubles point for the fourth straight match, but for the fifth straith time the Trojans were edged out in singles action for a 4-3 loss. Against Oregon, however, USC broke the cycle, falling in doubles -- despite Adam Loucks / Garrett Snyder's ninth straight doubles win at the No. 3 position -- but grabbing singles wins at the Nos. 3-6 positions. Kaes Van't Hof, Adam Loucks, Chong Wang and Garrett Snyder all got wins for USC in the Trojans' first Pac-10 victory of the season.
USC VS. UCLA: USC is 79-90 all-time against the Bruins after falling 5-2 in nonconference competition earlier this season. In addition to top-ranked Benjamin Kohlloeffel, UCLA has three other ranked players: #71 Chris Surapol, #95 Haythem Abid and #96 Mathieu Dehaine.
GRAB THE GAUNTLET: With the Lexus Gauntlet in the final stretch of the 18-sport crosstown competition, the USC-UCLA rivalry race remains intense with in the scramble toward the perpetual trophy presented by the Southern California Lexus Dealers Association. This USC-UCLA men's match puts another 2.5 points up for grabs, giving the Trojans a shot at moving even closer to guaranteeing the Gauntlet's return to Troy. USC currently leads the competition 55-20, but with several sports still yet to engage in and/or finish their Lexus Gauntlet competition -- and the potential for postseason face-offs -- the final tally remains up in the air. In the first four years of the Gauntlet competition, the archrivals have alternated winning the trophy. USC won the inaugural trophy in 2002 and again in 2004. UCLA captured the rivalry's crown jewel in 2003 and 2005.
DEJAN GETS IT DONE: Sophomore Dejan Cvetkovic earned his first career Pac-10 Player of the Week award after posting a three-set upset of Baylor's #48-ranked Matija Zgaga for USC's lone win of the match against the seventh-ranked Bears.
CHONG'S WINNING WAYS: In his first season at Troy, freshman Chong Wang has played in every dual match for the Trojans and is USC's winningest player in dual match singles action so far this season. Wang has racked up a 14-7 record playing at the Nos. 4, 5 and 6 slots during dual match action and was one of only two Trojans who won both their matches last week vs. Cal and Stanford.
LOUCKS' LOCKDOWN: Sophomore Adam Loucks has been hot in USC's Pac-10 dual matches, having opened with three straight singles wins and four straight doubles wins with teammate Garrett Snyder. He and Snyder are now a perfect 9-0 when playing at the No. 3 doubles slot this year.
A TOUGH KAES: Sophomore Kaes Van't Hof is right back to the solid play he began his USC career with last season, boasting the strongest singles record on the team at 19-14 overall. In Arizona, Van't Hof kicked off Pac-10 play with a 2-0 run through his Arizona opponents.
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.