USC Men's Tennis Sweeps NCAA First, Second Rounds

May 16, 2007

By Jeffrey Davenport Daily Trojan

May 16, 2007

Los Angeles, CA (CSTV U-WIRE) -- The No. 12 USC men's tennis team completed an undefeated 17-0 season at home, sweeping defending NCAA Champion Pepperdine in the second round Saturday and UC Santa Barbara in the first round Friday of the NCAA Men's Tennis Championships at Marks Stadium on Saturday, both by 4-0 margins.

The Trojans (22-2) took an early advantage over the Waves (23-8) by winning the doubles point. The USC pair of Dejan Cvetkovic and Gary Sacks defeated Pepperdine's Andre Begemann and Mahmoud Kamel 8-4, while Jamil Al-Agba and Garrett Snyder sealed the point for the Trojans, topping the Waves' Bassam Beidas and James Lemke, 8-5.

When singles play began, USC took a 3-0 lead over the Waves after freshman Robert Farah defeated Richard Johnson, 6-2, 6-2, and freshman Jason McNaughton ousted Mahmoud Kamel, 7-5, 6-2, at No. 4 and No. 6 singles, respectively.

Al-Agba then clinched the match in No. 1 singles for USC, edging Pepperdine's Begemann, 6-4, 6-4.

'It was a really close 4-0 decision,' USC coach Peter Smith said. 'We won a couple of matches quickly and I think that put the pressure on Pepperdine. When you get three points up on the board, everyone is looking at the score and the momentum really tends to shift.'

The team credits the student fan group, the '7th Man,' for support.

'Going up against the defending champions is always tough,' said Whit Livingston, who did not compete. 'The fans play a huge part in firing us up.'

After the doubles teams of Farah/Kaes Van't Hoff and Cvetkovic/Sachs polished off their Gaucho opponents, 8-0, USC's freshmen came up clutch against UCSB, as McNaughton, Farah, and Sachs won their matches to earn the Trojans' margin of victory.

The Trojans will face No. 5 Notre Dame tomorrow in the Round of 16 in Athens. Ga. It's a rare tilt between the two rivals in tennis, but USC holds a 9-1 record since the teams' first meeting in 1971.

For the second time in his Pacific-10 Conference career, Smith has been awarded Pac-10 Men's Tennis Coach of the Year for engineering the Trojans' biggest turnaround in program history. He first won the honor in 2004.

Smith brought USC back to sterling 22-2 record from last year's 8-14 finish. The Trojans began the season 11-0 until a loss to No. 1 Georgia, USC's best start since 1987.

Al-Agba was named to the Pac-10 First Team, while Cvetkovic and Van't Hof made the Second Team, with Farah an Honorable Mention.

(C) 2007 Daily Trojan via CSTV U-WIRE

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