USC's Farah And Van't Hof Move On In NCAA Action
May 20, 2008
SINGLES SCENE: USC has two players lined up for double duty in NCAA individual competition, set to be held May 21-26 at the Michael D. Case Tennis Center in Tulsa, Okla.. Sophomore Robert Farah is the tournament's No. 6 seed for the singles action, joined by senior Kaes Van't Hof as an at-large selection. For Farah, this year's NCAA Singles Championships will be the first such appearance of his Trojan career. Farah stands out as USC's No. 1 singles player in the lineup this year, having earned himself a No. 6 national ranking and racked up an overall singles record of 33-12. He was a perfect 4-0 in dual match play during USC's 2007 NCAA Team Championship competition as a freshman, and has built on that success this season as a sophomore. Making his second career appearance in the NCAA Singles Championships is senior Van't Hof, who rides an 18-match win streak entering the 2008 postseason after claiming the Pac-10 Singles Championship last week in Ojai. Van't Hof was named an alternate into the 2007 NCAA tournament as the nation's No. 63 ranked player, but was bumped into the NCAA action to come up against eighth-seeded Stephen Bass of Notre Dame. This year, Van't Hof ranks No. 29 in the nation and boasts an overall singles mark of 30-8 after his run to the Pac-10 title.
DYNAMIC DUO: On the doubles side, USC has Pac-10 Doubles Champion pair Robert Farah / Kaes Van't Hof lined up as the No. 2 seed into the 2008 NCAA Doubles Championships. Undefeated in dual match play this year and boasting a 33-3 overall record, Farah/Van't Hof ride a 20-match win streak on the way into this year's postseason.
OPENING MATCHUPS: In singles, sixth-seeded Robert Farah will face Duke's David Goulet at 1:30 p.m. CT in the Round of 64 on Wednesday (May 21), while Kaes Van't Hof will play No. 2 seed Greg Ouellette of Florida at 1 p.m. CT to open singles play that day. On Thursday (May 22), doubles Round of 32 competition begins with Farah/Van't Hof taking on Ed Corrie/Kellen Damico of Texas.
FOLLOW ALONG: Live scoring and other information will be available online throughout the NCAA Championships at Tulsa's Tournament Central at tulsahurricane.com.
ITA RANKING UPDATES: USC ranks No. 6 in the latest ITA rankings, released April 28. The latest individual rankings also were released on April 28, with four Trojans in the rankings -- #6 Robert Farah, #29 Kaes Van't Hof, #54 Jaak Poldma and #72 Gary Sacks. In doubles, Farah/Van't Hof remain ranked #2 in the nation.
RECAPPING THE PAC: The Trojans are coming off a decidedly successful Pac-10 Championships in which USC swept the singles and doubles titles. With four Trojans moving through to the singles semifinals, USC was assured another Pac-10 singles crown. In an all-Trojan singles title match in Ojai, Kaes Van't Hof claimed the Pac-10 Singles Championship with a 6-3, 7-6 (2) win over teammate Robert Farah. Van't Hof joined his father Robert as one of USC's conference singles champs. Robert Van't Hof won titles in 1978 and 1980, and he and Kaes become the first father-son pair to have won conference singles titles. Van't Hof rounded out the day with another trip to the podium, meeting back up with Farah -- this time back as teammates -- and the USC pair won the Pac-10 Doubles Championship. Van't Hof had carried a 13-match singles win streak into the 2008 Pac-10 Championships and was seeded No. 2 behind Farah. The championship win over Farah notched the senior's 30th singles win of the year, as Van't Hof is 30-8 overall entering the upcoming NCAA action in store for the Trojans. Later in the day, the two Trojans teamed back up on the same side of the net and combined forces to win the Pac-10 Doubles Championship. Owners of a 16-match win streak coming into the Pac-10 tourney, the USC duo ran that up to 20 straight with its championship run. In the title match, top-seeded Farah/Van't Hof met No. 2 seed Bellama/Brooklyn of ASU. There, USC's sophomore-senior combo kept control of the match, claiming a 6-4, 6-4 victory to get the Trojans their first Pac-10 doubles crown since 2003 and round out a winning weekend for Van't Hof.
THIS TIME LAST YEAR: Individually, USC had three players compete in the 2007 NCAA Singles Championships in Athens, Ga. All three lost in the first round to higher ranked opponents. Senior Jamil Al-Agba fell to #30 Ivan Pucharov (Oklahoma State); senior Dejan Cvetkovic fell to #5 Kevin Anderson (Illinois); and junior Kaes Van't Hof lost to #8 Stephen Bass (Notre Dame).
HOW THE WEST WAS WON: The USC doubles duo of Robert Farah / Kaes Van't Hof remain ranked No. 2 in the nation in a season that has seen the pair open the fall by winning the ITA West Regional doubles title and then closing out the regular season as the Pac-10 Doubles Champions. Riding a 21-match win streak, the pair holds a 34-3 overall record together after a clean 17-0 run through dual match doubles play this year.
VAN'T HOF'S HAT TRICK: USC's only senior Kaes Van't Hof earned his third career Pac-10 Player of the Week award after picking up singles and doubles wins on Feb. 8 and 9. Van't Hof extended his win streaks in both categories to five straight during USC dual match victories. Playing at the No. 2 singles position, Van't Hof first beat Clemson's Kevin Fleck 6-3, 7-6 (4). The next day, he beat Boise State's #19 Clancy Shields 6-3, 6-2. Also playing at No. 1 doubles, Van't Hof and Robert Farah posted an identical win streak, winning in both dual matches for five straight in doubles. 2008 Pac-10 Singles champ Van't Hof is now 31-9 overall in singles and holds a 34-3 overall record in doubles with Farah, also undefeated in dual match doubles play. Van't Hof hit the century mark this season with his 100th career singles win in a straight-set victory at the No. 2 slot against UCLA's Jeremy Drean in the Pac-10 Quarterfinals on April 25. He now holds 108 career singles wins and had held a 19-match win streak until falling in USC's Round of 16 dual match against UCLA.
FARAH'S FANTASTIC FALL: Robert Farah put together a powerful fall season, recording a nine-match win streak that carried him into the final of the ITA All-American. He also was a finalist at the Polo Ralph Lauren Men's All-American and reached the final of the Sherwood Collegiate Cup in January and recently wound up as runner-up to teammate Kaes Van't Hof at the Pac-10 Championships. Farah now holds a 33-14 overall record on the season and went 15-8 mark from the No. 1 singles position for the Trojans.
TEAM PLAY: USC's ticket into the 2008 NCAA tournament marked the Trojans' 30th NCAA appearance, as USC has accumulated 16 national championships -- last in 2002. The Trojans reached the NCAA Quarterfinals for the second straight year, as USC fell to UCLA 4-2 last week, leaving USC with an overall NCAA record of 62-29 into the 2008 competition. USC finished 2008 dual match play with a 22-5 overall record and went 6-1 in Pac-10 play for a second-place finish.
TOP COACHES: 2007 Pac-10 Coach of the Year Peter Smith and his assistant Brett Masi earned regional honors for their roles in pushing USC back into the postseason with 2007's deep postseason run and a 22-3 overall finish. Smith was named the 2007 ITA West Region Coach of the Year, and Masi was the 2007 ITA West Region Assistant Coach of the Year. Masi duplicated that effort this season, securing back-to-back honors with selection as the 2008 ITA West Region Assistant Coach of the Year for his work with the Trojans.