No. 13 USC Men Have Two Ahead At Marks Stadium
March 11, 2009
THIS WEEK: No. 13-ranked USC (10-3) has a pair of home matches set for the coming stretch at Marks Stadium, beginning with a Thursday (March 12) clash against No. 30 Texas Tech at 11 a.m. After the weekend, USC sets up camp again for a 12 p.m. match against No. 29 Tulsa on Monday (March 16).
ITA RANKING UPDATES: The latest ITA national team rankings have USC ranked No 13 in the nation, as of March 10. Singles and doubles rankings were released March 3, with Robert Farah standing tall as the nation's #1 singles player. He is joined in the rankings by #57 Abdullah Magdas, #86 Steve Johnson and #102 Jaak Poldma. In doubles, Farah/Johnson are ranked #4.
SCOUTING TEXAS TECH: Texas Tech is ranked No. 30 in the nation after winning its past five matches. This will be the first-ever meeting between the Trojans and the Red Raiders. Texas Tech has #45 Raony Carvalho ranked in singles and #10 Rojmar/Carvalho ranked in doubles.
SCOUTING TULSA: Tulsa is ranked No. 29 and is 12-5 overall with matches against Michigan State and Cal on tap before facing the Trojans on March 16. USC is 3-0 all-time against Tulsa, lasting facing in 2008 for a 6-1 Trojan victory. Tulsa has #3 Arnau Brugues ranked in singles and #3Brugues/Stephens, #56 Kolik/Stephens and #73 Cunningham/Stephens ranked in doubles.
RECENT ACTION: USC took a tough 4-3 home loss on March 5 to then-No. 13 UCLA at Marks Stadium. The match began on Wednesday afternoon, but halfway through doubles it was interrupted by rain which caused play to be suspended until Thursday afternoon. The Bruins took the doubles point, but a quick singles win by Steve Johnson for the Trojans brought the match score to 1-1. However, the Bruins were able to get the next three singles points to take the match. .
BACK FOR MORE: Once again, USC has just one senior on its roster - team captain Abdullah Magdas - along with two strong juniors in Robert Farah and Jason McNaughton and sophomore standout Jaak Poldma. Those three Trojans lined up just behind USC's 1-2 punch of Farah and Van't Hof last year, and once again Farah is tabbed as the headliner on USC's ladder. He has been cruising through singles play this season, topping the charts at No. 1 although he had a 14-match win streak snapped last week vs. UCLA.
JUST ADD FARAH: Robert Farah may well be an X-factor for doubles success. With Kaes Van't Hof last season, the Trojan pair captured USC's 21st NCAA Doubles Championship. After Van't Hof's graduation, Farah has teamed up with freshman Steve Johnson to form a new team in similar winning form as the nation's No. 4 ranked doubles pair.
THE NEW CLASS: Trojan newcomers Steve Johnson, Matt Kecki, Andrew Kells and Daniel Nguyen all boast a laundry list of junior-level accolades along with championships and strong rankings. Ben Lankenau also joins the crew as a freshman this year, rounding out a formidable group of newcomers who have proven themselves impact players already. Johnson and Kecki both picked up spring singles rankings at No. 58 and No. 54, respectively. USC's young doubles guns also got spring rankings nods, as Kells and Nguyen clock in at No. 46 behind second-ranked Farah/Johnson.