No. 1 Trojans Swing Into Action At ITA Team Indoors.
Feb. 11, 2010
The USC men are braving the Virginia snows this week in a journey to the ITA National Team Indoor Championships in Charlottesville. The Trojans are going a long way to face another California team in their opener, but, as the nation's top-ranked team, USC has plans to make a deep and successful run at this year's competitive indoor team tourney. The Trojans open with a 12 p.m. ET match against No. 26 Fresno State on Friday (Feb. 12). USC will then face either No. 8 Texas or No. 9 Stanford at 12 p.m. ET on Saturday (Feb. 13). Semifinal action is also set for a 12 p.m. start on Sunday (Feb. 14) and Monday's final has the same start time.
ITA RANKING UPDATES
The latest ITA national team rankings (released Feb. 4) have the defending NCAA champ USC still ranked No. 1. The latest individual rankings were released Jan. 5. There, #1 Steve Johnson leads the Trojans, with five other teammates settled in the rankings. #14 Robert Farah and #47 Matt Kecki open up the year in the top-50, followed by #67 JT Sundling, #78 Daniel Nguyen and #116 Jaak Poldma. In doubles, Farah/Johnson rank #13 in the nation.
USC finally got a break in the weather to get in its match against San Diego, and the Trojans took full advantage of the clear skies by posting a 7-0 sweep of the visiting Toreros. USC rolled through doubles and on into a run through singles to improve the Trojans' overall record to 6-0 on the year with the win. Daniel Nguyen got the clincher at No. 3 singles with a 6-3, 6-1 decision.
HOW THEY GOT THERE
To qualify for this year's ITA National Team Indoor Championships, USC played host to the ITA Kick-off Weekend at Marks Stadium at the end of January. The Trojans first topped #49 Vanderbilt 4-1 to move into the next day's championship match against #73 Yale, which beat Radford 4-3 in the first match of ITA Kick-off play at Marks Stadium. USC then rolled out to a 7-0 sweep of Yale in the final to clinch the Trojans' place at the ITA Indoor competition to come.
THIS TIME LAST YEAR
USC was ranked No. 6 on the way into last year's ITA National Team Indoors -- held in Chicago. The Trojans opened up with a 4-0 shutout of No. 9 Mississippi before taking their first loss of the year in a 4-1 loss to No. 3 Georgia. The Trojans responded with an upset of No. 2 Texas next, however, hinting at the winning potential of USC in the season. USC topped Texas 4-1 in its last match in Chicago to improve the Trojans' overall record at that point to 8-1.
SCOUTING FRESNO STATE
Fresno State is ranked No. 26 in the nation but is the No. 16 seed in this year's ITA Team Indoors with a 7-1 overall record. The Bulldogs earned their place in Virginia by knocking off then-No. 12 Texas A&M and sweeping then-No. 34 Rice 4-0 the following day at the ITA Kick-off Weekend in College Station, Texas. Fresno State has #83 David Ayoun ranked in singles and two ranked doubles teams: #20 Zapletal/Leiby and #36 Boutillier de Villiers. USC is 16-4 all-time against Fresno State after claiming a 5-2 win over the Bulldogs in the teams' last meeting in 2007.