Robert Farah Repeats As Pac-10 Player of the Year
April 29, 2010
Robert Farah is the first-ever Pac-10 player to hold two Player of the Year awards along with more than one Doubles Team of the Year honors. He is also the first to go back-to-back as Pac-10 Player of the Year since Stanford's Sam Warburg did it in 2004 and 2005. And Farah is the only player ever to win three Pac-10 Doubles Team of the Year awards. He has Steve Johnson to thank for that push, as Farah first won the Doubles honor in 2008 playing with Kaes Van't Hof. Last season, Farah teamed up with Steve Johnson on the doubles courts to claim another Pac-10 Doubles Team of the Year crown, and this year the pair worked their way to the 2010 Pac-10 Doubles Championship and currently rank No. 4 in the nation as they win their second Pac-10 Doubles Team of the Year title together.
The Farah/Johnson combination has plowed through 2010 opponents to the tune of a 12-match win streak. The pair went 11-1 in dual-match play - a perfect 5-0 in Pac-10 action -- and hold a 25-3 overall record as they set up for the Trojans' postseason push to defend their NCAA Team Championship. This season, Farah and Johnson also have combined forces to win the ITA Regional Doubles Championship, the Sherwood Collegiate Doubles Championship and the Pacific Coast Doubles Championship.
Robert Farah and Steve Johnson both hold a place on the All-Pac-10 First Team - a slot they both enjoyed last season in Johnson's freshman year. Farah was an All-Pac-10 Honorable Mention recipient in his freshman season and has now picked up three straight All-Pac-10 First Team honors. Ranked No. 6 in the nation in singles, Farah is on an 11-match singles win streak after breaking through as the Pac-10 Singles Champion last weekend. He went 17-2 in dual match play with a 5-0 mark in Pac-10 action to currently hold a 30-5 overall singles record, playing largely at the No. 1 singles slot in dual matches for the Trojans. Farah is the sixth Trojan to be named Pac-10 Player of the Year, joining Wayne Black (1994), Brian MacPhie (1993), Scott Melville (1988), Rick Leach (1987) and Robert Van't Hof (1980).
Johnson's First Team selection this year also was as much due to his dominating singles play as to his efforts that pulled him to his second Pac-10 Doubles Team of the Year accolades. In singles, Johnson reigned as the nation's top-ranked player for most of the year. He's on a seven-match win streak, which includes a perfect 6-0 mark in Pac-10 play. He went 15-3 in dual match singles and holds a 26-4 overall record on the way into USC's NCAA push.
Reigning supreme as the Pac-10 Coach of the Year, Trojan head coach Peter Smith helped lead USC to its second Pac-10 title in the past three years. It's Smith's third career honor as the Pac-10 Coach of the Year, as he also won the selection in 2004 and 2007. This year, Smith has put the Trojans on a similar path of greatness, as his team entered the year ranked No. 1 in the nation as the defending national champions. Smith and the Trojans have remained ranked in the nation's top-5 throughout the year, currently holding a 19-3 overall record with a 5-1 finish in Pac-10 play to claim a share of the 2010 Pac-10 Championship.
Also weighing in with well-deserved All-Pac-10 accolades are two Trojans who have been key to the USC lineup. Sophomore Daniel Nguyen has earned his first career All-Pac-10 selection with a place on the All-Pac-10 Second Team. Ranked No. 83 in the nation, Nguyen leads the Trojans in singles wins on the year, boasting a 33-6 overall record with a 16-1 mark in dual-match play and a perfect 6-0 run through Pac-10 action. He was twice selected the Pac-10 Player of the Week for his clutch play, which also extends to the doubles courts. Nguyen ranks No. 58 in the nation in doubles with Steve Johnson (6-0 overall), is No. 64 with Jason McNaughton (6-5) and is No. 78 with JT Sundling (10-4 overall).
Earning repeat honors from the Pac-10 this year is junior Jaak Poldma, who has his third straight selection to an All-Pac-10 Team. A Second Team pick in his first two seasons, Poldma has earned All-Pac-10 Honorable Mention this year as he holds down the competitive No. 3 singles slot and is a fixture in doubles. Ranked No. 89 in the nation currently in singles, Poldma is 21-7 overall with a 14-4 dual-match mark, going 3-3 in Pac-10 play. On the doubles side, Poldma has played largely with Peter Lucassen, going 14-4 in dual-match action with a 14-5 overall record.