Trojans Win To Advance To NCAA Semifinals
May 19, 2002
COLLEGE STATION, Texas - The No. 11-ranked USC men's tennis team continued its NCAA run Sunday afternoon with a 4-2 upset victory over third-ranked Illinois at the Texas A&M Tennis Stadium. With the win, the Trojans (23-5) advance to the NCAA Division I Championship Semifinals for the first time since 1994 - the same year USC captured its 15th all-time national championship under current head coach Dick Leach.
USC will face fifth-ranked Tennessee (22-6) on Monday, May 20, at 4 p.m. at the Grandstand courts. The Volunteers defeated Texas in the Round of 16, 4-1, and Kentucky, 4-1, in the quarterfinals to advance. Illinois completes its season with a 26-5 overall record.
The Trojans started the match at a disadvantage after dropping the doubles point with losses at courts two and three. All three doubles pairs began the afternoon matching Illinois point-for-point, but after each court reached a 4-4 tie the Illini gained momentum and went on to win 8-4 and 8-5 at No. 2 and 3, respectively.
USC faced an uphill battle, needing to capture four-of-six singles victories to earn the win. Without hesitation, the Trojans took the first set at positions three, four, five and six. Senior Nick Rainey was the first off the court as he buried the Illini's Mike Kosta with a 6-0, 6-1 win at No. 5 to tie the score at one apiece. With dominating performances of their own, the Trojans' Daniel Langre and Ruben Torres followed with victories at positions five and six to turn the tables and put USC ahead 3-1.
Troy needed just one more win among the remaining three matches to clinch the come-from-behind victory, but at the No. 2 spot Illinois temporarily slowed the Trojans' run as Brian Wilson defeated Ryan Moore, 6-4, 6-4. Andrew Park had just pushed his match to a third set at center court as freshman Prakash Amritraj tied his second set at 6-6 after trailing 5-2. Amritraj won the tiebreaker by holding Philip Stolt scoreless for the match-clinching 6-4, 7-6 (0) win at the No. 3 spot.
#11 USC 4, #3 Illinois 2
(1) #9 Rainey/Moore (USC) vs. #4 Calkins/Delic (Illinois) - 7-7, abandoned
(2) Stolt/Wilson (Illinois) def. Teige Sullivan/Torres (USC) - 8-4
(3) Kosta/Zeder (Illinois) def. Langre/Amritraj (USC) - 8-5
Illinios wins doubles point.
(1) #30 Andrew Park (USC) vs. #12 Amer Delic (Illinios) - 4-6, 6-3, 3-5 abandoned
(2) #40 Brian Wilson (Illinois) def. #87 Ryan Moore (USC) - 6-4, 6-4
(3) #85 Prakash Amritraj (USC) def. #67 Philip Stolt (Illinois) - 6-4, 7-6 (7-0)
(4) #46 Nick Rainey (USC) def. Mike Kosta (Illinois) - 6-0, 6-1
(5) Daniel Langre (USC) def. #121 Michael Calkins (Illinois) - 6-2, 6-1
(6) Ruben Torres (USC) def. Nathan Zeder (Illinois) - 6-2, 6-2