Trojans Travel To Ojai
April 23, 2003
This Week -- The No. 22 USC men's tennis team begins postseason play this week when it travels to Ojai, Calif., for the 2003 Pac-10 Individual Championships, April 24-27. Following losses against No. 4 California and No. 5 Stanford last week, the Trojans completed the regular season with a 13-11 overall record and 2-5 conference mark, for a sixth-place tie in the Pac-10.
Ojai Draws -- The Trojans are sending six players (and two doubles teams) to compete at the 2003 Pac-10 Singles and Doubles Championships in Ojai. Johan Berg, Daniel Langre, Ruben Torres and Scott Patterson were selected to compete in the main draw Pac-10 Tournament, while Parker Collins and Daniel Tontz will be competing in the back draw Pac-10 Invitational. Langre and Collins and Torres and Berg will play in the doubles Tournament. Patterson and Tontz will play in the doubles Invitational.
NCAA Championships -- Following the conference championship, the Trojans will await the 2003 NCAA tournament selections. The 64-team field for both the men and women will be announced on Wednesday, April 30, on ESPN News. The women's selection will take place at 1:30 p.m., followed by the men's announcement at 1:45 p.m. NCAA Regional action will take place on May 9-11 on campus sites. The mens' championships will be held May 18-27 in Athens, Ga.
ITA Ranking Updates -- The Trojans dropped one spot to No. 22 in the latest ITA poll released on April 21. In the individual singles rankings, Prakash Amritraj is ranked 43rd and Johan Berg is ranked No. 124. Amritraj and Daniel Langre dropped to No. 19 in doubles without having played a match since April 5.
Injuries Take Their Toll -- Multiple injuries this season have depleted the Trojans' lineup, including the loss of Brian Wright who has missed the entire year with knee injuries. Ruben Torres (shoulder, wrist) and Jeff Kazarian (back) have also missed their share of matches due to injury.
One of the Nation's Toughest Conference -- Once again, the Pacific-10 conference proved to be one of the toughest tennis conferences in the country. All eight Pac-10 universities which sponsor men's tennis were ranked among the top-100 - five of which have consistently remained in the top-25. The Pac-10 men hold down 21 spots in the Top-115 men's singles list and occupy seven spots among the Top-60 doubles teams, with a ranked duo representative of six different schools.
Final Pac-10 Standings -- Stanford captured the 2003 Pac-10 Championship. Coming off of a difficult dual-match season, the Trojans finished tied for sixth place with Washington, marking their worst-ever conference finish.
At the 2002 Pac-10 Championships -- The 2002 Pac-10 Tournament was highlighted by the play of then-sophomore Ruben Torres who captured his first-ever tournament title at USC by winning the Invitational with a finals victory over Alberto Francis of UCLA.
The Trojans' Last Outing -- USC ended the regular season with two home losses to then-No. 4 California and then-No. 5 Stanford.
Playing without Ruben Torres in the lineup (injury) against Cal on April 18, USC got off to a good start by winning two-of-three doubles matches. The Trojans benefited from the outstanding play of Johan Berg and Daniel Langre at No. 2, who started off the match with an 8-3 win over Conor Niland and Balazs Veress. USC then lost at the No. 3 position, 8-4, but clinched the doubles point as Prakash Amritraj and Jeff Kazarian posted a convincing 8-6 victory over John Paul Fruttero and Patrick Briaud at center court. The Trojans found little success in singles, falling in straight sets at courts five, four, two and six, respectively, to give Cal the necessary four points for the victory. Amritraj provided the Trojans' only singles highlight as he defeated Cal's Fruttero 7-5, 7-5 at center court to complete the match.
On Saturday, April 19, USC proved no match for the Cardinal, as they fell 7-0 in the final outing of the regular season. A day after their strong doubles performance against Cal, the Trojans were unable to do the same. Stanford earned a 1-0 lead by sweeping all three doubles matches. Singles was much of the same, as USC fell in straight sets on courts two, three, four, five and six. Center court featured the most competitive match-up of the afternoon. Amritraj fought to push Stanford's 12th-ranked David Martin to a third set, but eventually fell in the tiebreaker, 6-2, 3-6, 10-3.
Get The Latest Info -- Updated team stats can always be found by logging on to www.usctrojans.com. They are located on the men's tennis page under 'Season Statistics.'
Head Coach Peter Smith in First Season -- Peter Smith, who guided the Pepperdine men's tennis team to conference titles and NCAA tournament appearances in each of his five years there, is in his first year at the helm of the USC men's tennis program. Smith's collegiate coaching career includes five years (1998-2002) at Pepperdine, six years at Fresno State (1992-1997) and four years at Long Beach State (1988-1991). He boasts a 283-146 (.660) overall record and has led his teams to nine NCAA appearances and seven top 20 finishes. Last season he earned his sixth conference Coach of the Year honor (WCC) and was named the ITA Region VIII Coach of the Year.