Trojans Travel To Westwood For Lexus Gauntlet Match-Up

Jan. 29, 2004

This Week -- Coming off victories over Fresno State and TCU to open the 2003-04 season, the 19th-ranked USC men's tennis team (2-0) travels to crosstown rival and sixth-ranked UCLA this Friday, Jan. 30. The Lexus Gauntlet match will be played at the Los Angeles Tennis Center at 1:30 p.m. Fans can follow the match live by going to

This year's Trojans are eager to turn a new leaf. Coming off a very uncharacteristic and mediocre performance last season, in which the Trojans finished 14-12 overall and 2-5 in the Pac-10, the 2003-04 Trojans are stronger, deeper, and looking forward to returning to the national spotlight. The team features nine returners and four newcomers, all of which will see ample playing time in the starting lineup.

ITA Ranking Updates -- Updated on Jan. 28, the latest rankings have USC at No. 19. In singles, junior Johan Berg is ranked 35th, senior Ruben Torres is ranked No. 51, junior transfer Drew Hoskins is 59th and senior Scott Patterson is ranked No. 99.

USC vs. UCLA -- USC and UCLA have met a total of 165 times in their 75-year old history. The Bruins own an 88-77 series advantage and defeated the Trojans three times last season, including a 4-0 win in the second round of the NCAA Tournament.

Battle for the Lexus Gauntlet -- Friday's match against the Bruins will be the first of two meetings for the Lexus Gauntlet competition -- a season-long challenge between USC and UCLA. Five total points will be awarded in men's tennis this season. This unique program awards points for the winner of each Bruin-Trojan head-to-head contest throughout the year and the Lexus Gauntlet trophy is awarded to the school with the most points at year's end. USC won the inaugural trophy in 2002 and UCLA captured the 2003 trophy. This season, USC leads the competition, 32.5 to 12.5.

USC-UCLA March Match-Up To Be Televised -- Fox Sports Net will air a tape-delayed broadcast of the USC-UCLA rematch on March 2 at Marks Tennis Stadium. The match will air on March 6 at 3 p.m.

Head Coach Peter Smith -- Peter Smith, who guided the Pepperdine men's tennis team to conference titles and NCAA tournament appearances in each of his five years there, begins his second 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), four years at Long Beach State (1988-1991) and a year at USC. He boasts a 286-147 (.661) overall record and has led his teams to 10 NCAA appearances and eight top 25 finishes. He has been honored as conference coach of the year a total of six times and was the 2002 ITA Region VIII Coach of the Year.

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