Ninth-Ranked USC Men's Tennis Hosts Second-Ranked Illinois Before Opening Pac-10 Play Against The Arizona Schools

March 22, 2005

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This Week -- Coming off a tough loss to No. 31 Clemson, the ninth-ranked USC men's tennis team (7-7) hosts No. 2 Illinois (11-1) on Wednesday, March 23, at 5 p.m. All USC fans in attendance at the match against Illinois will recieve a free USC Tennis T-shirt along with free pizza and drinks. This weekend, the Trojans open up Pac-10 play against No. 38 Arizona State (6-5) on Friday, March 25, at 1:30 p.m. and No. 45 Arizona (7-6) on Saturday, March 26, at 1 p.m. All three matches will be held at Marks Stadium.

The 2005 squad, led by third-year head coach Peter Smith, features seven returners and five newcomers. The Trojans are coming off a successful 2004 campaign in which they advanced to the NCAA Semifinals, compiled a 23-4 overall record, earned a share of the Pac-10 title (the program's 14th) with a 6-1 conference mark and completed the year ranked fourth in the ITA.

Recent Results -- The Trojans suffered a tough 4-3 loss to No. 31 Clemson on Saturday, March 19 at home. The Texas match scheduled for Friday, March 18, was rained out.

ITA Ranking Updates -- The Trojans returned to the No.9 position in the most recent ITA poll released on March 22. In singles, sophomore Jamil Al-Agba dropped four spots to No. 28 and senior Drew Hoskins comes in at No. 62. Johan Berg and Jamil Al-Agba fell to No. 36 in the doubles rankings.

USC vs. Illinois -- USC and Illinois have met 4 times in series history. The series stands at 3-1 in USC's favor, including a 4-2 Trojan victory in the quarterfinals of the 2002 NCAA Championships in College Station, Texas-- when Troy went on to win the national championship.

USC vs. Arizona State-- Friday's match between USC and Arizona State will mark the 54th meeting between the two schools. USC leads the series, 33-20. ASU pulled off the upset two weeks ago out in Tempe, Ariz. beating the Trojans 4-3.

USC vs. Arizona -- USC and Arizona have met 54 times in series history. The series stands at 39-15 in USC's favor, including a current 15-match winning streak by the Trojans. Troy defeated the Wildcats, 5-2, out in Tucson, Ariz. earlier this season.

Head Coach Peter Smith -- Peter Smith, the 2004 Pac-10 Coach of the Year whose teams have now made 11 straight NCAA appearances, enters his third season as head coach of the Trojan 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 two years at USC. He boasts a 307-151 (.670) overall record and has led his teams to 11 NCAA appearances, including last year's semifinal run, and nine top 25 finishes. He has been honored as conference coach of the year a total of seven times and was the 2002 ITA Region VIII Coach of the Year.

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