No. 20 USC Takes The Plunge Against Pac-10 Opponents This Week

Feb. 2, 2006

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The Trojans head into their first road dual matches of the year this week -- and gets a first look at their Pac-10 competition -- with a trip to Northern California this week. No. 20 USC faces No. 14 Stanford at 1:30 p.m. on Friday (Feb. 2) and then plays at No. 19 California at 1 p.m. on Saturday.

USC remains ranked No. 20 in the latest ITA team rankings (released Jan. 31). Stanford sits at No. 14, and California ranks just above the Trojans at No. 19.USC junior Jamil Al-Agba did not play during the fall, but was ranked No. 7 entering the fall season.

The Trojans have generated a four-match winning streak and hold a 4-1 record on the way into this week's action. Last week, USC hosted UC Santa Barbara and No. 43 San Diego State. Against the Gauchos, USC pulled out a decisive 6-1 victory, while the matchup with the Aztecs was far tighter. The Trojans got big wins at the Nos. 4, 5 and 6 singles slots to help clinch a 4-3 win over San Diego State and close out the week with two more wins.

USC dropped both dual matches with the Cardinal last season, falling 5-2 and 5-1 in their two meetings.

USC split matches with the Bears last season, winning their first nonconference battle 5-2 before falling in their Pac-10 clash by the same score.

The 2006 USC squad, led by fourth-year coach Peter Smith, is highlighted by nine returning players from last year's team that reached the NCAA Second Round and finished the 2005 season with a No. 21 national ranking. This year, the Trojans boast four newcomers to the roster as USC works toward improving on last year's 12-13 overall record and 3-4 fifth-place finish in Pac-10 play.

HEAD COACH Peter Smith:
Peter Smith, the 2004 Pac-10 Coach of the Year whose teams have now made 12-straight NCAA appearances, enters his fourth 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 three years at USC. He boasts a 319-164 (.660) overall record, is 49-29 (.628) with the Trojans and has led his teams to 12 NCAA appearances, including last year's second-round run, and 10 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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