USC Men Return Home To Face UNLV
March 23, 2006
THIS WEEK: After facing four straight top-10 teams, the #53 USC men's tennis team will play host to #53 UNLV this week in nonconference action. The Trojans and the Rebels square off at 5 p.m. on Friday (March 24) at Marks Stadium for USC's chance to snap a four-match losing skid.
ITA RANKING UPDATES: USC (6-8) is ranked No. 53 in the latest ITA team rankings (released March 21). Sophomore Jamil Al-Agba has popped into the singles rankings at No. 88, and two Trojan doubles duos are also ranked. Al-Agba / Dejan Cvetkovic are ranked No. 45 with a 6-3 dual match record, and Jeff Kazarian / Kaes Van't Hof are No. 53 with a 4-1 dual match record. Al-Agba holds a 1-3 singles records with those three losses coming to top-5 ranked opponents and a win over a No. 28 player.
UNLV (11-3) is ranked No. 61 as a team and has no singles or doubles players in the ITA rankings.
RECENT RESULTS: The Trojans had three tough matches in a week, and slipped to 6-8 with the losses. The Trojans kicked off the competitive week against #7 Baylor, falling 5-1 in a match shortened by stormy skies. Dejan Cvetkovic posted USC's lone singles win with an upset victory over No. 48 Matija Zgaga in three sets, 6-1, 7-6 (5), 6-2. For his efforts, Cvetkovic was named Pac-10 Player of the Week -- his first such honor. Against #4 Duke, the Trojans posted a serious challenge to the Blue Devils, taking the match down to an eventual 4-3 decision. The Trojans swept through doubles action to grab an early point in the match. Duke boasted four ranked singles players. Three of them won, but Al-Agba posted a 6-2, 6-7, 6-2 victory over #28 Jonathan Stokke to help keep the match tight. Chong Wang posted USC's other singles win at the No. 6 position, while Cvetkovic was edged out by Duke's #4 Ludovic Walter in three sets as the Blue Devils came out on top. Three days later on the road, USC faced #7 Illinois and fell 6-1. Adam Loucks was USC's lone winner of the day at No. 4 singles with a 4-6, 7-5, 1-0 (3) win.
USC VS. UNLV: USC has never lost to the Rebels, holding an 11-0 all-time record against UNLV. The teams last faced in 2002, when the Trojans posted a 7-0 win at home.
DEJAN GETS IT DONE: Sophomore Dejan Cvetkovic earned his first career Pac-10 Player of the Week award after posting a three-set upset of Baylor's #48-ranked Matija Zgaga for USC's lone win of the match against the seventh-ranked Bears.
2006 TROJANS: 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.
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.