No. 6 USC Men Head To San Diego State

Feb. 5, 2009

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THIS WEEK: USC stays strong at the No. 6 slot in the national rankings with a 5-0 overall record coming into this week's play. For the first timein 2009, the Trojans will venture off the courts of Marks Stadium for dual-match play, as USC pays a visit to San Diego State at 12 p.m. on Friday (Feb. 6).

ITA RANKING UPDATES: The latest ITA national team rankings have USC still ranked No. 6. The latest individual rankings are the ITA preseason picks released Jan. 6. There, #7 Robert Farah leads the Trojans, with three other teammates well settled in the nation's top-100. Freshman Matt Kecki is #54, followed by #58 freshman Steve Johnson and #64 senior Abdullah Magdas. In doubles, Farah/Johnson rank #2 ahead of Kells/Nguyen at #46.

SCOUTING SAN DIEGO STATE: San Diego State is ranked No. 58 in the nation and is 1-3 overall after taking a 5-2 loss to UCLA earlier in the week. USC is 15-0 all-time against the Aztecs, last winning 6-1 in 2008 in Los Angeles. This year, San Diego State currently has no players in the ITA singles and doubles rankings.

RECENT ACTION: USC secured a place for itself at the upcoming ITA National Indoor Championships in Chicago, Ill, with a pair of qualifying wins at Marks Stadium last week. After clinching their first win in the opening qualifier against Mississippi State, the Trojans opted to play out the rest of the match and pinned up a 6-1 victory to move into the winner's match on Saturday. There, USC rolled out to a 4-0 win over a familiar foe, San Diego. The Trojans had topped the Toreros 6-1 just days earlier during regular-season dual match play.

BACK FOR MORE: Once again, USC has just one senior on its roster - team captain Abdullah Magdas - along with two strong juniors in Robert Farah and Jason McNaughton and sophomore standout Jaak Poldma. Those three Trojans lined up just behind USC's 1-2 punch of Farah and Van't Hof last year, and once again Farah is tabbed as the headliner on USC's ladder and sits at No. 7 in the national singles rankings for the spring.

JUST ADD FARAH: Robert Farah may well be an X-factor for doubles success. With Kaes Van't Hof last season, the Trojan pair captured USC's 21st NCAA Doubles Championship. After Van't Hof's graduation, Farah has teamed up with freshman Steve Johnson and the pair is in similar winning form as the nation's No. 2 ranked doubles pair.

THE NEW CLASS: Trojan newcomers Steve Johnson, Matt Kecki, Andrew Kells and Daniel Nguyen all boast a laundry list of junior-level accolades along with championships and strong rankings. Ben Lankenau also joins the crew as a freshman this year, rounding out a formidable group of newcomers who have proven themselves impact players already. Johnson and Kecki both picked up spring singles rankings at No. 58 and No. 54, respectively. USC's young doubles guns also got spring rankings nods, as Kells and Nguyen clock in at No. 46 behind second-ranked Farah/Johnson.

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