No. 5 Trojans Prep For Pepperdine
Feb. 18, 2010
The No. 5 USC men stay on the road this week -- albeit in a sunnier environment than last week's ITA National Team Indoor Championships in Virginia -- with a trip over to Malibu on Friday. The Trojans (8-1) are due to pay a visit to #14 Pepperdine (3-2) for a 1 p.m. match on Feb. 19.
ITA RANKING UPDATES
The latest ITA national team rankings (released Feb. 18) have defending NCAA champ USC ranked No. 5 in the nation after the Trojans' first loss slipped them out of the No. 1 spot at which they opened the year. The latest individual rankings also were released Feb. 18. There, #1 Steve Johnson still leads the Trojans and the nation, with three other teammates settled in the rankings. #27 Robert Farah remains in the top-50, followed by #68 Jaak Poldma and #83 Daniel Nguyen. In doubles, four Trojan teams are in the rankings: #17 Farah/Johnson, #30 Lucassen/Poldma, #34 McNaughton/Nguyen and #45 Farah/McNaughton.
USC joined the nation's best at the ITA National Team Indoor Championships last week in Virginia, opening with a 4-0 sweep of #15 Clemson before the Trojans took their first loss of 2010 in a 4-2 decision to #8 Texas. It was USC's first loss since falling to UCLA in the 2009 regular-season finale before the Trojans powered through the postseason to win the 2009 NCAA Championship. In its next match at the ITA Indoors, however, USC regrouped and pounded out a 4-0 shutout of #3 UCLA for some revenge for last year's loss as well as a jump back into the win column as USC improved to 8-1 overall. Four Trojans were dealt their first dual-match singles losses of the year while competing in Virginia, including #1 Steve Johnson and #14 Robert Farah, both of whom fell to opponents ranked in the top-10 in singles. Jaak Poldma was USC's winningest player on the weekend, as he won his singles matches vs. Texas and UCLA, and won in doubles with Peter Lucassen against Fresno State and UCLA. He was leading in his other matches when play was suspended. Other highlights from the weekend included #78 Daniel Nguyen's upset of Texas' #38 Josh Zavala and #47 Matt Kecki's win over Fresno State's #78 David Ayoun.
Pepperdine is ranked #15 in the nation with a 3-2 record entering this week's clash with USC. The Waves' two losses on the year have come to highly ranked opponents, as Pepperdine lost 4-0 to #3 UCLA and 6-1 to #3 Ohio State before beating #36 Michigan 5-2 last week. Pepperdine has #44 Bassam Beidas and #115 Finn Tearney ranked in singles. USC is 41-13 all-time against the Waves, last claiming a 4-0 win over Pepperdine in the 2007 NCAA Second Round.
POLDMA'S PAC-10 POWER
USC junior Jaak Poldma earned his first career honors as Pac-10 Men's Tennis Player of the Week after a dominant all-around performance at the competitive ITA National Team Indoor Championships, staking a claim as the first Trojan to win the weekly honor from the conference this season.Poldma tallied wins across the board for USC, getting two singles wins and two doubles wins and leading in both his suspended matches. #116 Poldma stayed flawless in dual match singles play from the No. 3 singles position, beating Kellen Damico of Texas and #118 Nick Meister of UCLA both in straight sets. His singles wins improved Polda's singles record on the year to 13-3 with a 6-0 mark in dual-match singles and a six-match overall winning streak. Poldma also stretched to a six-match win streak in doubles with Lucassen after this weekend's success, including an 8-6 upset of UCLA's #36 pair Brooklyn/Stewart.