No. 3 USC Men Host No. 17 Wake Forest On Wednesday

March 9, 2010

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The No. 3 USC men go up against a completely new opponent this week with a nonconference clash against No. 17 Wake Forest. The first-ever matchup between the Trojans (12-1) and the Demon Deacons (5-2) is set for 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday (March 10) at Marks Stadium.

The latest ITA national team rankings (released March 9) have defending NCAA champ USC ranked No. 3 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 were released March 2. There, #3 Steve Johnson still leads the Trojans although he's slipped out of the No. 1 slot he had presided over since Jan. 5's first rankings. Joining him in the top-10 is #9 Robert Farah, with four other Trojans settled in the rankings.#76 Peter Lucassen, #93 Jaak Poldma, #96 JT Sundling and #116 Daniel Nguyen. In doubles, three Trojan teams are in the rankings: #13 Farah/Johnson, #32 Johnson/Nguyen and #40 McNaughton/Nguyen.

USC recorded its first back-to-back wins against crosstown rival UCLA since 1991 with the Trojans' 6-1 win over the Bruins last week at the Los Angeles Tennis Center. USC had claimed a 4-0 win over UCLA earlier this year at the ITA National Team Indoor Championships, and this second look at UCLA was a similarly decisive victory for the Trojans. USC captured the doubles point and then worked ahead with the clincher coming from Matt Kecki to make it a 4-1 USC lead from his No. 6 singles slot.

Wake Forest is ranked No. 17 in the nation and is 5-2 overall after beating Michigan 5-2 and losing 4-3 to No. 2 Tennessee last week. Steve Forman was named ACC Player of the Week this week after straight-set singles wins in last week's matches. The Demon Deacons have four players ranked in singles: #20 Tripper Carleton, #67 Steven Forman, #80 Iain Atkinson and #108 Jonathan Wolff. Wake Forest's #14 Atkinson/Forman is ranked in doubles. This will be the first-ever meeting between the Trojans and the Demon Deacons.

After winning out in doubles and singles during USC's 7-0 sweep of San Diego State, Daniel Nguyen came up huge for the Trojans in an incredibly tight match at No. 14 Stanford in a rematch of last year's NCAA Round of 16 clash. His clutch play for the Trojans earned the sophomore his first career selection as Pac-10 Player of the Week on March 2. Due to the threat of rain, USC and Stanford opted to play out singles first, with doubles only played in the event of a singles tie and clear skies later in the day. Nguyen had the most decisive singles win of the day as he opened the day with a 6-2, 6-1 win over Matt Kandath to help USC to an early lead. Singles play would end up even 3-3, bringing up the deciding doubles matches. The winning point came down to Nguyen and partner Steve Johnson at the No. 2 position, as the then-unranked Trojan pair faced Stanford's #26 Clayton/Wire. Nguyen and Johnson pushed the match to a tiebreaker and pulled ahead and clinched the match by claiming the tiebreak 7-3 to win the match for USC. Nguyen is now 21-5 overall in singles with a 7-1 mark in dual-match play. He leads the team in singles wins, just ahead of Robert Farah's 19-4 record and Steve Johnson's 18-3 mark to date.

USC junior Jaak Poldma earned his first career honors as Pac-10 Player of the Week on Feb. 16 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 put him on a six-match overall winning streak. Poldma also stretched to a six-match win streak in doubles with Lucassen after that weekend's success, including an 8-6 upset of UCLA's #36 pair Brooklyn/Stewart. Poldma is now 16-4 overall in singles with a 9-1 mark in dual-match play. Poldma and Lucassen are a perfect 10-0 together in doubles.

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