USC claims fourth Pac-12 Men's Tennis Tournament title
OJAI, CALIF. - No. 2 seed and No. 8 nationally ranked USC was crowned the 2019 Pac-12 Men’s Tennis Tournament Champions at Libbey Park in Ojai, Calif., on Saturday after defeating No. 4 seed and No. 33 ranked California, 4-0. The Trojans earned their fourth Pac-12 Tournament title, tied for the most with UCLA, since the format moved to a team tournament title in 2012. It marks the 36th all-time Conference team title for USC since 1928.
USC rolled through the tournament, defeating No. 7 Washington in the quarterfinals, 4-0, and No. 3 Stanford in the semifinals, 4-2.
USC kicked off the championship match by claiming the doubles point with victories from Daniel Cukierman and Tanner Smith on court three, 6-1, followed by Jack Jaede and Laurens Verboven on court two, 6-4.
Cukierman was first to the punch in singles play, defeating Cal’s Jack Molloy 6-0, 6-2 to put the Trojans up 2-0. Verboven got the next singles win on court three, 6-0, 6-3, to set up a match clincher on court five. Freshman Jake Sands clinched the championship for the Trojans with a 7-6 (5), 6-1 result. Head coach Peter Smith was thrilled his freshman had that opportunity.
“You’re excited for the two freshmen at five and six to have a chance to clinch a conference championship. I think it’s great for their confidence and experience. The excitement level for them is through the roof.”
As the Pac-12 champion, USC earns the automatic bid to the NCAA Championship, May 16-25 in Orlando, Fla. This is USC’s 42nd NCAA Tournament appearance and the Trojans hold the record for most team titles with 21.
“You win in May based on your training in February and March,” Smith, a five-time NCAA champion coach, said of his team’s prospects in NCAAs. “The work has been done and it’s time for us to relax and go compete.”
The field for the 2019 NCAA Men’s Tennis Championship will announced on the NCAA.com Selection Show on Monday, April 29 at 3 p.m. PT.
2019 PAC-12 MEN'S TENNIS CHAMPIONSHIP
Final // Sat., April 27, 2019 // Libbey
No. 2 USC, No. 4 California
1. Brandon Holt/Riley Smith, USC v. Jacob Brumm/Yuta Kikuchi, CAL - 5-4 unf.
2. Jack Jaede/Laurens Verboven, USC def. Paul Barretto/Can Kaya, CAL - 6-4
3. Daniel Cukierman/Tanner Smith, USC def. Ben Draper/Jack Molloy, CAL - 6-1
Order of finish: 3, 2
1. Brandon Holt, USC v. Yuta Kikuchi, CAL
2. Daniel Cukierman, USC def. Jack Molloy, CAL - 6-0, 6-2
3. Laurens Verboven, USC def. Paul Barretto, CAL - 6-0, 6-3
4. Riley Smith, USC v. Ben Draper, CAL
5. Jake Sands, USC v. Jacob Brumm, CAL
6. Mor Bulis, USC v. Bjorn Hoffmann, CAL
Order of finish: 2, 3, 5