USC Men’s Tennis Earns No. 12 Seed Into 2021 NCAA Action
This time last year, there was no collegiate tennis being played. The coronavirus pandemic had brought competition to a halt in mid-March, shortly after the USC men's tennis team had won the 2020 ITA National Team Indoor Championship and staked its claim as the No. 1 team in the land. Now, postseason play is back on the docket, and the Trojans are very much in the mix once again. With its 31st 20-win season already inked, USC has picked up a No. 12 seed into the 2021 NCAA Tournament. In their 14th consecutive NCAA appearance, the Trojans will again open up as hosts of the NCAA First and Second Round competition.
USC secured its place in the 2021 NCAA Tournament as an automatic qualifier after its dominating run to the Pac-12 Tournament Championship. The title was the second straight conference crown and fifth overall for the Trojans and improved their record to 20-6 overall. In the last NCAA tourney, USC was a No. 8 seed and reached the 2019 NCAA Round of 16. This time, USC head coach Brett Masi is looking to make a deeper run in his first NCAA appearance as head coach of the Trojans, having taken over the program in May 2019.
Masi and his Trojans are all set to open up their 2021 NCAA campaign from home turf, hosting Grand Canyon, Pepperdine and UC Santa Barbara for first- and second-round competition May 7-8 at Marks Stadium. On Friday (May 7), Pepperdine and UC Santa Barbara will start things off at 10 a.m. And at 1 p.m., USC will take on Grand Canyon. Winning teams will square off in the NCAA Second Round at 1 p.m. on Saturday (May 8) to fight for a ticket to Orlando, Fla., where the remaining rounds of NCAA competition will take place May 17-22. So, too, will NCAA Individual Championships be held at that USTA National Campus in Orlando, with singles and doubles competition running May 23-28. Those NCAA singles and doubles selections will be announced tomorrow (May 4) on NCAA.com.
The USC men lead the nation with 21 NCAA Team Championships won. The Trojans last won it all in 2014, and made a run of four straight titles from 2009-2012. USC head coach Masi was an assistant coach for the Trojans in that 2009 championship run before departing for a head coaching opportunity, so he is particularly eager to lead his Trojans in this NCAA opportunity. In fact, USC's entire coaching staff knows what it takes to win it all. Associate head coach Kris Kwinta was on staff for USC's 2014 title and also won the 2005 NCAA championship as a player at UCLA. And volunteer assistant coach Ray Sarmiento was a member of USC's 2011, 2012 and 2014 NCAA Championship squads.
Ranked No. 12 in the nation in the latest poll, 12th-seeded USC has a roster replete with talent primed for postseason success. With momentum gained from the Pac-12 Championship, USC also boasts four ranked singles players as well as a top-10 doubles duo.
All matches at this week's NCAA First and Second Rounds at USC's Marks Stadium will have live scoring and live video available at: https://usctrojans.com/sports/2020/2/19/usc-trojans-m-tennis-live-scoreboard-video-david-marks-stadium.aspx