No. 8 USC Men's Tennis Sticks To Marks Stadium For ITA Kickoff Action
The No. 8 USC men's tennis team is lined up as host of ITA Kickoff Weekend competition for the 14th straight year as the Trojans have an eye on securing a 14th consecutive spot at the ITA National Team Indoor Championships. Once again, the journey begins at USC's own Marks Stadium, where the Trojan host three other teams for the two-day event, running Jan. 29-30. Coming from nearby Malibu is Pepperdine, while Denver and Harvard join in from out-of-state. On Saturday (Jan. 29), the day begins with No. 15 Pepperdine and Denver facing off at 10 a.m., while No. 8 USC and No. 24 Harvard are set to clash at 1 p.m. The losing teams from Saturday are scheduled to square off in the Consolation Match at 10 a.m. on Sunday (Jan. 30), with the Championship Match between Saturday's winners set for 1 p.m. The winner of that match will secure its place at next month's ITA National Team Indoor Championships in Seattle.
ITA KICKOFF WEEKEND | Marks Stadium (Los Angeles, Calif.)
Saturday, Jan. 29
10 a.m. PT — Denver vs. #15 Pepperdine
1 p.m. PT — #8 USC vs. #24 Harvard
Sunday, Jan. 30
10 a.m. PT — Consolation Match
1 p.m. PT — Championship Match
LIVE SCORES & VIDEO:
IN THE RANKINGS
The Trojans opened 2022 ranked No. 9 in the nation — an upgrade from the No. 10 spot it finished up at in 2021. As of the latest set of ITA National Team Rankings (released Jan. 26), USC has bumped up to No. 8 in the nation. Individual preseason rankings were released on Dec. 8, 2021, with five Trojans ranked in singles. A top-10 player for the first time in his career, junior Stefan Dostanic weighs in at #6 in the land. More career bests follow for #35 Peter Makk, #40 Lodewijk Weststrate and #94 Samuel Rubell, while #70 Bradley Frye also stands tall with his preseason singles ranking. In doubles, USC has Dostanic and Frye looming large at #10 in the land, while Dostanic and Rubell stand at #12.
USC snagged three wins in its first stretch of dual-match action, beating UC Davis and Claremont-Mudd-Scripps each by 7-0 scorelines in a doubleheader opening day at Marks Stadium. Two days later, USC notched a 6-1 win over visiting UC Irvine. On day one, seven Trojans scored two straight-set singles wins apiece on the day, which also marked victorious dual-match debuts for four first-year Trojans. Transfer Paul Barretto was perfect on court six today, as was freshman #35 Peter Makk on court four and spring addition Ryan Colby at the No. 5 spot. Freshman Colby also boasted the clincher against UC Davis. Newcomer Wojtek Marek, meanwhile, debuted at the No. 3 spot for a smooth win before stepping up to court two against Claremont-Mudd-Scripps. The freshman scooped up another solid win there to cap off the day for the Trojans. On Sunday, USC whipped up another solid win over the Anteaters. There was no stopping USC's top doubles duo of #10 Stefan Dostanic and Bradley Frye in their first dual-match pairing of the year. They scooped up a 6-1 win on court one, and then Paul Barretto and Peter Makk hauled in the doubles point for USC by matching that scoreline on court three. The transition to singles action saw #6 Dostanic and #35 Makk both hit the gas early, taking 5-0 leads on their respective foes. Makk cruised right along, picking up a 6-0, 6-3 win over Mike Mkrtchian on court four to tally USC's first singles win of the day. Next up was a quick finish from freshman Wojtek Marek on court three, as he dispatched Lawee Sherif 6-4, 6-1. A trio of Trojans hit the finish line within a minute of each other. #70 Frye came through with the clincher, taking the Trojans ahead 4-0 with his 6-2, 6-2 decision over Riccardo Roberto. Freshman Ryan Colby collected the next point on a 6-3, 6-3 decision over Noah Zamora, and then Dostanic wrapped up his battle with Emmanuel Coste 6-3, 6-3 to make it a 6-0 USC advantage. That left a tight one on court six still raging. In a competitive 10-point tiebreaker to decide things, UC Irvine's Ali Amiri edged out USC's Paul Barretto 6-4, 2-6, 1-0 (10-7) to wrap the match as a 6-1 USC victory.
STEF'S SHERWOOD SUCCESS
USC may have had its final day of action at the Sherwood Cup washed out, but Trojan junior Stefan Dostanic still emerged with top honors at the event. After netting two strong singles wins in USC's double day of competition on Sunday (Jan. 16), the No. 6-ranked Dostanic was named Singles Champion. In USC's morning matchups against Stanford players, Dostanic topped the Cardinal's Alexandre Rotsaert 7-6 (3), 6-3. Later that evening, in the Trojans' makeup action against players from Texas A&M, Dostanic made it a winning day for himself in taking down #115 Noah Schachter 6-1, 4-6, 1-0 (10-2). After that first round of Spring competition, Dostanic grips a 20-4 overall record in this 2021-22 campaign.
BY THE NUMBERS
USC's winningest player to date is newcomer Stefan Dostanic, who has churned out 23 singles wins in his junior campaign so far. Just last weekend senior Bradley Frye joined Dostanic with double-digit wins, now with 12 to his name. And on the cusp of joining the double-digit win zone are sophomore Lodewijk Weststrate and freshman Peter Makk with nine each. In doubles, #10 Dostanic/Frye have played the most matches together and boast the most wins with their 9-3 record together to date.
In Brett Masi's second season at the helm of the USC program, the Trojans posted a 23-7 overall record and claimed the 2021 Pac-12 Tournament Championship along the way. No fall competition was held due to the coronavirus pandemic, but action eventually got underway in January 2021. The Trojans were ranked No. 1 in the nation entering 2021 — a nod to the 2020 ITA National Team Indoor Championship the Trojans had won before the pandemic brought competition to a halt that year. After a run to the 2021 NCAA Quarterfinals, where USC fell in a tough 4-3 decision to Texas, the Trojans ended the season ranked No. 10 in the land. Seniors Daniel Cukierman and Riley Smith both earned ITA All-American status for singles and doubles, having made a run to the NCAA Doubles quarterfinals and finishing up ranked No. 6 in the nation. In singles, Cukierman reached the NCAA Singles Round of 16 and wrapped his USC career ranked No. 24 in the nation. Smith, meanwhile, reached the NCAA Singles Round of 32 and ended up ranked No. 53. Sophomore Stefan Dostanic finished up at No. 98 in the final national singles rankings, and was No. 88 in doubles alongside Bradley Frye. •