No. 11 USC Men's Tennis Takes On Portland In Seattle On Tuesday
The No. 11 USC men's tennis team is on its way to Seattle this week. The Trojans (5-1) are first lined up for a Tuesday (Feb. 15) clash against Portland (0-3) at 4 p.m., with that match taking place at the Tennis Center at Sand Point. From there, USC will turn its attention to the ITA National Team Indoor Championship, hosted by Washington at Nordstrom Tennis Center from Feb. 18-21. The draw for the event has not yet been released.
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 Feb. 9), USC moved from No. 8 in the nation to No. 11. Individual preseason rankings also were released on Feb. 9, with three Trojans ranked in singles. Junior Stefan Dostanic hasa upgraded his top-10 ranking to stand at #4 in the nation this week, followed by #46 Peter Makk and #59 Lodewijk Weststrate. In doubles, USC has Dostanic and Frye looming larger than ever at #3 in the land, while Dostanic and Samuel Rubell sit at #23.
USC's last competition saw the Trojans come up with a road split, falling 4-1 at Stanford and beating Cal 4-2 in nonconference clashes. Against the Cardinal, USC captured the doubles point with victories on courts one and three, with #10 Trojans Stefan Dostanic and Bradley Frye posting a 6-3 win at the top spot over Stanford's #8 Fery/Rotsaert for the first boost of the day. Coming through with the point-clincher was Ryan Colby and Peter Makk with a 6-3 win from the No. 3 slot over Sah/Sridhar, and USC was on to singles play with a 1-0 lead on the board. Stanford would steal the momentum next, however, notching four straight-set singles wins to storm ahead and take the victory. Axel Geller upended USC's #70 Bradley Frye on court three to pull things even at 1-1, and then Aryan Chaudhary topped #40 Lodewijk Weststrate at the No. 5 spot to take the lead for the Cardinal. On court four, Max Basing dealt #35 Peter Makk his first dual-match defeat to get Stanford ahead 3-1. That left two three-setters going at the top spots and a tight one on court six, where Sanjeet Sridhar edged out Ryan Colby 7-5, 7-5 to secure the Stanford win and postpone action on courts one and two. The following day in Berkeley, USC lost the doubles point for the first time this season, but quickly regrouped and notched a string of straight-set singles wins to move into winning position. Cal scooped up the doubles point with a couple 6-2 scores at the top spots. USC's Paul Barretto and Ryder Jackson stumbled on court two to Cal's Hill/Magnaudet. And on court one, USC's #10 Stefan Dostanic and Bradley Frye took their first dual-match loss of the year with a 6-2 defeat at the hands of the Bears' #15 Kikuchi/Overbeck. USC would regroup in singles, storming into the lead after freshman Ryan Colby provided a spark with the equalizer from court six. Colby took down Cal's Lucas Magnaudet 6-3, 6-2 to make it 1-1, and then fellow freshman #35 Peter Makk nudged USC into the lead with a smooth 6-3, 6-0 victory over Carl Emil Overbeck at the No. 4 spot. Next up was another Trojan newcomer coming through with a W, as Wojtek Marek built a 3-1 lead for his Trojans on a 6-2, 6-1 win over Phillip Hjorth on court two. That left a trio of tight battles going strong, and Cal captured the first of those with Sean Hill topped USC's #70 Bradley Frye 7-6 (4), 7-5 on court three. With a tense 3-2 Trojan lead on the board, USC saw sophomore #40 Lodewijk Weststrate clean things up with his 6-4, 2-6, 6-2 clincher on court five over Cal's Derrick Chen. That secure the 4-2 win for the Trojans and suspended action on court one with a three-set battle raging between USC's #6 Dostanic and Cal's Yuta Kikuchi.
ANOTHER ITA ADVENTURE AHEAD
USC whipped up another solid win at Marks Stadium, defeating No. 24 Harvard in the championship bout of the ITA Kickoff Weekend last month. USC will now make its 14th straight trip to the ITA National Team Indoor Championships, which will be held later this week in Seattle. On ITA Kickoff Weekend, USC's top guns in doubles — #10 Stefan Dostanic and Bradley Frye — lived up to their billing in taking down Harvard's #11 Shi/Milavsky on court one with a 6-3 decision. Ryder Jackson and Wojtek Marek hauled in the doubles point for USC with a 6-4 win on court two. The Trojans promptly claimed first sets on five courts in singles. USC freshman Ryan Colby had a laser focus on a big win in his first match against the Crimson, sizzling his way to a 6-3, 6-4 win over Ronan Jachuck on court five to put the Trojans up 2-0. At the No. 6 slot, Ryder Jackson delivered a smooth 6-2, 6-2 victory over Steven Sun to extend the lead. With all eyes on the clincher, #35 Peter Makk stepped up, shrugging off his second set loss to #86 Daniel Milavsy to pin up a 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 decision that sealed the deal on USC's win over the Crimson with a 4-0 score on the board. That suspended matches on courts one, two and three, where #6 Stefan Dostanic, #70 Bradley Frye and Wojtek Marek were in tight third sets with their respective Harvard foes.
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. Three Trojans now join him with double-digit wins on the singles side, with senior Bradley Frye holding 12 to his name. Freshman Peter Makk is next with 11, and sophomore Lodewijk Weststrate now weighs in with 10. In doubles, #3 Dostanic/Frye have played the most matches together and boast the most wins with their 11-3 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. •