No. 10 USC Men’s Tennis Hosts Penn On Wednesday At Marks Stadium
No. 10 USC continues its stretch of seven straight home matches with a Wednesday meeting against Pennsylvania. The Trojans (9-3) will be taking on the Quakers for just the second time in program history — with the first meeting having come back in 1976 at the National Indoors in Madison, Wisc. USC won that one 7-2. For a long awaited Round Two, Penn pays a visit to USC's Marks Stadium for a 3 p.m. match on Wednesday (March 7).
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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 March 2), USC stood at No. 10 in the land. Individual preseason rankings were released on Feb. 24, with four Trojans ranked in singles. Junior Stefan Dostanic sticks in the top 10 with a spot at #4 in the nation, followed by a career-best #26 for Peter Makk, along with #40 Lodewijk Weststrate and #122 Bradley Frye on the list. In doubles, USC has Dostanic and Frye also still locked into the top 10 at #10 in the land.
USC was a force to reckon with in last week's crosstown rivalry clash against UCLA, stealing a tight doubles point and then making a strong stand in singles to beat the visiting Bruins 4-0 at Marks Stadium. The Bruins were able to snap up the first win of the day as Pereira/Zahraj toppled USC's #10 Stefan Dostanic and Bradley Frye 6-1, prompting the Trojans to dig deep in doubles to bounce back. Paul Barretto and Peter Makk answered the call first with a 7-5 victory over Lee/Revelli on court two, and then Ryder Jackson and Wojtek Marek secured the early lead for the Trojans with their6=4 win over UCLA's Baird/Hoogmartens. That pinned a 1-0 lead on the board for the Trojans as teams transitioned to singles play. There, USC went up 2-0 when UCLA's Patrick Zahraj retired from his match with #26 Peter Makk on court three. At the top spot, USC's #4 Stefan Dostanic toppled Drew Baird 6-3, 6-4 to make it a 3-0 lead, and three Trojans were looking to close in on the clincher. Sophomore Ryder Jackson hit the finish line first, coming through with a 7-5, 6-4 victory over Karl Lee to tack up the 4-0 win for USC and suspend action on the remaining courts.
MAKK ON THE ATTACK
USC freshman Peter Makk won three singles matches for the Trojans in Seattle last week and secured himself as USC's first winner of a Pac-12 Player of the Week honor this year with his selection on Feb. 22. Makk's work helped the No. 11 Trojans to three wins in four matches, including 4-1 decisions over No. 15 Mississippi and No. 8 Stanford at the ITA National Team Indoor Championship. Makk opened the week with the cinching victory against Portland. His singles match against No. 10 Kentucky in the opening round of ITA Indoors was suspended, but he'd bounce back with straight-set wins in USC's next two matches against the Rebels and the Cardinal. In the rematch with Stanford, Makk avenged his only dual-match loss of the year with a 6-3, 6-3 win over No. 49 Max Basing on court four. Ranked No. 26 in the nation in singles, Makk holds a six-match win streak and boasts the second most singles wins on the team to date with his 16-6 mark.
REVENGE IN SEATTLE
USC avenged an earlier loss to Stanford by turning the tide on the No. 8 Cardinal in Seattle for a 4-1 comeback win in consolation play at the ITA National Team Indoor Championship. In doing so, USC avenged an earlier loss taken to the Cardinal in Palo Alto. To get this one, USC steamrolled its way through singles play, rebounding from losing the doubles point with a string of straight-set singles wins. Lodewijk Weststrate registered the clincher in this one to help USC to an 8-2 overall record with its second win at the ITA event in Seattle. Stanford snagged the doubles point with 6-3 decisions on courts one and three to get the early leg up in this one. USC responded by taking the first sets on five courts in singles. The Trojans would keep their feet on the gas, sparked first by #46 Peter Makk's 6-1, 6-4 victory over Stanford's #46 Max Basing on court four to snarl things up at 1-1. Senior Bradley Frye came through next with a swift 6-1, 6-4 win of his own over #74 Axel Geller at the No. 3 spot. Pulling the Trojans into position was freshman Ryan Colby on court six, where his 6-3, 6-2 win over Tomas Kopczynski made it 3-1 USC. Two Trojans were pressing for the clincher, and it would be Lodewijk Weststrate who hit the finish line first with a 6-3, 6-3 win over #108 Aryan Chaudhary on court five. That gave USC the win and suspended a top-four battle on court one, where USC's #4 Stefan Dostanic was leading Stanford's #1 Arthur Fery 7-5, 5-2 when action came to a halt.
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 26 singles wins while riding an eight-match win streak. Four Trojans now join him with double-digit wins on the singles side, with freshman Peter Makk holding 15 wins, senior Bradley Frye at 13. Junior Ryder Jackson and sophomore Lodewijk Weststrate, meanwhile, now weigh in with 11 each. In doubles, #3 Dostanic/Frye have played the most matches together and boast the most wins with their 12-8 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. •