USC Men’s Tennis Sends Three Trojans Into Their First NCAA Individual Action
With NCAA team competition having come to a close, the Trojans turn to NCAA Individual action this week in Champaign, Ill., with three Trojans lined up to make their NCAA singles and doubles debuts. USC has Stefan Dostanic and Peter Makk locked in for the NCAA Singles draw, while Dostanic and Bradley Frye are in the mix for NCAA Doubles. As singles competition unfurls on Monday (May 23), No. 7 seed Stefan Dostanic has a 2 p.m. CT opener against Mississippi State's Florian Broska. At 7 p.m. CT, Makk squares off against Virginia's Inaka Montes de la Torre for Round of 64 action. And on Tuesday (May 24), USC's No. 5-8 seeded Dostanic/Frye take on Wake Forest's #34 Banthia/Schnaitter to start off doubles Round of 32 competition.
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 May 4), USC stands at No. 13 in the land. Individual rankings also were released on May 4, with four Trojans currently ranked in singles. Junior Stefan Dostanic is standing tall at #7 in the nation. He is joined by #56 Peter Makk, #105 Bradley Frye and #117 Lodewijk Weststrate on the list. In doubles, USC has Dostanic and Frye now standing at #7 in the land, while Makk and Weststrate are on the map at #76.
NCAA INDIVIDUAL ACTION
USC has a fresh set of faces heading into their first NCAA Individual competition, with two Trojans locked in for singles play and one USC doubles duo in that draw. Junior Stefan Dostanic and freshman Peter Makk have secured their first spots in the 64-player NCAA Singles draw, while Dostanic and senior Bradley Frye will make their NCAA doubles debut together. As the No. 7 seed in the NCAA Singles draw, Dostanic has already guaranteed himself his first round of ITA All-America honors. He'll double down on that alongside Frye as a No. 5-8 seeded pair in NCAA Doubles, locking up All-America status there, too. Dostanic was the automatic qualifier in singles and in doubles with Frye as the top representatives out of the Pac-12. Dostanic currently carries a 17-match singles win streak and boasts a 35-4 overall singles record, marking the most single-season wins by a Trojan since 2012-13. This year, he rose to a career-best singles ranking of No. 2 in the nation, and he currently sits at No. 7 in the land. Makk, meanwhile, grips a nice win streak of his own. He's won nine straight singles matches as the freshman, and at 25-11 overall in singles, he boasts the second most wins by a Trojan this season. USC's top doubles duo — Dostanic and Frye — grip a 24-9 overall record to date. They've ranked as high as No. 3 in the nation this year and are currently slotted at No. 7. Both will be making their first trips into NCAA Individual action with this year's No. 5-8 seeding into the tourney.
BY THE NUMBERS
USC's winningest player to date continues to be junior Stefan Dostanic, who has churned out 37 singles wins, followed by freshman Peter Makk and holding 25 wins as both Trojans turn to their first appearances in the NCAA Singles draw. In doubles, Dostanic and Bradley Frye have played the most matches together and boast the most wins with their 24-9 record together as that Trojan duo also takes its place in its first NCAA Doubles run this week.
Under the direction of head coach Brett Masi for the third season, USC made its 15th consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament and its 43rd overall appearance. After a 15th straight appearance in the NCAA Round of 16, USC wrapped 2022 with a 23-6 overall record. With five NCAA crowns claimed since 2009, USC leads the nation with 21 national championships all-time, and holds a 110-38 overall record in the NCAA Tournament. During USC's current 15-year run of NCAA appearances, USC has been seeded No. 1 (2012 & 2014), No. 2 (2011), No. 4 (2013 & 2017), No. 5 (2010), No. 7 (2015), No. 8 (2009 & 2019), No. 10 (2016 & 2018), No. 12 (2007 & 2021) and No. 13 (2022) — with NCAA titles captured in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2014.
TROJANS TO DATE
USC secured its place in the 2022 NCAA Tournament as an automatic qualifier after its dominating run to the Pac-12 Tournament Championship. That title was the third consecutive conference crown and sixth overall for the Trojans, securing the 32nd 20-win season all-time by the Trojans. In the last NCAA tourney, USC was a No. 12 seed and reached the 2021 NCAA Quarterfinals. Ranked No. 13 in the nation in the latest poll, 13th-seeded USC has a roster balanced by veteran and up-and-coming young talent. With momentum gained from the Pac-12 Championship, USC also boasts four ranked singles players as well as two ranked doubles pairs. That includes top-10 spots for #7 Stefan Dostanic in singles and #7 Dostanic and Bradley Frye in doubles.
USC cranked up the pressure on No. 4 Ohio State in a battle for a ticket to the NCAA Quarterfinals, but the host Buckeyes were able to capture a couple three-set comebacks in singles to claim a 4-2 win over the Trojans in Columbus, Ohio. Upended in doubles for the first time in eight matches, USC was on task to fight back in singles. The Trojans claimed first sets on four courts, and got victories from Lodewijk Weststrate and Bradley Frye, but the Buckeyes got the key wins to get the Round of 16 victory in today's Super Regional. USC wraps the season with a 23-6 overall record after having made its 15th consecutive trip to at least the NCAA Round of 16. USC's top guns #7 Stefan Dostanic and Bradley Frye came out of the gates hot in doubles, maneuvering ahead of #2 Cash/Vocel 5-0 before the Buckeyes pushed back. That bought Ohio State the time to get things going on courts two and three, picking up 6-1 wins over Trojan pairs to pocket a 1-0 lead for the hosts and bring up singles play. The Trojans captured first sets on four courts in singles, although the Buckeyes battled back to take back second sets on three of those. Ohio State's Dustin Boulais topped USC's Ryder Jackson 6-4, 6-1 on court six to get a 2-0 lead on the board for the hosts. Coming through at the opposite end of the venue was USC's #121 Lodewijk Weststrate, who dominated Buckeye James Trotter for a 6-0, 6-4 Trojan victory to get one back at 2-1. In a rare event on court one, USC's #7 Stefan Dostanic was ousted for the first time this year in dual-match play. His 19-match win streak came to a close when Ohio State's #9 Cannon Kingsley battled back for a 3-6, 6-3, 6-2 effort that got the Buckeyes a 3-1 advantage with three-setters raging on three other courts. Coming through with the match extender was #105 Bradley Frye, who made his power comeback on court two to topple #13 Matej Vocel 5-7, 6-4, 6-2 and get the Trojan back within one, down 3-2. That left the match on the shoulders of two USC freshmen on courts three and four. Both third sets tightened up down the stretch, with the Buckeyes' #122 Jake Van Emburgh getting a late break of USC's Ryan Colby on court four to get in position to serve out the match. That would stand as the clincher, as Van Emburgh's 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 comeback tallying the fourth point of the day for host to ink a 4-2 win in the books for Ohio State. That suspended a tense battle on court three between USC freshmen Wojtek Marek and Ohio State's #19 JJ Tracy.
USC worked its way to its third straight Pac-12 Tournament title after a dominant showing in Ojai, dropping only one singles match during the run to the Trojans' sixth overall conference crown. The No. 2 seed in the tourney, USC cruised past No. 7 seeded Cal 4-0 in the quarterfinals with the clincher coming from Samuel Rubell to get the Trojans to the semifinals for the 10th consecutive time. Against No. 3 seed Stanford in the semis, USC snagged another speedy doubles point and then pressed on to claim three straight-set singes victories on wins from Bradley Frye, Lodewijk Weststrate, and Ryan Colby. In the title match for the ninth time, USC flexed their doubles muscles early against an upset-minded No. 6 seeded Washington, whipping up a 1-0 lead with a couple swift wins. In singles, Ryan Colby left no doubt in his court four match, as the freshman hit the gas for a 6-3, 6-1 win that tugged the Trojans ahead 2-0. The Huskies answered back with a win on court six, but USC had another straight-set win on the agenda. At the No. 3 spot, #56 Peter Makk remained in victory mode as he notched a 6-1, 7-6 (4) win to get it to 3-1 USC. The other three matches, meanwhile, were stretched into three sets, with Washington fighting back to force a third on court five, while Trojans Stefan Dostanic and Bradley Frye had shifted their momentum to bring up third sets on their courts. It would be Frye who hit the finish line first, having shrugged off a tiebreak loss in the first set before churning out solid performances in the next two. He brought the hammer down from the service line to come through with a 6-7 (3), 6-3, 6-3 comeback clincher from court two to haul in another trophy for his Trojans.
USC men's tennis is enjoying a bumper crop of Pac-12 awards with a near-sweep of the top honors. For the second straight season, USC boasts the Pac-12 Singles Player of the Year and the Pac-12 Doubles Team of the Year, although there are new faces in those spots. Junior Stefan Dostanic is the Singles Player of the Year as well as being alongside Bradley Frye for Doubles Team of the Year accolades. And weighing in with his first pick as Pac-12 Coach of the Year is Brett Masi'.
BRETT MASI: COACH OF THE YEAR
Head coach Brett Masi's selection as Pac-12 Coach of the Year is his first and the 12th such honor by a USC head coach in program history. Overall, he is the fourth Trojan to win the award. Under Masi's direction this season — the first played under "normal" conditions since Masi started in 2019 — the Trojans claimed their third consecutive Pac-12 Tournament title and laid claim to the 32rd 20-win season in program history.
STEFAN DOSTANIC: SINGLES & DOUBLES SWEEP
Junior Stefan Dostanic's pick as the Pac-12 Singles Player of the Year is the 12th for a Trojan all-time. Also standing out as half of this year's Pac-12 Doubles Team of the Year, he is the fifth Trojan to sweep those two awards in a season. Dostanic's standout junior campaign has seen him rise as high as No. 2 in the nation in singles — he's currently No. 7 — and gather up 37 singles wins to date to mark the most by a Trojan in a single season since 2012-13. He also has a spot on the 2022 All-Pac-12 First Team, an upgrade from last year's Honorable Mention. As the recently-revealed No. 7 seed in the coming NCAA Singles draw and a No. 5-8 seed with Frye in the NCAA Doubles competition, Dostanic has already also secured his first ITA All-America honors. In doubles, Dostanic and Bradley Frye carry a 24-9 overall record into NCAA doubles play. They've ranked as high as No. 3 in the nation this year and are currently slotted at No. 7.
BRADLEY FRYE: TOP DOUBLES & SECOND TEAM
Dostanic's partner in crime, senior Bradley Frye, has paired his Pac-12 Doubles Team of the Year honor — the seventh time USC has claimed that award — with a place on the All-Pac-12 Second Team. It's an upgrade for him as well, following 2021 Honorable Mention. And Frye, in joining Dostanic in the NCAA Doubles draw for the first time, also has laid claim to ITA All-America status. In singles, Frye has clinched six dual matches, including the recent Pac-12 Tournament title. He's currently ranked No. 105 in the nation in singles.
YOUNG GUNS: HONORABLE MENTION
USC's five-pack earning All-Pac-12 Honorable Mention are all first-time recipients aside from sophomore Lodewijk Weststrate, who has repeat honors the books now. He's joined on this year's list by freshmen Ryan Colby and Peter Makk, along with sophomore newcomer Samuel Rubell and junior Ryder Jackson. All five have been instrumental in the USC lineup, which surrendered just one individual match during the Trojans' run to the 2022 Pac-12 Tournament Championship. Four of the five have collected double-digit singles wins to date, led by NCAA singles-bound Makk's 23 victories. The group as a whole has also combined forces to clinch 15 of USC's 21 dual-match wins to date. Freshman Colby has seven of those clinchers. In the latest ITA national rankings, these honorable mention selections include No. 56 Makk and No. 121 Weststrate in singles, while those two have combined for a No. 76 ranking together in doubles.
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. •