No. 1 USC Falls To No. 2 Oklahoma In ITA National Indoor Championship|
Feb. 16, 2015
CHICAGO, ILL. -- The top-ranked USC men's tennis team was upended for the first time this year by a tough No. 2 Oklahoma squad in today's ITA National Team Indoor Championship. The Trojans fought through to a fourth consecutive appearance in the title match at the event, earning a rematch against the Sooners, whom USC had beaten last year in the 2014 NCAA Championship. This time, Oklahoma was able to pull off the win, notching a 4-2 victory over USC to put the Trojans at 9-1 overall.
The Trojans made the first move in capturing the first win of the day on Max de Vroome and Eric Johnson's 6-1 victory on court two in doubles. The Sooners would fire right back, though, capturing two tough wins to pocket the first point of the match. Oklahoma's Bragusi/Ghilea edged out USC's Nick Crystal and Connor Farren on court three with a 7-5 win, and then a battle of the titans on court one had the double point in the balance. Oklahoma's #5 Alvarez/Webb tangled with USC's top-ranked Yannick Hanfmann and Roberto Quiroz in a match that pushed through to a tiebreaker. There, the Sooners managed the clincher with a 7-6 (4) decision that had Oklahoma on top 1-0.
Oklahoma would jump ahead 2-0 on #31 Dane Webb's 6-0, 6-4 win over USC's #20 Jonny Wang on court three before USC got on the board with the reliable Eric Johnson coming through again on court four. Johnson kept his win streak alive and well with a 6-4, 6-1 win over Spencer Papa to cut Oklahoma's lead down to 2-1. But the Sooners struck back again, netting another point on #11 Axel Alvarez' 7-6 (3), 6-2 win over USC's #24 Roberto Quiroz on court two. USC's #49 Nick Crystal breathed life into the Trojans' campaign when he delivered a 3-6, 6-0, 6-4 comeback victory over Jose Salazar from the No. 6 spot, making it 3-2. Three-setters were raging on courts one and five as well, but the Sooners were able to wrap things up on #63 Alex Ghilea's 6-3, 4-6, 6-3 clinching victory over USC's Max de Vroome. The Trojan had provided the clinching three-set win last year at the NCAA Championship, but today the luck was on the side of the Sooners. The win put an end to the match and USC's undefeated start to the season, while also suspending play on court one, where USC's #7 Yannick Hanfmann was in a third set against #26 Andrew Harris.
After the close of the event, USC landed several Trojans on the ITA All-Tournament Team for their powerful efforts in Chicago. In singles, Yannick Hanfmann was named to the No. 1 spot, Eric Johnson picked up the No. 4 singles spot, and Nick Crystal earned his place at No. 6. In doubles, Max de Vroome and Eric Johnson were tabbed on the All-Tourney Team at No. 2 doubles.
The Trojans now return home to set up for a couple matches coming up in a couple weeks. USC will next host Stanford at 1:30 p.m. on Feb. 27, and then face Tulsa at 1 p.m. on Feb. 28 at Marks Stadium.
ITA NATIONAL TEAM INDOOR CHAMPIONSHIPS (Chicago, Ill.)