No. 2 USC Men Stumble At No. 4 UCLA
Feb. 25, 2014
WESTWOOD, CALIF. -- The No. 2 USC men's tennis team took the first point of today's match against crosstown rival UCLA, but it was the No. 4 Bruins who gathered in the wins to tack up a 5-2 victory over the visiting Trojans. UCLA evened the season series at one apiece in following up USC's 4-3 win in the semifinals of the ITA National Team Indoor Championships just nine days ago with today's decision in Westwood. USC goes to 9-2 overall with the loss.
The Trojans were up to the task in doubles today in snagging the first point of the day with some strong doubles play. Court three had USC's Max de Vroome and Eric Johnson in gear for an 8-3 win over UCLA's Brymer/Sell, prompting USC's #13 Yannick Hanfmann and Ray Sarmiento to dig in and take the Trojans ahead 1-0 on their 8-6 victory over UCLA's #25 Giron/McDonald. That suspended action at the No. 2 spot with a tight one going between USC's Connor Farren and Roberto Quiroz and the Bruins' Di Giulio/Thompson.
The Bruins got right down to business in singles play, however. UCLA grabbed first-set wins down the line and kept its foot on the gas in snagging four straight-set wins in a row to charge back to steal away the win. High seeds prevailed across the board, as UCLA's #5 Marcos Giron held off USC's #10 Yannick Hanfmann on court one to even the score first. #98 Karue Sell got UCLA ahead 2-1 with his win over unranked Trojan Max de Vroome, and #35 Mackenzie McDonald grabbed some more Bruin momentum with his victory over #80 Roberto Quiroz on court three next. The clincher would come on court four, where UCLA's #74 Gage Brymer fended off unranked Connor Farren to seal victory for the Bruins. Down 4-1 in the match and with third sets raging on the remaining two courts, the Trojans got a singles win on the board when Eric Johnson completed a successful comeback effort on a 1-6, 6-3, 6-4 win over UCLA's Joseph Di Giulio at the No. 6 spot. That left a top-10 battle between UCLA's #1 Clay Thompson and USC's #6 Ray Sarmiento going strong on court two, where Thompson got up a break and stayed strong to post a 6-1, 6-7 (1), 6-2 victory over Sarmiento to wrap the day as a 5-2 UCLA win.
The Trojans now turn to take a road trip to San Diego, facing the Toreros in a 1:30 p.m. match on Thursday (Feb. 27) before heading to La Jolla for action at the Pacific Coast Doubles Championships.
#4 UCLA 5, #2 USC 2