No. 1 USC Falls 4-2 In Pac-12 Championship Match
April 26, 2014
OJAI, CALIF. - The No. 1 USC men's tennis team was upended in the Pac-12 Tournament title match today, taking a 4-2 loss to No. 5 rival UCLA in the championship in Ojai, Calif. That puts the top-ranked Trojans, who carried a 17-match win streak into the final, with a 26-3 overall record on the way into the coming NCAA Tournament.
USC had fought the Bruins a week prior, with the Trojans prevailing in a 4-2 decision on home turf to finish off a perfect Pac-12 regular season. In the ensuing Pac-12 Tournament, the Trojans and Bruins would meet for the third straight time in the title match. USC claimed the inaugural crown in the first edition of the team format of the Pac-12 men's tournament, and UCLA has now claimed the last two. Today's 4-2 UCLA win came with the Bruins again winning the doubles point. USC would tally singles victories at the top of the lineup care of Yannick Hanfmann and Ray Sarmiento, but the Bruins would gather in wins on the bottom three courts to haul in victory over the top-seeded Trojans.
UCLA snagged the doubles point with another win on court two, as Puget and Sell combined for an 8-3 win over USC's Crystal/Quiroz. At the No. 3 spot, Trojans do Vroome/ Johnson rallied for an 8-3 win to pull USC even, only to have UCLA's #13 Giron/McDonald manage an 8-5 upset of top-ranked Hanfmann/Sarmiento on court one to decide things and give UCLA the 1-0 advantage.
The Trojans fired right back with top guns Yannick Hanfmann and Ray Sarmiento each dishing out powerful upsets on the top two courts. #13 Hanfmann delivered a smooth 6-4, 6-2 win over UCLA's #3 Marcos Giron to pull USC even at 1-1, and then USC's #10 Ray Sarmiento captured a decisive 6-2, 6-4 win over top-ranked Clay Thompson at the No. 2 spot to take the Trojans to a 2-1 lead. UCLA would answer with some firepower at the bottom of the lineup, however. #93 Gage Brymer avenged last week's loss to USC's #85 Max de Vroome with a 6-2, 6-4 decision that equalized things once again. At the No. 6 spot, Adrien Puget had entered the lineup for the first time against the Trojans, snagging a 6-4, 6-1 win over USC's #119 Michael Grant to get UCLA a 3-2 advantage. The decider would come on court five, where UCLA's #100 Karue Sell also managed some revenge from last week with a 6-3, 7-6 (4) decision over USC's Eric Johnson to wrap the match as a 4-2 UCLA victory, suspending play on court three where Mackenzie McDonald and Roberto Quiroz had traded sets and were even in the third.
USC now awaits the seeding selections for the coming NCAA Tournament. The selection show is set for 2 p.m. PT on Tuesday (April 29) on ncaa.com.
2014 Pac-12 Championships - Ojai, Calif