USC Men Win Inaugural Pac-12 Tournament Title|
April 28, 2012
OJAI, CALIF. - The top-ranked and No. 2 seeded USC men's tennis team laid the foundation for another win streak today in beating top-seeded UCLA 4-2 to claim the title at the inaugural Pac-12 Team Championship. Now 27-1 overall, the Trojans have clinched the conference's automatic berth into the coming 2012 NCAA Tournament, where USC goes in pursuit of a fourth straight national championship. The win today avenges last week's loss to the Bruins in their regular-season finale, while USC's Steve Johnson served up the clinching win that also stands as the senior's 60th consecutive singles victory.
The Trojans secured the doubles point on wins at the No. 1 and No. 3 positions. On court one, USC's #3 Johnson/Quiroz took down UCLA's #44 Brigham/Puget, and then Trojans Gomez/Hanfmann got revenge on UCLA's Giron/Hardie with a clinching victory that avenged a tiebreaker loss to that same Bruin pair last week.
#60 Emilio Gomez would get another dose of revenge in his No. 4 singles rematch with UCLA's #71 Marcos Giros to take USC ahead 3-0 in the match later. #18 Daniel Nguyen was all business once again vs. UCLA's Dennis Novikov on court two for a 6-3, 6-1 win that had USC up 2-0, leading into Gomez turning the tide on Giron. The Bruin had pulled out a brutal three-setter the previous week, but Gomez stayed in control of this one for a solid 6-4, 6-3 win.
UCLA tallied its first point of the day when #73 Clay Thompson managed a 7-6 (5), 6-4 win over USC sophomore #25 Ray Sarmiento on court two, making it 3-1 Trojans. Roberto Quiroz also took a loss in his No. 6 singles match, falling again to UCLA's Dennis Mkrtchian as the Bruins closed in to 3-2. But USC had two Trojans serving for the match at the same time. USC's #2 senior Steve Johnson was the one to get it done first, claiming a three-set win over UCLA's #17 Nick Meister to tally Johnson's 60th consecutive singles win. That clincher left Yannick Hanfmann's No. 5 singles match suspended and closed out the match as a 4-2 Trojan win for a lift on the way to the coming NCAA Tournament. USC awaits the NCAA bracket announcement next week, and then will begin its journey toward defending its three straight national championships.
2012 Pac-12 Team Championship
 USC 4,  UCLA 2
Ojai, Calif. -April 27, 2012
(1) #3 S. Johnson/Quiroz (USC) def. #44 Brigham/Puget (UCLA) - 8-5
(2) #30 Nguyen/Sarmiento (USC) vs. Meister/Novikov (UCLA) - susp.
(3) Gomez/Hanfmann (USC) def. Giron/Hardie (UCLA) - 8-6
USC wins doubles point.
Order of finish: 1, 3
(1) #2 Steve Johnson (USC) def. #17 Nick Meister (UCLA) - 3-6, 6-1, 6-2*
(2) #73 Clay Thompson (UCLA) def. #25 Ray Sarmiento (USC) - 7-6 (5), 6-4
(3) #18 Daniel Nguyen (USC) def. Dennis Novikov (UCLA) - 6-3, 6-1
(4) #60 Emilio Gomez (USC) def. #71 Marcos Giron (UCLA) - 6-4, 6-3
(5) #53 Yannick Hanfmann (USC) vs. #46 Adrien Puget (UCLA) - 3-6, 6-3, 6-5 susp.
(6) Dennis Mkrtchian (UCLA) def. Roberto Quiroz (USC) -- 3-6, 6-4, 6-3
Order of finish: 3, 4, 2, 6, 1*