No. 1 USC Men Cruise Into Eighth Straight NCAA Quarterfinal Appearance
May 16, 2014
ATHENS, GA. -- The top-seeded USC men's tennis team chalked up a 5-0 win to kick off its time in Athens, Ga., topping No. 16 seed Columbia this morning in the NCAA Round of 16. After whipping up the doubles point, the Trojans charged on in singles, winning all but one first set and collecting a string of straight-set victories with the clincher coming from the racket of Eric Johnson on court five. The decisive win puts USC through to the NCAA Quarterfinals for the eighth straight year. Now 29-3 overall, the Trojans will face No. 9 seed Texas at 12 p.m. ET on Sunday (May 18) in the Quarterfinals at Dan Magill Tennis Complex.
The Trojans wrapped up the doubles point by creating some room on the Lions. Doubles action opened with Columbia putting forth an inspired effort in the early-morning start, making things tight for the first stretch. On court one, USC's top-ranked duo of Yannick Hanfmann and Ray Sarmiento grabbed an early break and stayed in control to pocket the first win of the day on an 8-4 decision over #12 Narayana/Schnur. On court two, USC's Connor Farren and Roberto Quiroz were digging out of a 5-1 hole to extend their time on court against Lin/Vermeer. Meanwhile, USC's Max de Vroome and Eric Johnson were on task on court three. The pair scored a break for some padding and held strong down the stretch to finish off an 8-6 win over Ignat/Pham and pocket a 1-0 lead for the Trojans.
Singles play unfolded quickly, with senior Michael Grant issuing the rallying cry for the Trojan cause with a dominating performance on court six. Grant won 10 straight games against Columbia's Mike Vermeer, cleaning house with a 6-0, 6-1 win that pumped USC to a fast 2-0 advantage. His fellow Trojans had grabbed first set wins on all but one court, as USC made strides toward the finish line. At the No. 3 spot, #42 Roberto Quiroz put USC in position for the win with a smooth 6-2, 6-1 win by the junior lefty over Dragos Ignat.
That win from Quiroz -- his 19th consecutive victory -- put the clincher up for grabs, with Trojans in strong positions on the remaining courts. Max de Vroome was forcing the issue on court four after dropping his first set, while Yannick Hanfmann, Ray Sarmiento and Eric Johnson looked to be taking care of business on their respective courts. In the end, the Trojans delivered a quick one-two punch to finish off the Lions. It was Johnson who came through with the clincher, wrapping his No. 5 match on a 6-4, 6-4 final over Bert Vancura just a flash before Sarmiento capped his match on court two. Sarmiento's 6-3, 6-2 win over Max Schnur topped off the match as a 5-0 Trojan victory.
2014 NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS (Athens, Ga.)
ROUND OF 16