Men's Tennis
    USC Tennis Packs The Rankings To Start 2012
    Top-ranked for 2012, the USC men are looking for a fourth straight NCAA trophy.
    Top-ranked for 2012, the USC men are looking for a fourth straight NCAA trophy.

    Jan. 4, 2012

    The USC men's and women's tennis teams have a combined nine players shining in the first set of singles rankings for 2012, released Jan. 4. The ITA national rankings have the USC men slotted at No. 1 as the Trojans set their gaze on a push to a fourth straight NCAA Championships. The USC women, meanwhile, have upped their 2011 final finish to take a spot at No. 16 in the land as the Women of Troy open up their spring 2012 campaign. The singles scene is packed with five USC men in the top-125, and four USC women are loaded into the top-100. The highest of them all, however, is USC's women's doubles duo of Kaitlyn Christian and Sabrina Santamaria, who rank No. 3 in the nation after reigning supreme in the fall as the ITA National Indoor Doubles Champions.

    Christian and Santamaria also have a home in the ITA women's singles rankings, along with two other Women of Troy. Freshmen Santamaria and Zoë Scandalis present a new one-two punch for the Trojans, ranked No. 18 and No. 19, respectively, on the singles list. Both had strong fall seasons in their first USC competition, clashing in the ITA Southwest Regional Singles title match, with Santamaria getting the edge over her teammate in the final. Junior Danielle Lao -- a mainstay in the rankings since coming to Troy -- stands at No. 42 to open 2012. And Christian, now a sophomore, sits at No. 99 to round out a solid core of Women of Troy in the nation's top-100 for 2012. As a whole, USC's strong combination of youth and experience has the Trojans up to No. 16 in the team rankings to open the year.

    The USC men enter 2012 propelled by three straight NCAA Championships and a powerful set of returners to go with new young guns. Defending NCAA Singles champion Steve Johnson is absent from the opening ITA rankings list because the USC senior was inactive in collegiate action during the fall, opting instead to play as an amateur on the pro circuit. Johnson will rejoin the Trojan roster for 2012, combining forces with five teammates slotted in the opening 2012 ITA singles rankings. ITA Southwest Regional Singles Champion Ray Sarmiento leads the pack with a No. 12 ranking in the nation as he settles into his sophomore season with the Trojans. Senior Daniel Nguyen is next in line at No. 16. The other three spots are filled by more Trojan youth, with freshman Yannick Hanfmann standing tall at No. 33 and sophomore Emilio Gomez at No. 48. Sophomore Michael Grant rounds out the pack at No. 124.

     

     

    Both USC tennis teams open up their 2012 seasons with individual action next week. The first dual matches of the year come the following week, however. The Women of Troy open up on Jan. 20 against UC Irvine at 1:30 p.m. at Marks Stadium, and the USC men have a double-header set for Jan. 21, hosting LMU at 11 a.m. and UC Santa Barbara at 2:30 p.m.

    TROJANS IN 2012 ITA RANKINGS (Jan. 3)

    USC Men -- #1
    Singles
    #12 Ray Sarmiento
    #16 Daniel Nguyen
    #33 Yannick Hanfmann
    #48 Emilio Gomez
    #124 Michael Grant

    USC Women -- #16
    Singles
    #18 Sabrina Santamaria
    #19 Zoë Scandalis
    #42 Danielle Lao
    #99 Kaitlyn Christian
    Doubles
    #3 Kaitlyn Christian / Sabrina Santamaria