Men's Tennis Opens 2003 Season On Saturday|
Jan. 21, 2003
This Week -- The defending national champion USC men's tennis team opens the 2003 dual match season this Saturday, Jan. 25. The Trojans host BYU for a 10 a.m. match, then take on Fresno State at 2:30 p.m. Both matches will be played at Marks Tennis Stadium.
USC claimed the program's 16th national title in 2002. The Trojans did lose three seniors (Andrew Park, Ryan Moore and Nick Rainey), who made up the top of last year's lineup, but return NCAA Tournament MVP Prakash Amritraj and all-tournament selections Daniel Langre and Ruben Torres. This season, the three will also be aided by top transfers Johan Berg and Brian Wright.
ITA Ranking Updates -- Released on Jan. 13, the preseason rankings have USC at No. 7 and sophomore John Berg ranked 75th in singles.
USC vs. BYU -- The Trojans are 27-1 against BYU and defeated them last season, 5-2 at home.
USC vs. Fresno State -- USC is 13-4 against Fresno State. Last season, the Trojans defeated the Bulldogs, 5-2, in Los Angeles. Though the series between these two teams began in 1969, three of the Trojans four losses have come over the last seven years.
Langre, Amritraj Capture Sherwood Cup Doubles -- Daniel Langre and Prakash Amritraj upset No. 6-ranked Ryan Redondo and Oliver Maiberger of San Diego State, 8-4, to capture the Sherwood Collegiate Cup doubles title on Jan. 20. The win is the Trojans' first tournament championship of the 2002-03 season. En route to the championship, Langre and Amritraj also upset 39th-ranked Tobias Clemens and Lassi Ketola of UCLA in the semifinals, 8-5. The unranked pair was the only USC duo to advance past the first round of doubles play.
Langre and Amritraj are entering their second year of doubles play. Last season, the two helped USC capture the NCAA Championship by winning key matches against Tennessee and Georgia in the semifinals and finals. Both were named to the NCAA All-Tournament team.
Get The Latest Info -- Updated team stats can always be found by logging on to www.usctrojans.com. They are located on the men's tennis page under "Season Statistics."
Head Coach Peter Smith Enters First Season -- Peter Smith, who guided the Pepperdine men's tennis team to conference titles and NCAA tournament appearances in each of his five years there, begins his first year at the helm of the USC men's tennis program. Smith replaced Dick Leach, who retired in May after guiding the Trojans to four NCAA championships in his 23 years at USC. Smith's collegiate coaching career includes five years (1998-2002) at Pepperdine, six years at Fresno State (1992-1997) and four years at Long Beach State (1988-1991). He boasts a 270-235 (.667) overall record and has led his teams to nine NCAA appearances and seven top 20 finishes. Last season he earned his sixth conference Coach of the Year honor (WCC) and was named the ITA Region VIII Coach of the Year.