Men's Tennis
    No. 6 USC Sets Up For Four Opponents in Four Days
    Sophomore Gary Sacks and the rest of the Trojans open season this week.
    Sophomore Gary Sacks and the rest of the Trojans open season this week.

    Jan. 23, 2008

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    THIS WEEK: USC kicks off the 2008 dual match season in the same place it started last year's 11-match win streak -- the home courts of Marks Stadium. The Trojans have a double-header lined up for Saturday (Jan. 26) with #75 Santa Clara (1-1) coming in for a 10 a.m. clash followed by a visit from #75 San Diego (0-0) at 2 p.m. Two more home matches will follow early next week, as the Trojans host UC Irvine (0-0) at 1:30 p.m. on Monday (Jan. 28) and host #50 San Diego State (1-0) at 1:30 p.m. on Tuesday (Jan. 29) -- all at Marks Stadium.

    ITA RANKING UPDATES: USC opens the 2008 season as the ITA's preseason No. 6 team, as of rankings released Jan. 8. Preseason individual rankings have sophomores Robert Farah ranked at #9 and Gary Sacks at #43. Farah/Van't Hof stand high in the ITA doubles rankings, coming in at #2. Santa Clara and San Diego are both tied at #75 in the preseason rankings, and San Diego State ranks #50. UC Irvine is unranked. Opposing ranked players for the coming dual matches are: #29 Thomas Liversage (USD) and #63 Dean Jackson (USD)

    USC VS. SANTA CLARA: USC is 1-0 all-time against the Broncos, after the Trojans posted a 5-2 win over SCU in 2006. #75 Santa Clara is 1-1 on the season after a 4-2 win over UC Santa Cruz and a 4-1 loss to UC Davis to open the year. SCU went 20-8 overall and finished 5-1 in WCC play last season.

    USC VS. SAN DIEGO: USC is 26-3 all-time against the Toreros, with Trojans last posting a 6-1 win over USD in 2007. This will be the season opener for #75 San Diego, which went 11-12 overall last season. USD has two ranked singles players: #29 Thomas Liversage and #63 Dean Jackson.

    USC VS. UC IRVINE: USC is 37-3 all-time against the Anteaters, with Trojans last posting a 5-2 win over UCI in 2006. This will be the season opener for UC Irvine, which went 11-12 overall and finished 3-1 in Big West Conference play last season.

    USC VS. SAN DIEGO STATE: USC is 14-0 all-time against the Aztecs, with Trojans last posting a 7-0 win over SDSU in 2007. #50 San Diego State is 1-0 this season after beating UC Riverside 7-0 last week. The Aztecs went 16-8 overall and finished 6-0 in Mountain West play last season.

    TOP COACHES: Pac-10 Coach of the Year Peter Smith and his assistant Brett Masi earned regional honors for their roles in pushing USC back into the postseason with 2007's deep postseason run and a 22-3 overall finish. Smith was named the 2007 ITA West Region Coach of the Year, and Masi was the 2007 ITA West Region Assistant Coach of the Year.

    BACK FOR MORE: Four members of the Trojans' NCAA ladder are back for 2008. Headlined by ITA West Regional doubles champions Kaes Van't Hof and Robert Farah, the 2008 Trojans are deep, talented and young. Van't Hof -- who carries 77 career singles wins into the year -- is USC's only senior. Farah, a sophomore who held down the fort at the No. 4 singles slot the majority of his freshman season, also turned some heads in reaching the final of the Polo Ralph Lauren Men's All-American during the fall. Also racking up the wins in their first seasons at Troy were Jason McNaughton and Gary Sacks. Now sophomores, the pair garnered 57 singles wins as freshmen. McNaughton had 34 of those, boasting the most wins of all the 2007 Trojans. Sacks and his powerful serve anchored the No. 6 singles slot for a great deal of last season.

    NEW TALENT: Seeing their first action as Trojans this season after sitting out in 2007 will be Jack Levis, Abdullah Magdas and Andrew Piotrowski. Levis redshirted last season, and Magdas and Piotrowski sat out due to NCAA requirements. All three have the experience and skill to inject even more talent into the 2007 Trojan gameplan, especially with the addition of three new freshmen to the lineup -- Daniel Gliner, Matt Manasse and Jaak Poldma.

    ON SMITH'S WATCH: Peter Smith, the 2007 Pac-10 and ITA West Regional Coach of the Year, enters his sixth season as head coach of the Trojan men's tennis program. He has compiled a 350-181 (.659) career coaching record and is 80-46 (.635) at USC. After five years at Pepperdine, Smith became only the third head coach in Trojan tennis history and extended his streak of sending teams to the NCAA Tournament to 12 consecutive seasons, as the Trojans reached the NCAA Second Round in his first season, the semifinals in 2004, and the second round again in 2005. In 2006, USC missed the postseason with an 8-14 record, but in 2007, USC reemerged on the NCAA scene, racking up its best program start since 1987 with an 11-0 record on the way to a second-place finish in the Pac-10 (6-1) and a trip to the NCAA Quarterfinals to finish 23-3 overall. It was the biggest turnaround in USC history, and the mark stands out as the fewest losses sustained since USC went 22-3 in 1994, when the Trojans won their 15th NCAA title. Smith is the only men's tennis coach ever to lead four different men's programs to national top-25 rankings and is one of only two coaches to guide three different schools to the NCAA quarterfinals and top-5 national rankings (USC, Pepperdine and Fresno State).