Men's Tennis
    USC Men Host No. 7 Baylor and No. 4 Duke
    USC sets up for No. 7 Baylor this Friday and No. 5 Duke on Monday.
    USC sets up for No. 7 Baylor this Friday and No. 5 Duke on Monday.

    March 8, 2006

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    THIS WEEK: After dropping a dual match to last year's NCAA champion UCLA last week, the Trojans now turn to face the 2005 runner-up in Baylor and the No. 4 team in the nation this season, Duke. USC hosts the Bears at 5 p.m. on Friday (March 10) and the Blue Devils at 1:30 p.m. on Monday (March 13) at Marks Stadium.

    ITA RANKING UPDATES: USC (6-5) is ranked No. 34 in the latest ITA team rankings (released March 7). There are no Trojans ranked in the latest singles rankings, but doubles duo Adam Loucks / Garrett Snyder are ranked No. 60.

    Baylor is ranked No. 7 and has Lars Poerschke ranked No. 5, along with No. 48 Matija Zgaga, No. 52 Michal Kokta and No. 93 Vladimir Portnov. Doubles duo Reckewey/Zgaga was ranked No. 6, and Kokta/Ward was No. 18.

    Duke ranks No. 4, and Ludovic Walter is the Blue Devils' top-ranked player at No. 4. Jonathan Stokke is No. 28, Peter Rodrigues is No. 58, and Kiril Dimitrov is No. 98.

    RECENT RESULTS: The Trojans dropped a tough 5-2 match against crosstown rival UCLA on Feb. 28 at the Los Angeles Tennis Center, grabbing two singles wins in the nonconference match against the No. 8 Bruins. UCLA managed a doubles sweep to tack up the first point of the match against the Trojans, then moved ahead 2-0 with a win at the No. 4 singles slot. Freshman Chong Wang dropped his UCLA opponent 7-5, 6-1 at No. 5 singles to grab the Trojans their first point of the match and make it 2-1, but a win by #3 Benjamin Kohlloeffel over Jamil Al-Agba pulled UCLA back up 3-1. Once again, USC closed in on the match with #91 Kaes Van't Hof's 6-1, 5-7, 6-4 win over #82 Mathieu Dehaine at No. 3 singles. At the No. 2 position, Dejan Cvetkovic had pushed Haythem Abid into a first-set tiebreaker, then forced another one in the second set. Abid held stong again in the tiebreaker, however, and clinched the match with a 7-6 (4), 7-6 (5) win.

    USC VS. BAYLOR: USC is 2-3 all-time against the Bears. The team squared off in 2005 at Baylor, with the Trojans falling 5-2 to the eventual NCAA finalists.

    USC VS. DUKE: USC is 3-1 all-time against the Blue Devils. The teams last faced in 2004, with Duke posting a 6-1 win over the Trojans.

    2006 TROJANS: The 2006 USC squad, led by fourth-year coach Peter Smith, is highlighted by nine returning players from last year's team that reached the NCAA Second Round and finished the 2005 season with a No. 21 national ranking. This year, the Trojans boast four newcomers to the roster as USC works toward improving on last year's 12-13 overall record and 3-4 fifth-place finish in Pac-10 play.

    COACH Peter Smith: Peter Smith, the 2004 Pac-10 Coach of the Year whose teams have now made 12-straight NCAA appearances, enters his fourth season as head coach of the Trojan men's tennis program. Smith's collegiate coaching career includes five years (1998-2002) at Pepperdine, six years at Fresno State (1992-1997), four years at Long Beach State (1988-1991) and three years at USC. He boasts a 319-164 (.660) overall record, is 49-29 (.628) with the Trojans and has led his teams to 12 NCAA appearances, including last year's second-round run, and 10 top-25 finishes. He has been honored as conference coach of the year a total of seven times and was the 2002 ITA Region VIII Coach of the Year.