USC Men Open Pac-10 Play At No. 47 Arizona and No. 55 ASU
March 29, 2006
THIS WEEK: USC kicks off Pac-10 competition this week with its second dual match face-offs of the season against Arizona and Arizona State. The #51 Trojans hit the road for their conference openers, beginning with a 1:30 p.m. match at #47 Arizona on Friday (March 31) and then heading to Tempe to face #55 Arizona State at 1 p.m. on Saturday (April 1).
ITA RANKING UPDATES: USC (7-8) is ranked #51 in the latest ITA team rankings (released March 28). In the latest ITA singles/doubles rankings (released March 21), junior Jamil Al-Agba popped into the singles rankings at #88, and two Trojan doubles duos are also ranked. Al-Agba / Dejan Cvetkovic are ranked #45 with a 7-3 dual match record, and Jeff Kazarian / Kaes Van't Hof are #53 with a 4-1 dual match record.
RECENT RESULTS: The Trojans finally faced an opponent ranked outside the top 10 for the first time in a month when #61 UNLV came to town last week. USC stayed in control of the match on the way to a 5-2 win that snapped a four-match losing skid. Jamil Al-Agba powered back from a two-game deficit and won 10 straight games to tally a 6-4, 6-0 victoryat the No. 1 singles slot and clinch the win for the Trojans. USC won the first two doubles matches to lock down the first point of the match, and then Jeff Kazarian padded USC's early lead with a win to start singles play just before Dejan Cvetkovic knocked out another one to push the Trojans up 3-0. That brought up Al-Agba's heroics at the No. 1 position for the match-clinching victory.
USC VS. ASU: USC is 50-8 all-time against the Sun Devils after posting a 6-1 win during nonconference play in February. Arizona State is ranked #47 in the latest ITA team rankings. Jonathan Kinsella is ASU's only ranked player at #85.
USC VS. ARIZONA: USC is 87-1 all-time against the Wildcats after grabbing a tight 4-3 win in nonconference play in February. USC's one loss to Arizona came in a 5-4 decision on April 4, 1981. Arizona is ranked #55 in the latest ITA team rankings. Roger Matalonga is Arizona's only ranked player at #58.
JAMIL ALL OVER IT: Junior Jamil Al-Agba has overcome an early-season injury that kept him off the courts for much of the year and now holds a 2-3 singles records. Now ranked #88, Al-Agba recently grabbed his first win at the No. 1 singles slot. His three losses came to top-5 ranked opponents and his first singles win was over a #28 player.
DEJAN GETS IT DONE: Sophomore Dejan Cvetkovic earned his first career Pac-10 Player of the Week award after posting a three-set upset of Baylor's #48-ranked Matija Zgaga for USC's lone win of the match against the seventh-ranked Bears.
CHONG'S WINNING WAYS: In his first season at Troy, freshman Chong Wang has played in every dual match for the Trojans and also boasts the best dual match singles record on the team. Wang has racked up a 10-5 record playing at the Nos. 4, 5 and 6 slots during dual match action.
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.