USC Men Refocus For Pac-10 Championships
April 26, 2006
THIS WEEK: USC takes a turn away from dual match play to dive into the quest for individual titles at the Pac-10 Championships. USC's top four singles players and top two doubles teams will vie for the Pac-10 titles at the action taking place in Ojai, Calif., from April 27-30. Keep an eye on Trojans Dejan Cvetkovic, Kaes Van't Hof, Adam Loucks and Chong Wang in the race for the Pac-10 singles crown, while the doubles teams of Adam Loucks / Garrett Snyder and Cvetkovic/Van't Hof are in line to compete for the Pac-10 doubles title. Results will be posted at www.ojaitourney.org, as well as on the Pac-10 website.
RECENT RESULTS: The Trojans were on the frustrating end of another 4-3 dual meet decision last week. With Friday's 4-3 loss to No. 8 UCLA, the Trojans were stuck in their seventh straight 4-3 decision to finish Pac-10 play 1-6. USC came close to grabbing the doubles point to open the match, but UCLA was able to pull out two crucial wins, clinching the point just before Adam Loucks / Garrett Snyder pulled out their No. 3 battle for the Trojans with an 8-6 win over Dehaine/Drean. UCLA rolled to claim the next three singles matches, while the Trojans controlled the next three matches, but it was too late to overtake things. Kaes Van't Hof got a 6-3, 7-6 win over #96 Mathieu Dehaine at the No. 3 position, followed by Jeff Kazarian's 6-3, 4-6, (10-5) win over Michael Look at No. 6 to make it 4-2. Jamil Al-Agba then rounded out USC's efforts with a 2-6, 7-5, (10-6) comeback win over #95 Haythem Abid at No. 2 singles. .
PAC-10 PLANS: The Pac-10's eight men's teams head to Ojai, Calif., Thurs., April 27 through Sun., April 30, to decide the league's singles and doubles champions. The 32-player men's singles draw shall consist of four student-athletes from each school, and the 16-team doubles draw shall consist of two doubles teams from each school.
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 played in every dual match for the Trojans and was USC's winningest player in dual match singles action this season. Wang racked up a 14-8 record playing at the Nos. 4, 5 and 6 slots during dual match action and was one of only two Trojans who won both their matches vs. Cal and Stanford. He's second on the team in overall singles wins behind Kaes Van't Hof with a 19-14 record.
LOUCKS' LOCKDOWN: Sophomore Adam Loucks was hot in USC's Pac-10 dual matches, having opened with three straight singles wins and four straight doubles wins with teammate Garrett Snyder. He and Snyder finished dual match play with a perfect 10-0 when playing at the No. 3 doubles slot this year.
A TOUGH KAES: Sophomore Kaes Van't Hof is right back to the solid play he began his USC career with last season, boasting the strongest singles record on the team at 20-15 overall. In Arizona, Van't Hof kicked off Pac-10 play with a 2-0 run through his Arizona opponents, and he posted back-to-back wins in USC's final two Pac-10 matches with Oregon and UCLA.
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. Smith 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.