Trojans Begin NCAA Tournament This Weekend
May 14, 2004
This Week -- The fourth-ranked USC men's tennis team (19-3, 6-1 Pac-10 t1st) received its 28th all-time bid to the 2004 NCAA Championships and is making its 28th-consecutive appearance. The Trojans, seeded second in the tourney, host the first and second rounds this Saturday and Sunday, May 15-16, at Marks Tennis Stadium. USC take on Montana State (17-5) in the opener on Saturday at noon, following the first round match-up between No. 32 California (7-16) and No. 39 San Diego (13-7) at 9 a.m. The winners of each match will face each other in the second round on Sunday at noon. The regional champion will advance to the NCAA Round of 16 in Tulsa, Okla., May 22-25.
2004 NCAA Championships - First and Second Round
Saturday, May 15, 9 a.m.
Saturday, May 15, Noon
Sunday, May 16, Noon
LIVE STATS! -- USC will unveil a new LED Daktronic interactive scoreboard this week for the NCAA Championship matches. Not only will the scoreboard allow fans to follow each match point-for-point from their seat, but it will also provide live stats on the web. Fans can follow each round via the world wide web at www.usctrojans.com. Go to the men's tennis home page and click on "Live Stats" to follow the action.
NCAA Championships -- The NCAA selected 64 teams to participate in the 2004 NCAA Division I Tennis Championships. First and second round matches are being played at 16 host sites May 14-16, with the winner of each regional site advancing to the finals. The championships will be held in Tulsa, Okla., at the Michael D. Case Tennis Center on the Tulsa campus, May 22-25. Individual championships will consist of 64 singles players and 32 doubles teams, and will take place May 26-29 following the team championships.
Did You Know? USC has never missed an NCAA Tournament since the NCAA began sponsoring the postseason championship in 1977.
Did You Know? USC is one of only five teams that have won a national title in men's tennis, the others being Stanford, UCLA, Georgia and Illinois, who won its first championship in 2003.
Best Since 1994 -- The last time USC headed into the postseason with only three losses was in 1994. That season, the Trojans were 16-3 at the end of the regular season and eventually captured the 1994 NCAA Championship with a 22-3 record.
Seven-Week Stay In Top 5 -- Ranked No. 4 in the final poll, USC spent eight straight weeks in the top 5, marking the longest stay for the Trojans in over 10 years.
ITA Ranking Updates -- The Trojans finished fourth in the final regular-season ITA rankings. Four of USC's singles players are ranked, including No. 19 Adriano Biasella, No. 82 Johan Berg, No. 86 Jamil Al-Agba and No. 105 Ruben Torres. In doubles, Daniel Langre and Drew Hoskins are ranked No. 18, and Biasella and Berg are ranked 44th.
Last Year at The NCAA Championships -- The Trojans fought through the 2003 season with a depleted roster and completed the year abruptly in the NCAA Second Round. Despite attempting to defend its national championship, USC did not have the manpower to combat UCLA for a third time in one season. Following a 4-0 victory in the opener over UC Santa Barbara, the Trojans suffered a 4-0 loss to the Bruins in Westwood. Prakash Amritraj and the duo of Daniel Langre and Amritraj went on to compete in the NCAA Singles and Doubles Championships but both were eliminated in the first round.
Trojan History at the NCAA Championships -- USC's history in the current format (dual-match single elimination team championship) NCAA championships spans nearly four decades. Since 1977, the first year the NCAA sponsored a postseason tennis team championship, the Trojans have advanced to the tournament in each of the 28 seasons and have claimed the national championship four times (1991, 1993, 1994, 2002). The Trojans have reached the semifinals nine times and the quarterfinals five times. USC's players have also earned two singles championships (Robert Van't Hof, 1980, and Cecil Mamiit, 1996) and four doubles championships (Bruce Manson/Chris Lewis, 1977, Rick Leach/Tim Pawsat, 1986, Rick Leach/Scott Melville, 1987, Eric Amend/Byron Black, 1989) in the history of the NCAAs.
Prior to 1977, the Trojans prominence on the national scene dates back to 1946 - the year USC won its first national title (the Trojans also went undefeated in 1943 and 1944 without an official tournament title). Dating back to that year, USC has collected a total of 16 national titles, 13 singles championships and 20 doubles titles (most in the nation) in program history.
Trojans Garner Pac-10 Title -- With a 6-1 conference record, the Trojans garnered their first Pac-10 title since 1994. It marks USC's 14th conference championship overall. USC and UCLA split the title with 6-1 records.
One of the Nation's Toughest Conferences -- Once again, the Pacific-10 conference proved to be one of the toughest tennis conferences in the country. All eight Pac-10 universities which sponsor men's tennis are ranked among the top-50 - five of which have consistently remained in the top-25 - and all are competing in the NCAA Championships. The Pac-10 men hold down 21 spots in the Top-125 men's singles list and occupy 11 spots among the Top-60 doubles teams.
Smith Named Pac-10 Coach of the Year -- Highlighting the Trojans' honors, men's coach Peter Smith was named the 2004 Pac-10 Coach of the Year after leading USC to a 6-1 conference record and a share of the Pac-10 title. More impressively, Smith's team captured the conference title (its first since 1994) after having posted a 2-5 Pac-10 mark last season. This is Smith's seventh career conference Coach of the Year honor and USC's seventh honor overall.
Biasella, Berg, Al-Agba Earn Conference Honors -- The men's and women's teams each had three players named to the 2004 All-Pac-10 teams. Adriano Biasella was honored to the men's All-Pac-10 first team, while teammates Johan Berg and Jamil Al-Agba earned All-Pac-10 honorable mention accolades.
At Pac-10 Championships -- USC's efforts to come away with two championships fell short when the Trojans wrapped up the Pac-10 Individual Tournament and Invitational on April 25 at Ojai. Competing for the men's main draw singles title, Adriano Biasella fell to Stanford's Sam Warburg, and in the women's back draw doubles final, Bernadette Bayani and Melissa Esmero fell to the Cardinal's Story Tweedie-Yates and Theresa Logar. The men's final drew a large Ojai crowd as Warburg, ranked 11th, managed to get past an impressive performance by then 31st-ranked Biasella, 7-6, 6-3. This was Biasella's second trip to the finals at Ojai. In 2002, Biasella captured the Men's Community College Singles Championship at Ojai as a player at College of the Desert.
Key Notes -- USC is 11-3 this season against top 25 teams. *** Jamil Al-Agba finished the conference season with a team-best 10-2 record against Pac-10 opponents. *** USC has utilized 20 different doubles pairings this season (17 in dual matches), but 18th-ranked Daniel Langre and Drew Hoskins boast a team-best 13-5 record and have remained the most consistent.
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 -- Peter Smith, who guided the Pepperdine men's tennis team to conference titles and NCAA tournament appearances in each of his five years there, is in his second year at the helm of the USC 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 the past two years at USC. He boasts a 303-150 (.669) overall record and has now led his teams to 11 NCAA appearances and nine top 25 finishes. He has been honored as conference coach of the year a total of seven times, including this season, and was honored as the 2002 ITA Region VIII Coach of the Year.
Montana State: Montana State advances to the NCAA Tournament for only the second time in program history. The Bobcats earned the Big Sky's automatic bid by winning the Big Sky Championship with a victory over Idaho State in the finals. The team went 17-5 overall during the regular season and 6-0 in conference play. The Bobcats boast one ranked singles player (No. 76 Federico Ueltschi) and no ranked doubles teams.
USC vs. Montana State: Saturday's match will be the first-ever meeting between USC and Montana State.
California: No. 32 California completed the regular season with a 7-14 overall record and 2-3 mark in the Pac-10 for a sixth-place finish. The team boasts three ranked singles players (No. 17 Conor Niland, No. 56 Wayne Wong, No. 71 Balazs Veress) and one ranked doubles tandem (No. 6 Veress/Briaud).
USC vs. California: USC won both match-ups this season against conference-foe California - 7-0 in Los Angeles and 5-2 in Berkeley. The USC-Cal series is one of the program's oldest, dating back to the 1927 season. USC owns the all-time advantage, 119-30.
San Diego: Ranked 39th in the latest poll, San Diego is making its second-consecutive and fifth overall trip to the NCAAs. The Toreros earned an at-large bid after completing the season with a 13-7 record and second-place finish at the West Coast Conference Championships. The team boasts one ranked singles player (No. 74 Pierrick Ysern) and no ranked doubles teams.
USC vs. San Diego: USC defeated San Diego 6-1 on the road in February. The Trojans are 25-2 all-time against the Toreros.
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