USC Tennis Picks Up ITA Regional Awards|
May 19, 2010
As tennis teams are digging into this year's NCAA competition, the ITA has bestowed honors upon regional winners for 2010 awards. Coming out on top of the ITA Southwest Region are two USC men and one USC woman. USC men's head coach Peter Smith has been named the region's Coach of the Year, with senior Robert Farah earning selections as both the region's Farnsworth/ITA Senior Player of the Year and the ITA/Rafael Osuna Sportsmanship Award nominee. On the women's side, freshman Danielle Lao has been honored as the region's Rookie of the Year.
Peter Smith adds this year's ITA Southwest Region Coach of the Year award to his Pac-10 Coach of the Year accolades earned last month. Also the 2007 ITA Regional Coach of the Year, Smith has guided this year's Trojans into their fourth straight NCAA Round of 16 appearance, as the defending national champs claimed the 2010 Pac-10 title and grabbed two opening-round wins in NCAA action. Currently 21-3 overall, Smith has his Trojans up against Kentucky in the NCAA Round of 16 on Friday (May 21) in Athens, Ga., to continue USC's push toward another NCAA crown.
Senior Robert Farah has been gathering up awards throughout the year. The Pac-10 Player of the Year and Pac-10 Doubles Team of the Year honoree now holds a pair of prestigious ITA regional awards. He has been named the Farnsworth/ITA Senior Player of the Year out of the Southwest Region and is also the region's ITA/Rafael Osuna Sportsmanship Award nominee. The Rafael Osuna Award goes to a men's player who displays sportsmanship, character, excellent academics, and has had outstanding tennis accomplishments. Farah's old doubles partner from 2007 and 2008 - Kaes Van't Hof - was the last USC men's player to be named the regional Senior Player of the Year, and also was the 2008 ITA/Rafael Osuna Sportsmanship Award winner. Farah was aptly named the ITA regional Player to Watch in 2008, as the senior now boasts the best singles winning percentage of his career in holding a 32-5 overall record and a 19-2 mark in dual-match singles as he and the Trojans set up for the NCAA Team Round of 16 this week.
For Danielle Lao, the ITA Southwest Region Rookie of the Year award is the freshman's second honor of the season after picking up All-Pac-10 Honorable Mention. She holds a 22-1 overall singles record and went 11-8 in dual-match singles at the competitive No. 3 position for the Trojans. Current USC senior Sarah Fansler was the last Trojan to be named the regional Rookie of the Year, earning the award in 2007. Next week, Lao will be joined by junior Maria Sanchez and sophomore Alison Ramos at the coming NCAA Singles Championships, running May 26-31 in Athens, Ga.