Doubleheader coming up for Trojans
The top-ranked USC menâs tennis team begins its season in earnest on Saturday with a doubleheader at Marks Tennis Stadium.
The Trojans begin their day at 10 a.m. facing a Loyola Marymount team that USC beat 7-0 in a dual match last season. The day continues with a 3 p.m. match against UC Santa Barbara, a squad the Trojans swept 4-0 in the NCAA Regionals last spring.
The match opens LMUâs season with its game against the Trojans. The Lions finished last year with a record of 6-19, but they boast the No. 87 ranked singles player, junior Ivan Lopez, and the No. 60 ranked doubles duo of Lopez and sophomore Otto Sauer.
UCSB (1-1) beat St. Maryâs 6-1 to open its season but followed it up with a loss to No. 41 ranked Hawaii 2-5.
The Gauchos have demonstrated strong doubles play so far this season, as the teams of junior Alex Konigsfeldt and senior Josh Finkelstein, junior Evan Jurgensen and senior Scott Hohenstein and freshmen Benjamin Recknagel and Lucas Sudow all are undefeated in 2010.
The weather will prove to be a significant obstacle at the onset of the season. Not only does the threat of rain leave open the possibility of a cancellation of Saturdayâs matches, but the torrential downpours of the past few days have severely limited the playersâ preparation.
Even though the squad has not practiced on a normal schedule this week, the team is looking Â forward to beginning the season with a doubleheader.
Playing two matches back-to-back allows members who are not in the regular rotation to gain valuable playing experience.
âThe doubleheader is good for the confidence of everyone on the team. It helps more players get into match rhythm,â senior Robert Farah said.
The doubleheader, along with allowing more members of the team an opportunity to play, also gives the Trojans a chance to maximize their schedule beyond what is normally allotted.
âWe have a limit of 25 dates of competition, and this is a chance to play two teams in one while only using one date of competition,â coach Peter Smith said.
These matches will also provide an opportunity to fix mistakes or rebound from a potentially poor performance.
âIf something doesnât go well in the first match, you can improve on it in the second match,â senior Jason McNaughton said.
For USC, the ultimate goal is to successfully defend its national title, but the team is not getting ahead of itself, as their main goal is to start the season strong.
âThese matches are a good opportunity to get the season going with a full head of steam,â McNaughton said.