No. 1 Trojans take on crosstown rival
After a short return home, USC menâs tennis will hit the road again with a matchup against its archrivals.
The No. 1 Trojans (13-0) will have a chance to extend their win streak to 34 matches when they take on No. 3 UCLA (11-1) in a non-conference clash at the Los Angeles Tennis Center today at 2 p.m.
USC last played on Friday in a doubleheader against No. 24 San Diego and San Diego State and defeated both squads 7-0 for the Trojansâ seventh and eighth sweep of the season.
The two matches were USCâs fifth and sixth in a weekâs time. Before the doubleheader, the Trojans had battled through four matches in four days against top-20 opponents in Charlottesville, Va., to earn their first Intercollegiate Tennis Association National Team Indoors Championships since 1988.
They will now turn their focus toward the Bruins, who currently hold the series advantage 99-84. Last season, USC took both matches, most recently a 4-3 victory in Westwood in USCâs regular season finale last year.
âThereâs going to be a lot of energy from them. The crowd will be loud. Itâs going to be a good match,â No. 38 freshman Yannick Hanfmann said.
No. 5 senior Steve Johnson leads a group of six ranked Trojans in singles with 47 consecutive singles wins. Also streaking are No. 32 sophomore Emilio Gomez with 10 straight wins and Hanfmann with seven.
No. 15 senior Daniel Nguyen and No. 22 sophomore Ray Sarmiento hold 22-7 and 19-7 records in singles, respectively.
Meanwhile, freshman Roberto Quiroz earned Pac-12 Player of the Week honors for his two doubles and two singles wins in the doubleheader against the San Diego schools.
In doubles, USC has one ranked pair in Hanfmann and Johnson, who stand at No. 6 with a 10-2 doubles record this season.
UCLA has four ranked players in their rotation, including No. 33 Nick Meister, No. 81 Clay Thompson, Adrien Puget and Marcos Giron.
âWeâre going to take it like another match, but we donât want to lose to them. Iâm looking forward to it,â Sarmiento said.
The Bruins will enter the contest with three straight wins, with their only loss of the season coming against No. 5 Duke in the first round of the ITA National Team Indoors Championships.
Though the Trojans claim that they are eager for the rival matchup, they insist they have retained their composure for a hard fought battle.
âThereâs always that extra fire, but we just want to go out there and play like itâs any other match and not put too much pressure on ourselves,â Nguyen said.
consecutive NCAA championship, Nguyen supplied a simple formula for his team to maintain their so far perfect season.
âThe main thing is just to focus on what we need to improve, keep working hard each day and have a positive mindset,â Nguyen said.