USC’s men’s tennis team took down two more teams Tuesday to maintain its undefeated record this season, defeating the No. 57 Cal Poly Mustangs and the UC Irvine Anteaters.
“A strong doubles start will set the tone for the rest of the day,” junior Ray Sarmiento said before the match.
This proved to be the case, as USC cruised by the Mustangs in the front end of the double-header. Though junior Emilio Gomez and sophomore Eric Johnson, playing in the No. 1 doubles slot, fell to Cal Poly’s Jordan Bridge and Andre Dome 8-5, their teammates stepped up to help USC secure the doubles point. Freshman Max de Vroome and sophomore Roberto Quiroz were down 2-3 at one point but fought back to win 8-6 over Cal Poly’s Gannon Daynes and Matt Thomson. USC’s No. 3 doubles team, sophomore Jonny Wang and junior Michael Grant, easily defeated Cal Poly’s Marco Comuzzo and Naveen Beasley, 8-3.
The Trojans dominated the Mustangs in doubles play, winning all six singles points. Gomez defeated Dome 6-2, 6-2 to avenge his doubles loss. In similar clinical fashion, Quiroz dominated Cal Poly’s Camuzzo, 6-1, 6-1. Johnson struggled a bit more than his teammate, dropping his first set to Bridge, but came back to win, 2-6, 7-6 (3), 1-0 (10-4). De Vroome, Wang and Grant also prevailed over their opponents, leading USC to sweep the Mustangs 7-0.
After resting for a few hours, the Trojans came back out to face off against the UC Irvine Anteaters.
Once again, the Trojans dominated in doubles play to start off the match. Quiroz and de Vroome defeated UCI’s Ryan Cheung and Jacob Jung 8-6, and Gomez and Johnson defeated Shuhei Shibahara and Jonathan Hammel, 8-4. USC’s Yannick Hanfmann and Michael Tang lost their set 4-8, but the score was the least significant part of the set: Halfway through Tuesday’s set, Hanfmann sprained his ankle. Smith said the sprain is minor, though, and Hanfmann is expected to recover quickly. Additionally, this set was senior Michael Tang’s debut for USC’s tennis team, after being described by Smith as “the best team manager ever.”
Tang was defeated 6-3, 6-2 in singles play by Justin Agbayani, but his teammates stepped up to win their singles points and ultimately lead the Trojans to a 6-1 victory over the Anteaters. Johnson had another wild singles match, defeating UCI’s Cheung 7-5, 6-1 after being behind 0-4 in the first set.
Yet, Johnson’s struggle never worried Smith. In fact, Smith was happy Johnson faced some adversity early in the season.
“[Adversity] is what we’re trying to create,” Smith said. “How are you going to respond when someone is coming at you?”
Other than Johnson, the Trojans didn’t face much of a challenge against the Anteaters in singles play. Wang had a tremendous match, winning 6-0, 6-0. “I thought I was playing pretty well,” Wang said. “It was just a one-sided match. I was being really aggressive and just taking it to him.”