Men of Troy stay undefeated with ease
USC‚Äôs men‚Äôs 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.
‚ÄúA strong doubles start will set the tone for the rest of the day,‚ÄĚ 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‚Äôs 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‚Äôs Gannon Daynes and Matt Thomson. USC‚Äôs No. 3 doubles team, sophomore Jonny Wang and junior Michael Grant, easily defeated Cal Poly‚Äôs 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‚Äôs 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‚Äôs Ryan Cheung and Jacob Jung 8-6, and Gomez and Johnson defeated Shuhei Shibahara and Jonathan Hammel, 8-4. USC‚Äôs Yannick Hanfmann and Michael Tang lost their set 4-8, but the score was the least significant part of the set: Halfway through Tuesday‚Äôs 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‚Äôs debut for USC‚Äôs tennis team, after being described by Smith as ‚Äúthe best team manager ever.‚ÄĚ
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‚Äôs Cheung 7-5, 6-1 after being behind 0-4 in the first set.
Yet, Johnson‚Äôs struggle never worried Smith. In fact, Smith was happy Johnson faced some adversity early in the season.
‚Äú[Adversity] is what we‚Äôre trying to create,‚ÄĚ Smith said. ‚ÄúHow are you going to respond when someone is coming at you?‚ÄĚ
Other than Johnson, the Trojans didn‚Äôt face much of a challenge against the Anteaters in singles play. Wang had a tremendous match, winning 6-0, 6-0. ‚ÄúI thought I was playing pretty well,‚ÄĚ Wang said. ‚ÄúIt was just a one-sided match. I was being really aggressive and just taking it to him.‚ÄĚ