After being crowned national champions in May, five members of USC’s men’s tennis team earned Pac-12 honors last week, including the Pac-12 Singles Player of the Year award as well as the Pac-12 Doubles Team of the Year.
Junior Yannick Hanfmann headlined the group, being named the Pac-12 Singles Player of the Year. The Karlsruhe, Germany native finished the season ranked No. 10 by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association and went 24-6 overall on the season, including an 18-4 mark in dual match play.
Hanfmann was ranked No. 18 in the ITA’s preseason poll in September, but slowly climbed up the ladder to the 10-spot. In October, he won the ITA Southwest Regional Championship in a 6-3, 4-6, 6-0 effort over Pepperdine’s Alex Sarkissian, who finished as the runner-up in the NCAA singles championship last month.
In 2014, Hanfmann went 4-0 in Pac-12 play and helped lead the Trojans to an undefeated conference slate and the regular-season Pac-12 title. The junior, who clinched championship point in the Trojans’ 2012 NCAA National Title campaign, quickly made an impact as he developed a knack for defeating some of the nation’s highest ranked players. In the Trojans’ regular-season finale, Hanfmann defeated UCLA’s Clay Thompson, the No. 1 singles player in the nation, in straight sets.
During the NCAA tournament, Hanfmann went undefeated in singles against four ranked opponents. In the semifinals against No. 4 Virginia, Hanfmann topped sixth-ranked Alex Domijan, 4-6, 7-6 (10), 6-4 to clinch a spot in the championship match for the Trojans.
In the finals, Hanfmann defeated Oklahoma’s fifth-ranked Guillermo Alcorta, 7-5, 6-2 for his second upset of the tournament.
Hanfmann backed up his success in singles this season with stellar play in doubles with senior Ray Sarmiento. The duo finished the season ranked No. 1 in the country and was named the Pac-12 Doubles Team of the Year.
Hanfmann and Sarmiento went 15-4 on the season together and 3-0 in Pac-12 play. They earned the No. 1 spot in the nation on April 22, at which point they had only lost to then-second-ranked Peter Kobelt and Kevin Metka of Ohio State in the championship of the ITA National Team Indoor tournament.
The two Trojans were named to the All-Pac-12 first team along with junior Roberto Quiroz. Quiroz was USC’s winningest player in singles this season, going 32-6 overall, 24-3 in dual match play and a perfect 6-0 in Pac-12 competition. At one point, the Ecuadorian put together a 20-match win streak, which included five match clinchers.
Hanfmann joined UCLA’s Thompson and Marcos Giron as the only players unanimously voted onto the Pac-12 first team.
Though at one point Sarmiento was ranked as high as No. 3 in the nation, he uncharacteristically faltered down the stretch of the regular season. The two-time team captain tallied up a dismal 2-4 record in Pac-12 competition, which could be responsible for him not having been unanimously selected for first-team honors. In the NCAA tournament, however, the senior found his footing at precisely the right time: down 1-2 against Oklahoma in the NCAA championship match, Sarmiento secured the equalizer point to tie the team match in singles play. The Rancho Cucamonga, California native finishes his collegiate tennis career as a five-time All-American and a three-time national champion.
Junior Eric Johnson and sophomore Max de Vroome earned All-Pac-12 honorable mention awards.
Johnson went undefeated in singles play during the NCAA tournament to finish out the season with a 32-9 overall record and an impressive 23-3 mark in dual-match play.
His doubles partner de Vroome clinched the national title for the Trojans with a grueling three-set comeback victory over Oklahoma’s No. 53 Andrew Harris. De Vroome’s aggressive serve and volley game overwhelmed Harris in the final set. The win also capped off an undefeated NCAA slate for the Vught, Netherlands native, who posted a 26-10 overall record on the season.
Hanfmann, Sarmiento, de Vroome and Johnson were also named to the NCAA all-tournament team at the No. 1, No. 2, No. 4 and No. 5 spots, respectively.
USC and UCLA led the Pac-12 with five players from each school earning All-Pac-12 honors.