Fresh off a dominating 5-2 victory over Wake Forest on Wednesday, the No. 3 USC men’s tennis team will be heading east for two matches during spring break.
The Trojans (13-1, 0-0) will celebrate St. Patrick’s Day by facing off against the No. 33 Duke Blue Devils (5-4, 0-0) in Durham, N.C.
Duke has three singles players ranked in the top 70, headed by No. 14 Henrique Cunha and the No. 3 doubles team of Cunha and Reid Carleton.
In their two most recent matches, the Blue Devils faced off against No. 8 UCLA and No. 5 Texas — two teams that played USC earlier this season — and lost each match 2-5 and 3-4, respectively.
Two days later the Trojans will head farther south to Athens, Ga., to battle No. 9 Georgia (10-2, 2-0) on March 19.
As with the Duke squad, the Bulldogs have three ranked singles players and one ranked doubles team.
Playing on the road is never easy, but the Trojans have proved they can be successful away from home, most notably with victories at No. 12 Stanford and No. 8 UCLA.
The team looks at these matches as a way to gain more road experience and establish some consistency, especially in doubles, where USC coach Peter Smith seems to have found a lineup after a season-long search for the right combination.
“We still need to keep working on doubles,” Smith said. “I think we have settled on our doubles teams; now we just have to make all of them comfortable and confident.”
In addition, the matches at Duke and Georgia are crucial in maintaining the intensity and focus for the Trojans because when they return from break, Pac-10 play will begin in earnest.