USC men’s tennis continues strong play

Aiming to remain in the win column and on track toward another NCAA title come season’s end, the No. 2 USC men’s tennis team wrapped up its weekend slate with decisive doubleheader wins.

The Trojans (2-0) went head-to-head with the Sacramento State Hornets and St. Mary’s College Gaels at Marks Stadium, finishing 6-1 and 7-0, respectively.

USC pocketed a sweep against the Gaels with freshmen Ray Sarmiento and Michael Grant pairing up as a dominant doubles team, beating SMC 8-2.

“Ray played really good and he stood out,” said USC coach Peter Smith. “Jaak played well also, but the whole team was there and competed really well.”

Sarmiento finished with a 6-1, 6-3 victory against the Gaels’ Maxime Olivan.

USC swept singles and doubles against the Gaels, though senior Peter Lucassen and sophomore Joel Giger would play into three sets to clinch their single’s wins.

Against Sacramento State, the Trojans swept doubles, with senior Jaak Poldma standing out at the No. 2 spot.

All singles matches were won in straight-sets, with the Hornets collecting their only win of the day in singles, when Lucassen fell 6-4, 6-4 to Aliaksandr Malko.

This was also the first match for newly eligible freshman Emilio Gomez, who saw his first on-court action in doubles with junior Daniel Nguyen at No. 1.

“We just got Emilio eligible, so we need to make him feel more comfortable in doubles and singles,“  Smith said.

Gomez snagged his first singles win against Sacramento State.

“It was a great start for the season,” Smith said. “It wasn’t perfect, but there were some good moments.”

Smith saw the day as an opportunity for growth and improvement.

“There’s a lot we can get out of that to help make us a better team,” he said. “I want to play teams that will come and challenge us and not lay down to us.”

Next up for the Trojans is hosting the ITA Kick-Off Weekend on Friday and Saturday.