The USC men’s tennis team’s clinched the Pac-10 title Tuesday with a hard-fought 7-0 win over UC Irvine.
Johnson and No. 41 Kearney battled, but Johnson was finally able to seal the deal to keep his perfect record intact.
“I was not worried at all [about Johnson],” said freshman Ray Sarmiento. “He knows how to win in those situations.”
Every Trojan except Johnson handed the Anteaters losses in straight sets. Senior Jaak Poldma and senior Peter Lucassen won decisively, 6-3, 6-2 and 6-2, 6-1, respectively, in their last home matches of the regular season.
After trailing on court three, Nguyen rallied back to come out 6-4, 6-1 against Shan Sondhu. Freshman Emilio Gomez quietly and quickly pocketed a 6-2, 6-3 victory at the No. 5 spot in his match against Stege.
Sarmiento won his singles match against Irvine’s Ryan Cheung 6-1, 6-3 at the No. 4 spot.
“We clicked,” Sarmiento said. “We were playing well together and working well together and moving well together. If we do that, then everything else happens.”
Poldma and sophomore J.T. Sundling played at the No. 1 spot and beat Kearney and Stephen Stege, 8-2. At No. 2, Johnson and Gomez took away an 8-3 win against Cheung and Fabian Matthews.
“We took care of business,” Sarmiento said. “We respect them as a team, too. We know they’re dangerous and they’re talented and we just came out and fought back.”
The victory gave USC its fifth consecutive 20-win season.
The Trojans next square off against crosstown rival No. 9 UCLA at 3 p.m. on Friday.