USC comes away with convincing sweep

The USC men’s tennis team’s clinched the Pac-10 title Tuesday with a hard-fought 7-0 win over UC Irvine.

Although No. 1 junior Steve Johnson struggled in singles play, he still walked away with a victory, 6-4, 6-7 (10-2), against the Anteaters’ Chris Kearney.

Strong play · Freshman Ray Sarmiento won his singles and doubles matches Tuesday, helping lead the Trojans to victory over the Anteaters. - Mannat Saini | Daily Trojan

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.

USC’s three double pairs proved too much for UC Irvine. Sarmiento paired with junior Daniel Nguyen at No. 3 to defeat Sam Gould and Jon Kazarian, 8-4.

“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.

2 replies
  1. MJ
    MJ says:

    I was thinking the same thing, Steve B. Technically, I think they’ve already clinched at least a share of the title, because Stanford’s only loss was to USC. Maybe it was just worded wrong? C’mon, though, you have to know who is in the Pac-10 (or Pac-6 as it is in men’s tennis).

  2. Steve B.
    Steve B. says:

    How do you clinch a Pac-10 title when defeating a non-conference opponent? That 1st paragraph could not have been a dumber statement. Maybe if it was volleyball it would have some merit although not Pac-10 (MPSF) to claim a title vs. Irvine.

Comments are closed.