No. 1 USC tries to extend 30-match winning streak

After winning the Intercollegiate Tennis Association National Team Indoors Championships for the first time since 1988, the Trojans will return home from Charlottesville, Va. with a doubleheader awaiting them.

No. 1 USC (11-0) will take on No. 60 San Diego State (5-1) at 1 p.m. and No. 24 San Diego (5-2) at 6 p.m. at Marks Stadium on Friday, a week after they began the tournament in Virginia.

Their 4-3 victory over No. 3 Ohio State (12-1) landed the Trojans not only the Indoors title, but also their best season start since 1987 amidst a 30 dual-match winning streak spanning from last February.

The Trojans look to carry the momentum from No. 36 freshman Yannick Hanfmann’s comeback victory over Ohio State’s No. 65 Devin McCarthy to clinch the championship.

Besides Hanfmann, three other Trojans went undefeated in singles, including No. 11 senior Steve Johnson, No. 14 senior Daniel Nguyen and No. 47 sophomore Emilio Gomez.

“We have a couple veterans that we knew we could count on, and I thought we had a good game plan in singles,” USC coach Peter Smith said. “The guys came out and did the things we talked about, which was good to see.”

Last season, USC’s only two losses came from the Indoors tournament. With the title in hand, the Trojans will now shift their focus toward the remaining matches on the schedule before the Pac-12 and NCAA Championships in April and May.

“[Winning the Indoors] was definitely very special, but we should put it in the past,” Nguyen said. “We won it, but we have to keep it day-by-day and keep working hard and work on the things we need to improve on.”

USC will have the chance to improve its record with a clash against the San Diego schools. The Aztecs and Toreros come to Marks Stadium with streaks of two and three wins in a row, respectively.

San Diego State currently has no players ranked in singles and doubles. San Diego is led by No. 74 senior Patrick Pohlman, No. 77 senior Nikola Bubnic and No. 97 junior Thibaut Visy.

On the other hand, USC will enter the two matches with six players ranked in singles and one pair ranked in doubles. Hanfmann and Johnson, who are No. 28 in doubles, took their first loss of the season together in a 5-8 loss against the No. 1 pair of Ohio State’s Chase Buchanan and Blaz Rola.

The Trojans are no strangers to the doubleheader. They opened the spring dual-match season on Jan. 22, with matches against Loyola Marymount and UC Santa Barbara and swept them both 7-0.

USC has not lost at home since a 3-4 defeat to UCLA in 2010.

“It’ll feel good,” Nguyen said. “For the team, playing at home is always a huge relief. It’s definitely going to be good for us.”