Trojans sweep away a pair of San Diego schools
USC men’s tennis returned home for the first time in nearly a month to face two San Diego schools looking to snap the Trojans’ 31-match win streak spanning from last February.
Instead, No. 1 USC (13-0) tallied two more with straight set sweeps over No. 24 San Diego (5-3) and San Diego State (5-2) in a doubleheader Friday.
Despite playing in their sixth match in a week, the Trojans took down the San Diego Toreros 7-0 in the evening match behind No. 47 sophomore Emilio Gomez’s 6-4, 6-2 clincher over Clarke Spinosa on court three.
Gomez bounced back from an early 0-3 deficit in the first set to win his 10th singles match in a row giving USC a 4-0 advantage over San Diego.
No. 11 senior Steve Johnson and No. 86 freshman Roberto Quiroz earned the first two singles points before Gomez’s win.
Johnson, who was named the Most Outstanding Player of the Intercollegiate Tennis Association National Men’s Team Indoors Championships last weekend, defeated No. 77 Nikola Bubnic 6-4, 6-2 for his 47th-straight singles win.
With the victory in hand, No. 36 freshman Yannick Hanfmann, No. 18 sophomore Ray Sarmiento and freshman Jordi Vives finished their opponents for USC’s 7-0 advantage.
“I was feeling physically beat out in the second match, but I kept telling myself one point at a time,” Sarmiento said. “At the end of the day, you just have to tough it out.”
Sarmiento, who is 22-7 in singles this season, defeated No. 74 Patrick Pohlmann, one of San Diego’s three ranked players, 6-4, 6-1. Hanfmann took down the other, No. 97 Thibaut Visy, 6-2, 6-4.
In doubles action, the No. 28 pair of Hanfmann and Johnson began with an 8-2 win over Bubnic and Visy. Senior Daniel Nguyen and freshman Eric Johnson capped off the doubles point for USC with an 8-5 finish over Ciaran Fitzgerald and Pohlmann.
Earlier in the day, the Trojans swept No. 60 San Diego State 7-0. Quiroz secured the victory with a 6-1, 6-3 win over Rickey Baylon on court four.
The first two singles points against the Aztecs came from Sarmiento and Johnson on courts one and five, respectively. After Quiroz’s clincher, Hanfmann, Nguyen and freshman Jonny Wang defeated their opponents to give USC the sweep.
To handle the potential fatigue of the doubleheader, USC needed a complete team effort with court action given to more than just their six ranked Trojans.
“The 7th Man guys are great support. It’s really nice to see them out there fighting with us,” Sarmiento said.
The last time that the Trojans played at Marks Stadium was a 6-1 win over No. 49 UNC-Wilmington on Jan. 29.
“It’s nice to be back [at home],” Hanfmann said. “People are supporting us and it’s so much easier with the crowd.”
The time back home will be short-lived, as the Trojans will hit the road again Wednesday and take their undefeated record to the Los Angeles Tennis Center to face No. 8 UCLA (11-1) at 3 p.m.