Bay Area schools prove to be no match for Trojans

Despite facing its toughest stretch of play since February, USC added two resounding conference victories to its streak of 45 consecutive wins.

The No. 1 Trojans (25-0, 6-0) took down No. 12 California 6-1 Sunday after sweeping No. 11 Stanford (14-6, 4-1) on Saturday for the second time this season.

Still rolling · Though sophomore Ray Sarmiento (above) fell in his singles match to Cal’s Ben McLachlan, the Trojans beat the Bears 6-1. - Corey Marquetti | Daily Trojan

The clinching point over the Golden Bears came courtesy of No. 17 senior Daniel Nguyen, who defeated No. 57 Carlos Cueto 6-4, 6-2 to give the Trojans a 4-0 lead.

USC began the day with its seventh straight sweep in doubles, giving the Trojans an early 1-0 advantage.

The effort was headlined by senior Steve Johnson and freshman Roberto Quiroz, who captured their 11th straight win together with a 8-3 victory over No. 3 Nick Andrews and Christoffer Konigsfeldt.

“All of us have been working hard in doubles and working on the small things,” Nguyen said. “We’re gaining a lot of confidence together, and hopefully we can keep it rolling.”

Before Nguyen’s clincher, Johnson took down No. 55 Andrews 6-2, 6-2 for his 57th straight singles win, while No. 34 freshman Yannick Hanfmann defeated Konigsfeldt 7-5, 6-2.

“I needed that match today. I think it was the best performance by me in a couple weeks. I needed some confidence, and I got it from today’s match,” Hanfmann said.

With the victory in hand, No. 20 sophomore Ray Sarmiento fell to No. 41 Ben McLachlan 4-6, 2-6 for Cal’s only point of the match.

Quiroz and freshman Eric Johnson then capped off USC’s 6-1 win with two straight set wins. Quiroz’s win marked his 14th straight singles victory.

The back-to-back was originally slated to begin with the matchup against the Golden Bears on Friday, but the match was delayed to Sunday because of rain. Instead, the Trojans began the weekend with a 7-0 win over the Cardinals.

After a sweep in doubles play led by Johnson and Quiroz’s win over No. 5 Bradley Klahn and Ryan Thacher, Hanfmann and Nguyen took their respective singles matches in straight sets.

With a 3-0 lead secured, No. 56 sophomore Emilio Gomez clinched USC’s victory over Stanford with a 6-2, 6-4 finish over John Morrissey.

No. 46 Klahn, who was the last player to give Johnson a singles loss in collegiate play last January, could not achieve the feat again, falling 3-6, 4-6 to the reigning NCAA singles champion.

Sarmiento and Quiroz took down their respective opponents in No. 30 Thatcher and Daniel Ho to cap off the perfect win.

The Trojans are now 132-33 all-time against the Golden Bears and 105-76 all-time against the Cardinal.

“It’s definitely a great confidence booster to beat some tough teams,” Nguyen said. “We had the mindset to seize that moment and play aggressively, and we executed.”

The Trojans will look to finish with an undefeated record in their regular season finale against No. 6 UCLA (19-2, 5-0) at 3 p.m. on Friday at Marks Tennis Stadium.

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