USC men’s tennis gears up for Pac-12 tourney

The No. 7 USC men’s tennis will compete in the annual Pac-12 championships on Thursday. The Trojans, fresh off a loss to crosstown rival UCLA, secured the No. 3 seed for the tournament with their 5-2 conference record. They will compete in a quarterfinal match against Utah or No. 48 Washington to kick off play.

UCLA won the matchup against USC in the regular season finale and secured the top seeding. Based off their conference record, Cal secured the No. 2 spot. Both teams will automatically compete in semifinal matchups in separate brackets. Should USC walk away with a win against Utah or Washington, it will then face Cal. The winner will go to the championship matchup on Saturday.

In 2016, the Trojans secured the No. 2 seed, only to lose to Cal by a score of 4-1. UCLA beat Cal by that same score to win the title. The Trojans have had luck in previous Pac-12 Championships, taking home the title in 2012 and 2015. In 2012 the Trojans also won the NCAA Division I Tennis Championship, with Steve Johnson taking the men’s singles championship as well.

Heading into this year’s tournament, the Trojans have two players ranked in singles competition as well as two doubles pairs. Freshman Brandon Holt stands at the top of the list with his individual No. 23 ranking. Sophomore Logan Smith follows Holt at No. 82. In doubles, freshman duo of Holt and Riley Smith stand at No. 11, while senior Nick Crystal and sophomore Laurens Verboven come in at No. 80 to round things out.

Seeking their sixth national championship in eight years, the Trojans will begin their journey once again this week.