Women’s tennis hits the road while men’s comes home

Junior Brandon Holt has won two Pac-12 Player of the Week awards and is the No. 12 singles player in the nation. (Emily Smith/Daily Trojan)

Both the men’s and women’s tennis teams have been enjoying their fair share of success so far this season. The men’s and women’s teams, ranked No. 11 and No. 13 in the nation, respectively, have shown teams across the U.S. that they are a threat. The men’s team is currently second in the Pac-12  only behind UCLA, while the women are third in the conference behind Stanford and Washington.

The men’s team looks to capitalize on its home advantage in each of its four remaining matches. The Trojans are coming off a close 4-3 loss to UCLA last Friday, the end of a brutal four-match road trip over the last two weeks. Nonetheless, the Trojans finished their road trip 3-1, winning their first three matches against Texas, Cal and Stanford. Holding a record of 13-7, the Trojans look to make a statement as they start their last home stand this Friday against Washington.

“Everything is going pretty well,” junior Brandon Holt said. “We started off a little slower than we expected but we’re in the part of the season that counts, so all the other stuff that happened earlier is all behind us and I think we all learned from it pretty well.”

With seven ranked singles players and one ranked doubles team, the men certainly look like a contender in the Pac-12. With that said, USC knows its best chance of winning the Pac-12 is to win out and hope the Bruins lose at least one match.

One emerging player for the Trojans is Holt, who was recently ranked the No. 12 singles player in the nation. With one match-clinching singles win against Florida this year and earning an unprecedented two Pac-12 Player of the Week honors this season, Holt looks to carry the team as the season winds down.

“Being around such a great team, such great coaches, I think it gives you the opportunity to grow as a player and a person,” Holt said. “As far as my game goes, I think I improved in every part of my game pretty significantly.”

On the other hand, the Huskies have not had a great season. Currently last place in the Pac-12 with a 6-13 overall record, the Huskies have been struggling in both singles and doubles. With no ranked singles competitors and only one ranked doubles team (the No. 75 team of sophomore Jack Davis and senior Piers Foley), the Huskies are looking to pull a major upset when they take on the Trojans.

The women’s team has been one of the hottest in the nation, winning 12 of its last 14 matches. Holding an overall record of 16-4, the Trojans hope to go into the Pac-12 Championships on a hot streak. However, they will need to bounce back from a tough loss to Pepperdine Tuesday to do so. Head coach Alison Swain and the Trojans look to make a major turnaround when they travel to Seattle for a matchup against the Huskies.

With only three regular season matches left, the Trojans will have to play two of their last three on the road. However, the Trojans appear unfazed by this prospect as they have only two road losses on the season.

If USC wants any chance of winning the Pac-12 title, it will have to rely on star freshman Salma Ewing. Ranked as the No. 46 singles player in the nation, Ewing has won 19 of 29 singles matches this season. Ewing was on a hot streak before losing this past Tuesday, winning her previous three singles matches.

“We’re all building so much character and we all have so much heart, so when we go out here and fight together, we’re unbeatable,” Ewing said.

Washington’s women’s team is talented as well. With an overall record of 16-2 and a conference record of 6-1, Washington has been firing on all cylinders this season. This will not be an easy game for the Trojans, who will enter a stadium where the Huskies have lost just one match the entire season.

The men’s tennis team hosts Washington 3 p.m. Friday, while the women’s team takes on the Huskies 1:30 p.m. Friday in Seattle.