Men’s tennis to compete in ITA Championship

Sophomore Bradley Frye, one of USC’s eight nationally ranked men’s players, had a doubles win with senior Riley Smith against Wisconsin. (Daily Trojan file photo)

The No. 1 USC men’s tennis team will continue its toughest stretch of the season on the road, preparing for action at the ITA Team Indoor Championship over Friday through Monday.

The Trojans bounced back from Sunday’s tough loss at No. 2 Ohio State with a convincing 6-1 victory over Wisconsin Tuesday in Madison. USC pulled off a hard-fought doubles win before conquering five consecutive singles wins, securing another road win. 

Freshman Stefan Dostanic and senior Riley Smith opened Tuesday’s play by giving the Trojans a 1-0 lead with a 6-3 victory over the host. USC then continued its hot start as Smith and sophomore Bradley Frye took another 2 points to improve the score to 3-0.

Top-ranked junior Daniel Cukierman clinched the victory for the Trojans by defeating his opponents in a 6-2, 6-3 match, and play continued as USC wrapped up the day with a 6-1 victory. 

Head coach Brett Masi praised the team’s impressive performance after the victory.

“We’re just more comfortable playing indoors today,” Masi said. “Guys went on and played with a good purpose after the tough Ohio State loss, [and] they are aiming to perform well in national indoor on Friday.”

The Trojans have received contributions from several players this season, as USC has eight ranked in singles competition. Cukierman headlines the squad, while sophomore Mor Bulis and senior Brandon Holt are both ranked in the top-25 nationally. Five other Trojans, including Smith, Dostanic, freshman Ryder Jackson, sophomore Jake Sands and Frye are also nationally ranked in singles play.

“I don’t think [the ranking] has any pressure on us,” Masi said. “No matter what the rank is, it’s all about the end result of the season … There’s a whole lot to do until the end of May.”

Coming off another road victory, USC will hope to carry its early-season momentum into upcoming matches against other top-ranked programs in the country. 

Masi has high expectations for his players at the upcoming ITA Team Indoor Championship.

“We play a couple schools from outside of California, [so] we will see what the best of best is like,” Masi said. “The goal is to win it, but if we don’t, we’ll see what other teams have and what we can do better to improve.”

Coming in as the No. 2 seed in the draw, USC will open up the ITA Team Indoor Championship against TCU at 10 a.m. Friday to fight for a spot in the quarterfinals.

“The biggest thing is to get some rest, recover for the next few days,” Masi said. “Players are really focused and the goal is to win it on Friday.”