Mixed results for USC in final fall tournaments

Junior Stefan Dostanic hits a ball during a point.
Junior Stefan Dostanic began as the No. 64 seed in the singles bracket of the ITA National Fall Championships. (Eli Masket | Daily Trojan)

USC had five players in action this past weekend in what was the last fall competition for USC. Juniors Stefan Dostanic and Samuel Rubell competed in the ITA National Fall Championships, and freshman Peter Makk, graduate student Paul Barretto and junior Ryder Jackson contended in the Jack Kramer Classic.

No. 64 Dostanic started singles play this past Thursday in the round of 32 with a win over Kentucky graduate student Francois Musitelli 6-1, 6-4. Dostanic also picked up an upset win in the round of 16, knocking off Georgia Tech’s No. 31 Andres Martin 7-6 (5), 6-2 to advance to the quarterfinals. In the quarterfinals, he matched up with  Oklahoma State’s No. 20 Matej Vocel and lost in a hard fought match 6-7 (4), 6-4, 6-1.

Dostanic was one of USC’s most consistent singles players in the fall season with a 21-3 record in overall singles matches and a 19-3 record in doubles matches.

“The big thing for him is his presence on the court when he’s out at practice and not giving anything other than 100% while pushing the guys across from him to work as hard as he does,” Head Coach Brett Masi said in an interview with the Daily Trojan. “Overall, he has done a great job with his maturity on the court in terms of his everyday attitude and processing how he can improve his game.”

In doubles, Dostanic and Rubell started things off with a victory in the round of 32 against Montana State sophomores Panik Matej and Daan Van Dijk 6-3, 6-2, but the duo came up short in the round of 16 to Charlotte’s redshirt freshman Coy Simon and sophomore Stefanos Savva 6-4, 6-4. Although Dostanic and Rubell’s tournament ended in the round of 16, the duo was still one of the most dominant for USC this fall as they entered the competition with an undefeated 5-0 record and finished with an overall record of 6-1.

“[Dostanic and Rubell] get along well, and with doubles, it’s all about chemistry and in some instances some guys don’t get along very well but they just play well together,” Masi said. “Their personalities and their character match hand in hand while also being good friends off the court.”

Dostanic finished the fall season with a 21-2 record in overall doubles matches and a 20-2 record in doubles dual matches. Rubell concluded his fall season and his first with the Trojans after transferring from Duke.

At the Jack Kramer Classic, USC was unable to pick up any victories. In the round of 32, Makk lost to redshirt sophomore Marvin Schaber of USD 6-3, 6-0, Barretto fell to SDSU sophomore Johannes Seeman 6-2, 6-3, and Jackson’s match against redshirt sophomore Joe Leather of Cal Poly ended in a walkover due to an injury Jackson sustained.

Injuries held USC back from making deeper runs in the tournament. 

“We tried to get them to go out and play, but our guys weren’t 100%,” Masi said. “I applaud their efforts to go out there and try to play, but they just couldn’t go.”

Makk finished his fall season with a singles record of 5-4; Barretto ended up with a 4-8 singles record and Jackson finished with a solid 7-3 record in singles. Makk and Barretto are just a few of some of the new additions to a deep team that will look to build on their fall success this spring.

“[Makk, Barretto and Rubell] have all been excellent for us this fall for sure and all these guys are going to play an integral part for us in the spring,” Masi said.

USC looks to use its fall competitions as opportunities to build chemistry and prepare for play in the spring.

“Five out of the seven tournaments we played in we either finaled or won the tournament in some capacity whether it was doubles or singles, which shows we had a pretty successful fall season,” Masi said. “The way that guys are playing and not falling into old habits while playing at the capacity they’re capable of are all positives.”

USC will have some time to rest and prepare for the start of the spring season Jan. 15, where the team will compete in the Sherwood Cup in Thousand Oaks, Calif.