Men’s tennis secures Intercollegiate Championships 

USC dominated having a singles finale featuring all USC players, along with a doubles crown. 

The Trojans finished the weekend with a sweep, tallying 12 main draw singles victories and four main draw doubles victories. (Sarah Ruiz / Daily Trojan)

The Socal Intercollegiate Championships, hosted by USC, concluded Sunday. The tournament saw some of the top players from around the country compete for the ITA championships in singles and doubles. Five Trojans suited up to play in the tournament, with four making the finals Sunday. 

USC put up a strong showing, earning first place in singles courtesy of senior Lodewijk Weststrate. The Trojans brought home the doubles title thanks to the duo of graduate Samuel Rubell and senior Niroop Vallabhaneni. 

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Home court was a huge advantage for the Trojans — the crowd was loud throughout the four-day-long tournament, with parents and students alike cheering on their Trojans.

“It’s fun to play at home being at home all week long and it was also good preparation for the Spring when we play real matches,” Weststrate said in an interview with the Daily Trojan

Rubell and Vallabhaneni steamrolled through their rounds with brilliant team play and cohesion.  The duo has done this in spite of Vallabhaneni transferring to USC recently.  

“It was just fun to be on the court with Niroop, we’ve been friends for a while now, so it was fun to play in the event with him,” Rubell said. “It goes beyond the court, we are super close off the court, gone through alot together and I feel very comfortable when we are competing together.” 

In the round of 16, Rubell and Vallabhaneni defeated Nebraska junior Anton Shepp and sophomore Nikolay Sysoev 6-3, solidifying a spot in the quarterfinals. In the quarterfinals, they showed off their incredible team chemistry in a rout of Rice sophomore Kabeer Kaspasi and junior Arthus de la Bassetiere 6-2. 

They continued to excel in the semifinals again, not letting the opponents get past three games.  The schedule forced the duo to play the semifinals and finals on the same day, but that did not stop the pair from dominating Portland to close the tournament.

In singles, junior Karl Lee also had an impressive showing during the weekend. Lee cruised through his games, not letting one match get to a third set. 

Weststrate’s tournament almost ended early in the round of 32. It was a back-and-forth match, with Weststrate ultimately prevailing. The match went the distance with Weststrate defeating Cal Poly redshirt senior Fernando Fonseca 7-5, 4-6, 6-4.

The finals were set with teammates matching up to decide a champion. They saw Westrate and Lee face off for the singles crown in what was an all-USC final. Weststrate pulled off the decisive win, which ended in a double tie-break finish. The two teammates embraced each other during a fun, spirited end to the tournament. 

“It’s fun to play a fellow Trojan in the final,” Weststrate said. “We both did well in the tournament and I would much rather play a teammate in the finals than someone else.” 

Head Coach Brett Masi was extremely pleased with the team’s play, coaching them to their resounding performance throughout the tournament. Masi’s work with the team in the offseason has translated, and with the season around the corner, he has the team set on bigger goals. 

“I think the guys did a good job competing well and having good intensity every single day,” Masi said. “Being here on the last day and to win the tournament was something they set out to do and they did it. Seeing some things that they did along the way like in doubles and in singles like the practice habits that we’ve been working on for a couple months now are coming into fruition.”


The Trojans will take a few days off before heading to San Diego to compete in the ITA National Fall Championships from Wednesday through Sunday.

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