Yup they did it again, won another NCAA championship for the 4th time in a row for the second time at USC. This is the 20th time a USC men's tennis team has won the national championship, ending up 33-1 0n the year. This much had a strange twist of faith since we lost the doubles point, getting totally cooked by the Cavaliers after all three Trojan teams lead 3-1. But then as of yesterday the skies opened up and the rain came, causing about a 4 hour delay. They came out after the rain started warming up and then Thunder showers came so they went to play in the indoor facility again.
Now you couldn't watch any streaming and all you could do is get the scores and even that didn't work most of the time, why this wasn't televised by the tennis channel I don't know. So now indoor with only 4 courts, one thru four singles stepped onto the courts down 1-0. Steven Johnson was the first to win his 31st in a row with a 6-2, 6-2 score over #4 ranked Jarmere Jenkins (only 3 losses all year) to tie up the match 1-1, then Emilio Gomez finished off Drew Courtney 6-4, 6-2 to bring USC to 2-1 lead. But then the most unlikely thing happen Dan Nguyen's win streak at the NCAA championships ended 4th straight years and 23-0 he lost to the #2 ranked Mitchel Frank 6-3, 6-1, to pull even at 2-2.
Now there were still 3 matches to play with numbers 5 & 6 starting to play and Raymond Sarmiento finishing up, he came in with a 6-4, 7-5 win over Alex Domijan for USC to go up 3-2. So at five and six singles USC freshman Yannick Hanfmann and Roberto Quiroz were left to finish off the Cavs, a tough haul for newcomers. But after both split the first two sets Hanfmann came thru with a 6-4, 2-6, 7-6 win winning the tiebreaker 7-3 the same score as Dan Nguyen's clincher yesterday against UCLA.
Quotes from coach and Players
USC Head Coach Peter Smith
On the match...
“I think that sometimes you inspire your team and sometimes your team inspires you. I went back to my hotel room [after doubles] and to be honest I couldn’t visualize it. That was hard for me. I get a few pep talks, went in there, faked it pretty good to the team and you know, these guys really stepped up.”
On the streak...
“I considered the possibility that it was going to end in the semis or the finals. You’re a coach you are always thinking of different things, but once you are out there you don’t think like that, it’s just about competing. Me, I am competing on every match and I was just trying to stay focused on Yannick’s match and just really compete and compete as hard as my players did. You’re just in the moment. It’s not about winning or losing it’s just about trying to do the right things.”
On the clinch...
“It was tough for us. The last two matches were going to be two freshmen against a sophomore and a senior. That was going to be tough but you know those guys, tradition lives on and it’s unbelievable.
On the team...
“I went in there and we talked about equating this doubles loss to our loss against UCLA. When we lost to UCLA I felt like that helped us a lot. I said ‘our backs are against the wall, lets just go out and play and play hard and stop worrying.’”
USC’s Yannick Hanfmann
On the clinch...
“It’s not just me; the whole team was just competing and playing their asses off like coach wanted us to do. I think that we all did that. Just seeing everybody playing so hard it was just inspiration for me. I am lucky I finished that well.”
USC’s Steve Johnson
On the team...
“It’s a different kind of stress. I trust Yannick and I trust Roberto out there and never did a doubt cross my mind that they weren’t going to get the job done. You know it’s just hard to watch. As a tennis player it comes down to you usually and it’s not this team format. Usually the ball is in your court and you are able to control it. To have it out of your control is just stressful to watch.”
MEN: #1 SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA (33-1) def. #3 VIRGINIA (29-2), 4-2
Head Coaches: Peter Smith (SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA) and Brian Boland (VIRGINIA)
Doubles (Order of finish: 2,3)
1. #2 Steve Johnson/Roberto Quiroz (SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA) vs. #5 Drew Courtney/Jarmere Jenkins (VIRGINIA), 6-5, unfinished
2. Alex Domijan/Mitchell Frank (VIRGINIA) def. Emilio Gomez/Yannick Hanfmann (SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA), 8-5
3. Julen Uriguen/Justin Shane (VIRGINIA) def. #35 Daniel Nguyen/Ray Sarmiento (SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA), 8-4
Singles (Order of finish: 1,4,3,2,5*)
1. #1 Steve Johnson (SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA) def. #4 Jarmere Jenkins (VIRGINIA), 6-3, 6-2
2. #25 Ray Sarmiento (SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA) def. #39 Alex Domijan (VIRGINIA), 6-4, 7-5
3. #2 Mitchell Frank (VIRGINIA) def. #21 Daniel Nguyen (SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA), 6-3, 6-1
4. #57 Emilio Gomez (SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA) def. Drew Courtney (VIRGINIA), 6-4, 6-2
5. #51 Yannick Hanfmann (SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA) def. #82 Justin Shane (VIRGINIA), 6-4, 2-6, 7-6(4)
6. Roberto Quiroz (SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA) vs. Julen Uriguen (VIRGINIA), 2-6, 6-7(3), 3-4, unfinished