One of the most decorated national championship programs that flies under the radar is actually men's and women's tennis, both of which kicked off the 2014 spring season in promising fashion over this MLK weekend.
USC's women's tennis team started their spring seasons with a strong showing at the Freeman Memorial Tennis Championships. The big winners on the weekend were Trojan doubles duo Giuliana Olmos and Zoë Scandalis, who streaked to the title match, where the Women of Troy took down a UCLA pair in Sunday's championship bout.
USC men's tennis squad sent eight Trojans out to start the spring season with intense competition at the Sherwood Collegiate Cup, which took place locally in Westlake, Calif. Freshman Connor Farren and junior Robert Quiroz had the strongest runs in the singles main draw, earning trips to the quarterfinal round.
Ranked No. 7 in the nation, the Trojans' women's duo registered solid wins in their first two matches before pulling off a 7-5 win in the semis to move into the title match against guess who, the UCLA Bruins.
The Guiliana Olmos and Zoë Scandalis tandem, who have defeated top-20 opponents all throughout the fall tennis slate, defeated UCLA's Harrison/McPhillips 6-4 to secure the one-set championship bout.
On the men's side of things, USC had three Trojans playing in their first spring competition, with newcomers Connor Farren, Nick Crystal and Rob Bellamy lined up in the singles draw. Farren won his first match for USC, after officially arriving to school this spring, advancing all the way to the tournament quarterfinals before losing to UCLA.
MEN: Head coach Peter Smith: 4x-National Championship Coach (w/ USC)
|01/25/14||Georgia St. vs. Wichita St.||Marks Stadium||8:00 a.m. PT|
|vs. USC vs. Santa Clara||Marks Stadium||11:00 a.m. PT|
|01/26/14||Consolation Match||Marks Stadium||10:00 a.m. PT|
|Championship Match||Marks Stadium||1:00 p.m. PT|
WOMEN: Head coach Richard Gallien: 4x-Pac-12 Coach of the Year (w/ USC)
|01/24/14||Saint Mary's vs. Utah||Marks Stadium||10:00 a.m. PT|
|vs. USC vs. North Texas||Marks Stadium||1:00 p.m. PT|
|01/25/14||Consolation Match||Marks Stadium||2:00 p.m. PT|
|Championship Match||Marks Stadium||5:00 p.m. PT|
|01/30/14||vs. Pepperdine||Marks Stadium||3:00 p.m. PT|
Both squads enter the season ranked inside the top 5.
After losing in the NCAA quarterfinals last year, breaking up the opportunity for five-consecutive national championships, the Trojans kick off their 2014 campaign ranked No. 4 in the nation.
The USC women have earned the No. 5 national ranking after claiming the Pac-12 Championship last season before losing to the eventual National Champion Stanford in the quarterfinals.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
#10 Ray Sarmiento
#32 Yannick Hanfmann
#67 Jonny Wang
#70 Michael Grant
#113 Roberto Quiroz
#13 Sabrina Santamaria
#60 Giuliana Olmos
#80 Gabriella DeSimone
#96 Brynn Boren
#3 Brynn Boren / Zoë Katz
#7 Giuliana Olmos / Zoë Scandalis
#33 Kaitlyn Christian / Sabrina Santamaria