USC focused on beating Arizona, Utah

first_imgAfter an eventful weekend trip to the Bay Area, USC’s No. 3 men’s tennis team returns to Marks Stadium today to kick off a four-game home stretch against a number of Pac-12 opponents.Return to action · Freshman Max de Vroome (above) is hoping to play this weekend after missing the past month with a wrist injury. – Ralf Cheung | Daily TrojanThe Trojans (18-2, 1-0 Pac-12) are coming off of a 6-1 thrashing of Stanford, which extended USC’s winning streak to six in a row and secured head coach Peter Smith’s 500th career win.The Trojans were impressive in singles play, taking all six matches against the Cardinal, but dropped the doubles point for the first time since their home loss to UCLA on Feb. 22.“Our doubles wasn’t where it should be against Stanford,” Smith said. “We didn’t play as a team out there. … I don’t like to see us outcompeted and I feel like we were outcompeted at Stanford.”The Trojans were going to have the chance to redeem their doubles play in an Easter match against the California Golden Bears, but the match was canceled because of rain and will not be rescheduled. The Trojans are now setting their sights on their upcoming Pac-12 opponents, the No. 71 Arizona Wildcats and the No. 75 Utah Utes.Though the Wildcats (10-8, 0-2), opened up their season with five consecutive wins, they have struggled to find their rhythm since then, most recently falling to the then-No. 42 Oregon Ducks. Arizona’s roster features no ranked players in singles or doubles.Similarly, the Utes (11-7, 1-1) won six games in a row to begin their season before falling off. Unlike Arizona, though, they’ve been able to keep up some level of success. Utah is coming off of a 4-3 loss to the Washington Huskies but has some momentum coming into the match, as they are nationally ranked for the first time this season.Certain Trojans will be bringing their own personal momentum to this weekend’s matches as well. Sophomore Yannick Hanfmann, ranked No. 48 by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association, is undefeated in dual-match singles play this season, racking up 13 straight victories since his last defeat at the Sherwood Collegiate Cup on Jan. 19. USC’s three junior co-captains are all streaking as well, with No. 9 Ray Sarmiento winning seven straight and No. 6 Emilio Gomez and No. 87 Michael Grant winning six straight each.In addition to these steady contributors, USC anticipates the return of No. 102 freshman Max de Vroome, who sat out with a wrist injury for a month. This season has been fraught with growing pains for the freshman from the Netherlands, but he is taking his injury in stride and treating it as a learning experience.“In a lot of ways, it’s actually good because I can focus on a lot of different things which I would never focus on if I didn’t break my wrist,” de Vroome said.With the return of de Vroome, the team is eager to take on Arizona and Utah. The Trojans face a unique challenge against these teams, though, as the No. 71 Wildcats and the No. 75 Utes are the two lowest-ranked squads USC has faced this season since their doubleheader against unranked Loyola Marymount and San Francisco at the beginning of February. The team vows to not underestimate their opponents, though, like Sarmiento said they did in doubles at Stanford.“We didn’t prepare enough to win that doubles point,” Sarmiento said. “We’re definitely not going to make that same mistake. We’re going to go out there prepared and with good energy and that will take care of the rest.”Friday’s match against Arizona is set to begin at 1:30 p.m. Saturday’s match versus Utah will kick off at 1 p.m. Both matches will be played at Marks Tennis Stadium.last_img

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>