Tennis faces UCLA for third rematch

first_imgThe No. 6 ranked Trojans will face crosstown rival No. 8 UCLA once more, this time for the Pac-12 regular season championship on Friday on the road in Westwood. The winner of the regular season title game will receive the top seeding for the upcoming Pac-12 Championships which will kick off on April 26 at Libbey Park in Ojai, Calif. After an early ending to last year’s postseason run, the Trojans look to give themselves the best possible position to start this season’s conference and national tournaments.In two matches against the Bruins this season, the Trojans have split a win and a loss. In the opening round of the ITA National Team Indoor Championships in February, the Trojans lost 4-3. Just a few weeks later, the Trojans earned a win at home via a score of 4-1. Both meetings between the two rivals have been in nonconference play, and the stakes will be much higher in this matchup.Both the Trojans and Bruins are each fresh off a set of wins heading into Friday’s matchup. Last week the Trojans beat Arizona and Utah 4-0 and 7-0, respectively, as did the Bruins, 4-0 and 4-2.  The Trojans’ Friday matchup is their only match of the week, while the Bruins play Cal Lutheran on Wednesday in nonconference play.Heading into Friday’s Pac-12 clash, both USC and UCLA have players ranked in the Oracle/ITA Rankings. Freshman Brandon Holt stands as the highest ranked Trojan with a No. 22 ranking while Logan Smith tops off the singles charts with an overall No. 79 ranking. As for doubles, freshman duo Holt and his partner Riley Smith made their way into the top 10 this week with an overall No. 10 ranking, while senior Nick Crystal and his partner sophomore Laurens Verboven hold their ranking at No. 85.As for the Bruins, Gage Brymer clocks in at No. 21 in singles while Martin Redlicki tops off the Bruins at No. 57. In doubles, Redlicki and Evan Zhu are the only ranked Bruins in doubles play with an overall No. 12 ranking. As the regular season comes to a close, the Trojans have claimed their 10th 20-win season in the past 11 years and USC head coach Peter Smith earned his 600th career win at the end of March. With five national championships in the last eight years, Smith’s Trojans hope to use the momentum from their historic season into a deep run not only in the Pac-12 championships, but also the NCAA playoffs. The Trojans, who were knocked out unexpectedly in the Round of 16 last year, have already built upon their 2016 record of 17-4. Having only lost one senior and gained two strong freshmen, the Trojans are filled with veteran talent and have their sights set on championship number six. The road to that title begins for the Trojans on Friday.last_img

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