MENâ€™S TENNIS FALLS IN FIRST ROUND OF THE NCAA TOURNAMENT TO SECOND-RANKED USC
LOS ANGELES — USC’s Steve Johnson, Daniel Nguyen and Ray Sarmiento each posted straight-set victories to lead second-ranked USC to a 4-0 victory over Sacramento State in the first round of the NCAA Men’s Tennis Tournament Friday afternoon at Marks Stadium.
Sacramento State, which concludes its season with a 14-14 record, was making its eighth NCAA Tournament appearance in the last 13 years. The Hornets earned an automatic berth into the postseason event after winning the Big Sky Conference Tournament last month.
USC, who is ranked second in the nation and drew the No. 2 seed in the 64-team tournament field, improved to 22-2. The Trojans will now take on San Diego (19-6) in the second round of the tournament tomorrow at noon. San Diego defeated BYU earlier today, 4-0, to advance to the second round.
Sacramento State and USC were playing for the second time this season and third time ever. The Trojans, who are now 3-0 all-time against Sacramento State, posted a 6-1 victory over the Hornets this year in Los Angeles in both teams’ season openers.
While Sacramento State’s season comes to a close today as a team, Hornet senior Kiryl Harbatsiuk will be making an appearance in the NCAA Singles Championships later this month (May 25) at the Taube Tennis Center in Stanford, Calif.
In today’s match, the Trojans, who have four players ranked among the top 50 in the nation, won two of the three doubles matches to earn the point and take a 1-0 lead. The highlight of the day for Sacramento State came at No. 1 doubles where Harbatsiuk and Marko Starcevic posted an 8-2 win over 22nd-ranked Jaak Poldma and JT Sundling. However, the Trojans received victories at No. 2 (Johnson/Emilio Gomez) and No. 3 (Nguyen/Sarmiento) to earn the doubles point.
Johnson (6-1, 6-2 at No. 1), Nguyen (6-3, 6-2 at No. 3) and Sarmiento (6-2, 6-1 at No. 4) were each victorious in singles play to give USC the victory. Johnson is the top ranked player in the nation while Nguyen (No. 44) and Sarmiento (No. 47) are also ranked among the nation’s top 50 collegiate players. The Trojans were also leading in the other singles matches before play was stopped because USC had the necessary four points to clinch the win.
Johnson’s win came against Harbatsiuk, who saw his 23-match singles winning streak come to an end. Harbatsiuk, who is ranked 29th in the nation, finishes the spring dual-match season with a 23-3 record in singles play.
Sacramento State was making its eighth NCAA Tournament appearance (1999, 2001-03, 2007, 2009-11) since joining the Div. I ranks in 1992. In addition, the team has won nine Big Sky Tournament titles in the last 14 years (1998-99, 2001-03, 2007, 2009-11).
Tennis Match Results
Sacramento State vs USC
May 13, 2011 at Los Angeles, Calif.
#2 USC 4, Sacramento State 0
1. #1 Steve Johnson (USC) def. #29 HARBATSIUK, Kiryl (SACMEN) 6-1, 6-2
2. #38 Jaak Poldma (USC) vs. SMITH, Jason (SACMEN) 6-1, 4-1, unfinished
3. #44 Daniel Nguyen (USC) def. STARCEVIC, Marko (SACMEN) 6-3, 6-2
4. #47 Ray Sarmiento (USC) def. MILLAN, Javier (SACMEN) 6-2, 6-1
5. Emilio Gomez (USC) vs. MALKO, Aliaksandr (SACMEN) 6-2, 2-1, unfinished
6. Peter Lucassen (USC) vs. LORENTZEN, Josh (SACMEN) 6-3, 2-4, unfinished
1. HARBATSIUK, Kiryl/STARCEVIC, Marko (SACMEN) def. #22 Jaak Poldma/JT Sundling (USC) 8-2
2. Steve Johnson/Emilio Gomez (USC) def. MALKO, Aliaksandr/SMITH, Jason (SACMEN) 8-0
3. Daniel Nguyen/Ray Sarmiento (USC) def. MILLAN, Javier/LORENTZEN, Josh (SACMEN) 8-3
Sacramento State 14-14
USC 22-2; National ranking #2
NCAA Tournament First Round Match