Southern California Athletics
THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. — USC kicked off the 2011 season as Steve Johnson reached the singles title match of the Sherwood Collegiate Cup while his Trojan teammates managed to sweep the consolation crowns. JT Sundling rebounded from an opening loss to work his way to the consolation singles title, while replicating that effort on the doubles courts alongside Daniel Nguyen.
Johnson squared off against teammate Ray Sarmiento in the semifinals for the right to move into the singles title match. Top-seeded Johnson took care of the freshman Trojan to the tune of a 6-1, 6-0 decision that carried Johnson to the championship. In the opposite semifinal, another Trojan was doing battle for the chance to face Johnson in the final match, although No. 3 seed Daniel Nguyen couldn’t get past No. 2 seed Bradley Klahn of Stanford. That put Johnson up against the Cardinal in the championship match where Klahn got up a break in both sets to keep some space between himself and Johnson. The Stanford player registered a 6-2, 6-4 win over Johnson to wrap up the crown.
In consolation action, Sundling beat Baylor’s Julien Bley in the semifinals with a tough 6-3, 1-6, 6-1 three-set victory to secure a place in the final. Peter Lucassen was in the other consolation semifinal against UCLA’s Maxime Tabatruong, and the Trojan senior came up just short by falling 4-6, 6-4, 1-0 (2) to Tabatruong. Tabatruong pulled out of the final match due to injury, giving Sundling the consolation singles title.
It was a similar story on the doubles side of consolation play. Nguyen and Sundling had pinned up a strong 8-4 win over Baylor’s Ramirez/Veraal in the consolation semifinals, only to have their opponents for the title match — Baylor’s Gangiero/Rux — opt out of the match due to injury to leave the Trojans with the title.