No. 3 USC swats UC Irvine
Trojans record their fifth consecutive 20-win season
LOS ANGELES, Calif. -- No. 3 USC took early control of its nonconference foe UC Irvine on Tuesday, as the Trojans rolled past the visiting No. 49 Anteaters for a 7-0 sweep. USC improves its overall mark to 20-2 to secure its fifth consecutive 20-win season. The Trojans now take aim at wrapping up their first undefeated Pac-10 season since 1987 when USC heads across town to take on No. 9 UCLA on Friday.
USC opened up its last regular-season home match with a dominating effort on the doubles courts. Sparked by senior captain Jaak Poldma's power play with teammate JT Sundling on court one, the Trojans built up a strong head of steam going into singles play. No. 32 Poldma/Sundling took down UC Irvine's No. 40 Kearney/Stege 8-2 first, and then Emilio Gomez and Steve Johnson served up an 8-3 win at No. 2 against Cheung/Matthews. On court three, USC's Daniel Nguyen and Ray Sarmiento teamed up on UCI's Gould/Kazarian for an 8-4 win that launched the teams into singles action.
A string of straight-set wins set up the Trojans with the win, with No. 55 Ray Sarmiento starting the trend with his 6-1, 6-3 win at No. 4 against Ryan Cheung. The Trojans made sure to pad leads all the way down the line, and the path to victory was paved by USC's two seniors. No. 35 senior Jaak Poldma got the job done first with a 6-3, 6-2 win against Sam Gould on court two, bumping up his win streak to a hefty 19 in a row. Then, his fellow senior Peter Lucassen clinched the match for his Trojans with a 6-2, 6-1 win at No. 6 against Ryan Mayer.
With the win locked away, USC freshman Emilio Gomez followed suit with a smooth 6-1, 6-3 victory against Stephen Stege on court five, and then No. 38 Daniel Nguyen made it a 6-0 USC advantage with his 6-4, 6-1 win against Shan Sondhu at the No. 2 slot. Meanwhile, a battle was raging on court one, with top-ranked Steve Johnson falling behind in the second set tiebreaker against UC Irvine's No. 41 Chris Kearney. Johnson would regroup in the third set to hammer out a 10-2 win capped off with an ace to pocket the junior No. 1's 19th consecutive singles win with the 6-4, 6-7 (4), 1-0 (10-2) decision against Kearney.