USC rolls into quarterfinals
Trojans extend winning streak to 17 matches with sweep
STANFORD, CALIF. – No. 2 USC surrendered only one doubles match en route to tacking up a 4-0 win against No. 15 seed Georgia Tech in the NCAA Round of 16 at Taube Tennis Stadium. The Trojans have muscled their way into the NCAA Quarterfinals for the fifth season in a row as USC looks to win its third consecutive national championship. USC now holds a 24-2 overall record and takes a 17-match winning streak into the NCAA Quarterfinals against No. 10 seed Kentucky at 3 p.m. ET on Saturday.
Georgia Tech took the first step forward in doubles play as the No. 14 Yellow Jacket combo of Kevin King and Juan Spir worked ahead of USC’s No. 22 Jaak Poldma and JT Sundling for an 8-3 decision on court one. The Trojans were taking control on the other two courts, however. Daniel Nguyen and Ray Sarmiento took a 4-1 lead on the way to an 8-2 win against Guillermo Gomez and Dean O'Brien on court three to get USC in good position. At the No. 2 slot, Emilio Gomez and Steve Johnson shrugged off a tight first stretch, turning the tide on Eliot Potvin and Ryan Smith by digging out of a 4-3 deficit to win five consecutive games and lock in the doubles point for USC with their 8-4 win.
The Trojans kept rolling in singles. While Johnson, the Pac-10 Player of the Year was engaged in battle on court one with No. 14 Gomez, the ACC Player of the Year, the rest of the Trojans were creating some distance between themselves and their Yellow Jacket opponents. USC snagged first-set wins down the line on courts one through five, with the Trojan freshmen pounding their ways out of reach first.
Gomez wrapped up Magin Ortiga with a swift 6-1, 6-1 win on court five to bump USC ahead 2-0 in the match. On court four No. 47 Sarmiento followed suit with a 6-2, 6-0 win against Eliot Potvin. Up 3-0 with the lead in hand on all courts, it was a race to see who would clinch for the Trojans. Jaak Poldma, ranked 38th nationally, had pinned up the first set win of the day against No. 82 Spir, then went on to put the finishing touches on the match with a 6-2, 6-4 victory. His match point win came just a breath ahead of No. 44 Nguyen’s final blast on court three versus King. Johnson’s match against Gomez was suspended with the Trojan junior up 6-4, 3-3, and senior Peter Lucassen was up 5-3 on O’Brien on court six.