Tuesday, May 24, 2011
Men's tennis wins third straight national title
By Pedro Moura
USC coach Peter Smith and the Trojans men's tennis team won their third consecutive NCAA championship Tuesday, beating previously undefeated Virginia 4-3 in the title game on Stanford's campus in Palo Alto.
Junior Daniel Nguyen secured the victory with a dramatic three-set win over the Cavaliers' Sanam Singh. Nguyen, who won the first set 7-5 and then lost the second set 6-0 before beating Singh 6-4 in the clincher, also clinched USC's title in 2010 with another three-set win over Tennessee.
The Trojans, ranked second in the nation entering the tournament, lost only two matches this season -- on back-to-back days in February at ITA indoor championships against Duke and Stanford. No. 1 seeded Virginia hadn't lost at all, although USC did knock off the Cavaliers in the NCAA tournament in each of the last two years.
USC has only two seniors, meaning the majority of its team could conceivably return for a run at a four-peat next season. One issue: the Trojans' best player, national No. 1 singles player Steve Johnson, a junior, is deferring from school in the fall to play pro tournaments.
He's not leaving school just yet, but his move is generally the first made when top collegiate tennis stars jump up to the pro ranks.