The USC Men’s and Women’s tennis teams have both locked top-five positions for the 2013 NCAA Tennis Championships that culminate in Urbana Illinois, which is slated to begin next week.
Both teams are hosting first and second rounds at Marks Stadium from May 10-12 in an effort to make return trips to the NCAA Round of 16. The Women of Troy (21-2) reached the NCAA Semi-Finals last season before losing to cross-town rival UCLA. The back-to-back Pac-12 champions will be the fifth seed in the bracket.
The USC Men (23-4) are the four-time defending champions who are looking to make history as the first five-time defending champions in school history. USC has quite the history of dominating men’s tennis, winners of 20 National Championships including championship titles in 7 of 8 seasons from 1962 to 1969 under legendary head coach George Toley.
The men’s competition will run May 10 and 11, and women’s competition May 11 and 12 from Mark’s Tennis Stadium. In the men’s competition, a reunion of epic proportions takes place as former USC assistant coaches Brett Masi (San Diego) and George Husack (Alabama) will square in the first round. The winner of that tilt will face the winner of the Trojans and Sacramento State; both matches will take place on Friday.
The Sacramento State Hornets will be featured on both the men’s and women’s side, as they square with the Women of Troy on Saturday. In the other matchup, Northern California foes UC Irvine and San Jose State are set to battle in the Saturday morning affair.
The schedule will be rather hectic at Mark’s Tennis Stadium, but here is how the madness will shake out over the weekend:
2013 NCAA MEN’S TENNIS
Friday, May 10 – First Round
11 a.m. — No. 4 USC (23-4) vs. Sacramento State (17-12)
2 p.m. — San Diego (17-9) vs. Alabama (14-13)
Saturday, May 11 – Second Round
3 p.m. — Winners Matchup
2013 NCAA WOMEN’S TENNIS
Saturday, May 11 – First Round
9 a.m. — UC Irvine (22-4) vs. San Jose State (19-5)
12 p.m. — No. 5 USC (21-2) vs. Sacramento State (13-13)
Sunday, May 12 – Second Round
12 p.m. — Winners Matchup
The first weekend of match ups should not pose that much of a threat for both squads so let’s take a look at some the expected Sweet 16 scenarios, which will be played in Urbana Illinois.
1. UCLA Bruins (24-1)
The Trojans started off hot against UCLA, pulling out their first meeting 4-3, but have struggled after that impressive victory. They lost their next three tilts to finish the season on a skid. The last meeting between these two teams resulted in a 4-2 UCLA victory in the Pac-12 Championship.
2. Virginia (24-0)
The Bruins may be the top seed but do not sleep on the Virginia Cavaliers, who also defeated USC earlier this season in the Championship Game of the ITA National Team Indoor Championships. These two teams have bad blood between them, as the Trojans defeated Virginia last season to clinch their fourth-straight national championship.
3. Georgia (22-4)
The Georgia Bulldogs are the best squad of the SEC, and they will be quite the foe if the Trojans were to meet them in the National Championship. The Trojans defeated Georgia 4-1 the last time these two teams met, back when Steve Johnson and Daniel Nguyen were leading the squad.
5. Ohio State (31-2)
The Ohio State Buckeyes are the prohibitive favorite to meet the Trojans in the Elite 8, if both teams are to reach that point. The last time these two teams met was in 2012 when the Trojans defeated the Buckeyes 4-3 in the ITA National Indoor Championships. Head Coach Ty Tucker’s squad lost to USC in the 2009 National Championship, propelling the first of four-straight titles.
1. Florida (22-2)
The Florida Gators earned the top seed in the tournament by steam rolling the competition in the vaunted SEC Tournament. The Gators defeated Georgia and Texas A&M in convincing fashion, after starting the tournament as a three-seed. They also defeated UNC 4-2 in a thrilling match, solidifying their place as the top-ranked team. If the chips fall their way, this squad could capture their second-straight National Title.
2. UNC (25-3)
The UNC Tar Heels rose from seemingly nowhere to the top spot in the rankings by notching some impressive victories throughout the season, until they were upset in the ACC Tournament by 6th-overall seed Miami. The Tar Heels defeated USC 4-3 in the quarterfinals of the ITA National Team Indoor Championships, giving USC their first loss of the season.
3. Texas A&M (21-3)
The Texas A&M Lady Aggies adjusted quite nicely to life in the SEC, finishing second in the ultra competitive conference. The Aggies went 1-1 versus top-ranked Florida this season, losing their most recent matchup in the SEC Semi-Final.
4. Georgia (21-3)
The Georgia Bulldogs entered the SEC Tournament as one of the hottest teams in the nation as winners of 16 of their last 17 games, before losing the championship game 4-0 at the hands of the red-hot Florida Gators. The Bulldogs lost to UCLA 4-1 and defeated Cal 4-1, squads that the Women of Troy went 2-1 against this season.