May 24, 2011; Stanford, CA, USA; The Southern California Trojans celebrate after defeating the Virginia Cavaliers during the finals of the men
USC men’s tennis head coach Peter Smith, winner of four NCAA Team Championships in his first 10 seasons with the Trojans, has reached quite the coaching milestone: his 500th victory, which cam when USC defeated Stanford on Friday afternoon.
The 2012 ITA National Coach of the Year has posted a 230-64 record at USC, alongside 15 seasons combined at the helm of Long Beach State, Fresno State and Pepperdine. These accomplishments bear to resemble the joy and excitement his team showcased after celebrating Peter Smith’s 500th career victory with him.
The second-ranked Trojans defeated Stanford 6-1 improving their 2013 campaign to 18-2 (1-0) overall. The victory had its share of worrisome moments as the Cardinal actually defeated the Trojans in doubles play, giving them the early 1-0 lead in the match.
The Trojans responded in singles play as No. 6 Emilio Gomez blasted No. 54 John Morrissey with a 6-4, 6-1 decision sparking the teams resounding victory.
The rest of the singles lineup looked sharp as No. 9 Ray Sarmiento mirrored that winning score in taking out No. 88 Nolan Paige next, and USC was back in business with a 2-1 lead. These early victories gave No. 65 Eric Johnson and No. 86 Jonny Wang prime opportunities to close it out for their beloved coach. Johnson would notch his win with a 6-4, 6-1 decision in the Trojans’ favor, beating Daniel Ho to make it 3-1 USC.
Johnny Wang then sealed the deal for the USC Tennis program, defeating Trey Strobel 7-6 (3), 6-3 and securing coach Peter Smith’s milestone victory. Smith said he was very fortunate to be granted this opportunity at USC and loves the support he has received from his staff and the university.
The Trojans will now prepare for a matchup with No. 15 California on Sunday at 1:30 as the team looks to add to their impressive resume.
The four-time defending champions have posted impressive victories throughout the season, including wins over UCLA, and a thrilling road-trip sweep over Notre Dame and Illinois over spring break. This unit continues to dominate as the next wave of superstars in Yannick Hanfmann and Max de Vroome are the vibrant youth of the program, looking to make their mark in the coming years.These two players are a combined 23-4 in singles matches this season.
While the youth are making an impact, sixth-ranked Emilio Gomez brings an experience of two-straight national championships to the court. Gomez posts a 14-2 record this season, replacing the two-time defending national champion Steve Johnson as the top option for Court 1 Singles action.
Junior Ray Sarmiento is a staple of the program as the emotional heart and soul of the club. Ray playes with an intense sense of urgency that resonates with his beckones towards the crowd on crucial points. On the season, the ninth-ranked player in the nation is 17-6 this season in both singles and doubles.
All this talent can be a bit overwhelming for the coach who made history by winning his 500th career match.
“It is a privilege to have this job and way of life. Yes, I have been very fortunate. But there’s no time to stop and think too much–we have more to do. Fight On,” Peter Smith exalted after winning.
The combination of experience, talent, emotion and the best coach in the business make the USC Men’s Tennis team a perennial national championship contender. The Trojans are 1-2 this season against their biggest rivals Virginia and UCLA; two teams who will be USCs biggest threat towards winning a record fifth-straight national championship.