Jan. 30, 2010
LOS ANGELES - Facing its first top-ranked opponent since 2007, Vanderbilt's 49th-ranked men's tennis team was unable to spring the upset over No. 1 USC on Saturday, falling 4-1 to the Trojans, in what was the opening match of the ITA Kick-Off Weekend for both teams.
Vanderbilt entered the match with a 3-1 record with its lone loss being a 4-3 setback to No. 41 Michigan last week, but the Commodores were dealt with their most challenging task of the season against USC. The Trojans returned all but one of its top six players from a team that won the 2009 NCAA Championship and was undefeated on the season.
Held at the David Marks Stadium on USC's campus, the loss by Vanderbilt dropped the Commodores to 3-2 on the season, while USC improved to 3-0. With the loss, Vanderbilt will now face No. 70 Radford at noon CT in Sunday's consolation match.
"I'm really happy with some of our guys," Head Coach Ian Duvenhage said. "I thought we did a good job in the lower part of our lineup, but we were not competitive enough in the top half. It wasn't about not being good enough. We can do a better job."
Saturday's match began with the Trojans building a 1-0 lead by taking the first two completed doubles matches. USC's duo of McNaughton and Nguyen defeated Charlie Jones and Ryan Lipman, 8-2, in the No. 2 position. Clinching the doubles point was USC's 13th-ranked tandem of Farah and Johnson, which defeated Adam Baker and Alex Zotov, 8-5, in the No. 1 position.
In singles, the Trojans won three of the four completed singles matches to claim the overall match. In the two matches that were not finished, Vanderbilt's Charlie Jones (No. 4) and Adam Baker (No. 5) sat in prime position to earn wins if the match was not halted after USC earned its fourth point.
USC was able to take a 2-0 lead in the match when No. 1 Steve Johnson defeated 29th-ranked Ryan Lipman, 6-3, 6-2, in the No. 1 slot. USC added to its lead when No. 116 Jaak Poldma earned a 6-2, 6-3 win over Bryant Salcedo in the No. 3 position.
Trailing 3-0, Vanderbilt got its lone point of the match when Alex Zotov defeated No. 47 Matt Kecki, 6-4, 6-2 in the No. 6 position. Zotov is now 5-0 in dual play this spring.
Clinching the match for USC was 14th-ranked Robert Farah, who defeated No. 71 Vijay Paul, 6-3, 6-2, in the No. 2 position.
Vanderbilt will continue play at the ITA Kick-Off Weekend on Saturday when the Commodores face No. 70 Radford at noon CT in the consolation match. USC will play Yale for the right to advance to the ITA Nationals.