LOS ANGELES— The top-ranked men’s tennis team and three-time defending NCAA Champion USC Trojans held serve at home as USC defeated No. 30-ranked Texas A&M, 4-0, in the second round of the NCAA Championships held at Marks Tennis Stadium in Los Angeles.
“They are a great team with some great senior leaders,” Aggie head coach Steve Denton said. “We were battling in doubles and they kicked it into another gear to clinch the doubles point and then with Stevie Johnson, the best player in collegiate tennis the past few years at No. 1 singles, we’re down 2-0. Junior (Ore) beat (Ray) Sarmiento in College Station earlier this year in three sets, but today Sarmiento really took it to him. The courts played a little quicker.”
USC, now 29-1 on the year and the NCAA tournament’s top seed, will advance to the NCAA Round of 16 hosted by the University of Georgia where they will face No. 16 Illinois. USC had a 45-match winning streak snapped by UCLA earlier this season. The Aggies end the season with a 14-15 record after reaching the NCAA Championships for the 19th consecutive year. The Trojans had snapped the Aggies’ 43-match home winning streak earlier this spring in College Station.
“I am most proud of this group because they never stopped believing, they were a high character group and continued to fight and compete throughout the year,” Denton explained. “We lost a lot of close matches during the year that would have placed us somewhere other than the top-ranked team in the country. I am proud of our seniors, they will be missed. They were excellent leaders both on and off of the court and they gave us everything they had. This is difficult when it comes down to that final match with a great group of young men.”
USC took the doubles point by virtue of a pair of 8-4 wins as the country’s No. 2-ranked doubles team of Steve Johnson and Roberto Quiroz defeated No. 37-ranked Junior Ore and Jackson Withrow at No. 1 doubles and then No. 35-ranked Daniel Nguyen and Ray Sarmiento defeated the Aggies’ Alexis Klegou and Colin Hoover at No. 2. At No. 3 doubles with A&M’s John Lewis and Niall Angus, the match was 6-5 when it was suspended.
In singles, the country’s top-ranked player, Steve Johnson, won his 62nd straight singles match defeating No. 33 Alexis Klegou, 6-2, 6-1. Ray Sarmiento at No. 2 singles defeated Junior Ore, 6-1, 6-4 and then the clinching match was at No. 6 where Roberto Quiroz defeated Jackson Withrow, 6-1, 6-3.
A&M's Colin Hoover was battling No. 21 Daniel Nguyen at No. 3 singles and Aggie freshman Jeremy Efferding was leading at No. 4 singles 7-5 in the first set and tied at 2-2 in the second. Aggie senior John Lewis was battling at No. 5 singles coming back after dropping the opening set 7-5, he was leading 4-2 in the second set.
 USC 4, Texas A&M 0
Marks Tennis Stadium – May 13, 2012
(1) #2 S. Johnson-Quiroz (USC) def. #37 Ore-Withrow (Texas A&M) – 8-4
(2) #35 Nguyen-Sarmiento (USC) def. Klegou-Hoover (Texas A&M) – 8-4
(3) Gomez-Hanfmann (USC) vs. Angus-Lewis (Texas A&M) – 6-5 susp.
USC wins doubles point.
Order of finish: 1, 2
(1) #1 Steve Johnson (USC) def. #33 Alexis Klegou (Texas A&M) – 6-2, 6-1
(2) #25 Ray Sarmiento (USC) def. Junior Ore (Texas A&M) – 6-1, 6-4
(3) #21 Daniel Nguyen (USC) vs. Colin Hoover (Texas A&M) – 6-2, 4-3 susp.
(4) #57 Emilio Gomez (USC) vs. Jeremy Efferding (Texas A&M) – 5-7, 2-2 susp.
(5) #51 Yannick Hanfmann (USC) vs. John Lewis (Texas A&M) – 7-5, 2-4 susp.
(6) Roberto Quiroz (USC) def. Jackson Withrow (Texas A&M) – 6-1, 6-3*
Order of finish: 1, 2, 6*