April 15, 2005
LOS ANGELES - Needing a win in its final home match to guarantee itself at least a share of the 2005 Pac-10 title, the seventh-ranked UCLA men's tennis team defeated No. 19 USC, 5-2 Friday afternoon at the Los Angeles Tennis Center. The Bruins, who also claimed the conference championship last season, end the regular season 21-3 overall (16-0 at home) and 6-1 in conference play. UCLA continues its dominance over the Trojans at the LATC, extending its winning streak to 15 in a row. The last time the Bruins lost to USC at home was back on April 3, 1991. Friday's win also extends UCLA's lead in the race for the Lexus Gauntlet Trophy, giving the Bruins a 47.5 - 40 advantage. With the loss, the Trojans fall to 11-12 overall and 3-4 in the Pac-10.
Like they have done all season long, the Bruins began Friday's match by claiming the doubles point for the 20th time in 24 matches this year. UCLA's Chris Lam and Luben Pampoulov got things started for the Bruins, defeating the Trojan duo of Jarryd Cooper/Kaes Van't Hof, 8-3 at the No. 3 position. That victory was quickly followed up by 59th-ranked Alberto Francis and Kris Kwinta, who posted an 8-5 victory over 30th-ranked Jamil Al-Agba/Johan Berg at court No. 1. USC took an 8-5 win at court No. 2 after the point had already been decided.
Once singles play began, 66th-ranked Philipp Gruendler was the first to finish his match, defeating USC's Adam Loucks, 6-2, 6-4 at court No. 6. The Bruins went ahead 3-0 not long after, as No. 48 Kwinta posted a 6-2, 6-4 victory over No. 93 Berg at the No. 3 position.
Pampoulov, ranked seventh in the country, finished the Trojans off for good with his 6-2, 6-3 win over Drew Hoskins at court No. 2, clinching the victory for UCLA.
At that point, all three remaining singles matches were in a third set. Next off was court No. 5, where Francis, ranked 73rd nationally and Brian Wright were tied at 2-2 in the third set when Wright was forced to retire with an injury. Next door on court No. 4, Van't Hof finally put the Trojans on the board with a 6-1, 3-6, 6-4 win over Lam.
The final match of the afternoon featured a pair of top-10 opponents in No. 8 Benjamin Kohlloeffel and No. 10 Al-Agba battling it out at court No. 1. The USC sophomore was able to hold on for a 6-1, 3-6, 6-4 victory, giving the Trojans two points on the day.
Both UCLA and USC head to the Pac-10 Championships, April 21-24 in Ojai, Calif. The Pac-10s are an individual event featuring a pair of singles and doubles draws. The 64-team NCAA Tournament bracket will be announced the first week of May.
Friday's match can be seen on Fox Sports West 2 this Sunday at 5:00 p.m.