April 21, 2007
LOS ANGELES - UCLA's Benjamin Kohlloeffel made his last regular-season match at the Los Angeles Tennis Center one to remember, as the Bruin senior won the deciding singles match in a 4-3 victory over No. 9 USC, clinching the 2007 Pac-10 title for UCLA. With the win, the Bruins claim their fourth-straight conference championship, marking their first undefeated Pac-10 season since 1996. UCLA improves to 19-3 overall and 7-0 in the Pac-10. USC, which lost only its second match of the season Saturday, falls to 20-2 and 6-1 in league play.
UCLA also earns 2.5 points in the Lexus Gauntlet competition.
Although the Bruins eventually came out on top in the end, it was the Trojans who struck first on Saturday, claiming the doubles point for an early 1-0 lead in the match. The point was clinched at court No. 3, where USC's Whit Livingston and Garrett Snyder battled back from 6-2 down to eventually force a tiebreaker and defeat UCLA's Mathieu Dehaine/Jeremy Drean, 9-8(4).
From that point on it was a see-saw battle, as both teams seemed to keep trading wins the rest of the way. The Bruins ended up tying the match when Philipp Gruendler downed Robert Farah, 6-2, 6-4 at court No. 4. Gruendler's victory avenged a 6-0, 6-3 loss to Farah back on Mar. 9 at USC.
The Trojans took a 2-1 lead when freshman Jason McNaughton registered a 6-4, 6-4 win over Michael Look at court No. 6. UCLA tied it again moments later, however, as sophomore Haythem Abid downed Dejan Cvetkovic, 7-5, 6-3 at court No. 2. USC's Kaes Van't Hof put the Trojans ahead 3-2 with a 6-3, 6-2 win over Chris Surapol at court No. 3. At that point, two matches remained on court and the Bruins needed both to pull off the upset.
Dehaine did his part, keeping the Bruins alive with a 6-3, 6-3 win over Gary Sacks at court No. 5. His victory turned the entire stadium's attention to court No. 1, where Kohlloeffel and USC's Jamil Al-Agba were locked in a tight second set. After earning an early break in the set, Kohlloeffel served the match out, eventually winning 6-4, 6-4 to the delight of the large Bruin crowd that stayed until the end.
Nearly 100 former players were on hand to witness the victory on Saturday, as it was the first-ever UCLA Men's Tennis Alumni Day. At least one member from all 16 of UCLA's NCAA Championship teams was in attendance. It also marked the final regular season home match for seniors Kohlloeffel, Surapol, Gruendler and Jaysen Chung.
UCLA now awaits the announcement of the 64-team NCAA Championship draw released on May 1. In the meantime, the Bruins will take part in the Pac-10 Individual Championships in Ojai, Calif., Apr. 26-29.
|1.||(7) Gruendler/Kohlloeffel (UCLA) def. (43) Cvetkovic/Sacks (USC)||9-7|
|2.||Farah/Van't Hof (USC) def. Abid/Surapol (UCLA)||8-5|
|3.||Whit Livingston/Garrett Snyder (USC) def. Dehaine/ Jeremy Drean (UCLA)||9-8(4)|
|USC Wins Doubles Point|
|1.||(4) Benjamin Kohlloeffel (UCLA) def. (34) Jamil Al-Agba (USC)||6-4, 6-4*|
|2.||(29) Haythem Abid (UCLA) def. (51) Dejan Cvetkovic (USC)||7-5, 6-3|
|3.||(96) Kaes Van't Hof (USC) def. (48) Chris Surapol (UCLA)||6-3, 6-2|
|4.||Philipp Gruendler (UCLA) def. Robert Farah (USC)||6-2, 6-4|
|5.||Mathieu Dehaine (UCLA) def. Gary Sacks (USC)||6-3, 6-3|
|6.||Jason McNaughton (USC) def. Michael Look (UCLA)||6-4, 6-4|
|* Denotes Clinching Match - Singles Order of Finish: 4, 6, 2, 3, 5, 1|