USC Men's Tennis Wins Fourth Straight National Title

Greg BossContributor IMay 23, 2012

USC's Steve Johnson (Photo Credit: USC Athletic Department)
USC's Steve Johnson (Photo Credit: USC Athletic Department)

USC coach Peter Smith and the top-ranked Trojans men’s tennis team won their fourth consecutive NCAA championship Tuesday night, defeating third-ranked Virginia 4-2 in the title game in Athens, Georgia.

Following two-and-a-half hours of rain delays and an early deficit after the loss of the doubles point, USC had some ground to make up in order to triumph over Virginia in the finals for the second year in a row.

Freshman Yannick Hanfmann fought back after going down 5-4 in the final set of a roller coaster three-set match over the Cavaliers’ Justin Shane to secure the victory for the Trojans 6-4, 2-6, 7-6 (4).

The Trojans—who entered the match after a wild semifinals victory over cross-town rival UCLA on Monday—nearly had an undefeated season, going 33-1. Their only loss came against the Bruins, 3-4 on April 20 in Los Angeles. Virginia finishes their season with a record of 29-2.

USC’s Steve Johnson, the No. 1 ranked player in the NCAA, continued his dominance by defeating fourth-ranked Jarmere Jenkins in straight sets 6-3, 6-2, to extend his win streak to 66 matches entering this week's NCAA individual singles championships, which he captured last year.

The Trojans received additional points from No. 25 ranked Ray Sarmiento, who beat Alex Domijan 6-4, 7-5, and from No. 57 ranked Emilio Gomez as he won against Drew Courtney 6-4, 6-2.

Johnson’s incredible NCAA tennis career will end after this season, as the senior will make the jump up to the pro ranks. USC will also have to part ways with senior Daniel Nguyen, who secured the previous two titles for USC with his singles victories and finishes the season with a very impressive 35-9 individual record.

USC has been dominant over the past four seasons, winning 24 straight NCAA tournament matches on their road to four national championships, and compiling an overall record of 110 wins with just 11 losses.