©Colette Lewis 2011--
Palo Alto, CA-
The two-time defending champions are getting "the train rolling," according to USC head coach Peter Smith. After rolling past No. 15 seed Georgia Tech 4-0, the No. 2 seeded Trojans left little doubt that they are ready for another title defense.
Although USC lost at No. 1 doubles, with Jaak Poldma and JT Sundling losing to Kevin King and Juan Spir 8-3, the No. 2 and No. 3 doubles teams came through for USC. At No. 3 Daniel Nguyen and Raymond Sarmiento beat Tech's Guillermo Gomez and Dean O'Brien 8-2, and Steve Johnson and Emilio Gomez delivered the point to USC with an 8-4 win at No. 2.
In the singles, USC took control early. Emilio Gomez dominated Magin Ortiga at No. 5 6-1, 6-1, to make it 2-0 USC. Next it was Raymond Sarmiento getting the third point over Eliot Potvin 6-2, 6-0, at No. 5 and it was nearly a simultaneous finish at courts No. 2 and No. 3. Poldma got credit for the fourth point with his 6-2, 6-4 win over Juan Spir, but Nguyen closed out Kevin King at No. 3 just a moment later for the comprehensive win for the Trojans.
"Gomez played great, couldn't have played better," said Smith. "Sarmiento 2 and 0, wow. They're just good. Jaak and Daniel actually won at the same time. That's a great sign for us. Quick, easy, no dents in the armor."
The SEC rematch between Kentucky and Florida was not as straightforward. But winning the doubles point was a major factor, as the past two times the teams have played this year, the Gators took the doubles point and the wins, including in the SEC tournament final last month.
"We felt like if we won the doubles point it would be like 80/20 that we would win the match, and if welost the doubles point, it would be like 60/40 them," said Kentucky head coach Dennis Emery, who got 8-5 wins from his No. 1 and No. 3 teams. "So the doubles point was huge; we played some of best doubles of the year."
The teams split first sets, with Kentucky getting the first singles point when Alberto Gonzalez beat Bob van Overbeek 6-1, 6-2 at No. 4. Gator senior Alexander Lacroix brought his team closer with a 6-2, 6-4 win over Eric Quigley at 1. Florida got its second point when Sekou Bangoura Jr. downed Brad Cox 6-4, 6-2, but Kentucky edged ahead with a 6-2, 6-4 win by Anthony Rossi over Billy Federhofer at 5. That left the match to be decided on courts 2 and 6. On court 2, Florida's Nassim Slilam and Alex Musialek had not yet finished their second set, Slilam having won the first 6-4, and trailing 4-5 in the second. On court 6, freshmen Tom Jomby of Kentucky and Spencer Newman of Florida were in the third set with Jomby up a break at 4-3. Jomby, at 6-foot-6, is nearly a foot taller than Newman, but Newman kept fighting, taking the next game to deuce before Jomby held for 5-3. During that game on court 6, Slilam, appearing to cramp, was broken to send his match with Musialek into a third set.
It had barely gotten started when Jomby closed out Newman at love to complete his comeback, taking the fourth point by a score of 0-6, 6-3, 6-4.
"It's really bittersweet," said Emery. "Andy(Jackson, Florida head coach) and I are really good friends, and it's a really tough match for us to coach and play. I know we should be overjoyed to get to the quarters, but really it's tough."
Emery knows how well USC is playing right now, but he sees good signs from his team.
"They haven't lost since the Indoor have they?," Emery said. "But we're on a hot streak now too. In our last 12 matches, we have three wins in the top 10."
#2 USC (24-2) 4
vs. #15 GEORGIA TECH (21-6) 0
Doubles (Order of Finish: 1, 3 ,2)
1) No. 14 King/Spir (GT) d. No. 22 Poldma/Sundling (USC) 8-3
2) Gomez/Johnson (USC) d. Potvin/Smith (GT) 8-4
3) Nguyen/Sarmiento (USC) vs. Gomez/O’Brien (GT) 8-2
Singles (Order of Finish: 5, 4, 2)
1) No. 1 Steve Johnson (USC) vs. No. 14 Guillermo Gomez (GT) aban.
2) No. 38 Jaak Poldma (USC) d. No. 82 Juan Spir (GT) 6-2, 6-4
3) No. 44 Daniel Nguyen (USC) vs. Kevin King (GT) aban.
4) No. 47 Ray Sarmiento (USC) d. Eliot Potvin (GT) 6-2, 6-0
5) Emilio Gomez (USC) d. Magin Ortiga (GT) 6-1, 6-1
6) Peter Lucassen (USC) vs. Dean O’Brien (GT) aban.
#10 KENTUCKY (29-8) 4
#7 FLORIDA (20-9) 2
Doubles (Order of Finish: 1, 3)
1) No. 19 Cox/Quigley (KENT) d. No. 17 Bangoura Jr./Lacroix (FLA) 8-5
2) Federhofer/Slilam (FLA) vs. Musialek/Rossi (KENT) aban.
3) Gonzalez/Jomby (KENT) d. Butz/ van Overbeek (FLA) 8-5
Singles (Order of Finish: 4, 1, 3, 5, 6)
1) No. 7 Alexandre Lacroix (FLA) d. No. 6 Eric Quigley (KENT) 6-2, 6-4
2) No. 89 Nassim Slilam (FLA) vs. No. 53 Alex Musialek (KENT) aban.
3) No. 40 Sekou Bangoura Jr. (FLA) d. Brad Cox (KENT) 6-4, 6-2
4) No. 90 Alberto Gonzalez (KENT) d. No. 118 Bob van Overbeek (FLA) 6-1, 6-2
5) Anthony Rossi (KENT) d. Billy Federhofer (FLA) 6-2, 6-4
6) Tom Jomby (KENT) d. Spencer Newman (FLA) 0-6, 6-3, 6-4