No. 3 USC Men Finish As Runner-Up At ITA National Team Indoor Championships
HOUSTON, TEXAS -- The No. 3 USC men's tennis team was ousted by an upset-minded No. 5 Ohio State squad today in the championship match of the ITA National Team Indoor Championships in Houston. The Trojans had come into the match on a high note after an upset of their rival UCLA in yesterday's semifinals. But the Buckeyes, too, had flexed some muscle the previous day in upsetting top-seeded Virginia. Today, Ohio State took the doubles point and stayed the course, with Yannick Hanfmann the only Trojan able to pull off a win before the Buckeyes captured the title with a 4-1 victory. USC goes to 7-1 overall with its first loss of the year. It was USC's third consecutive trip to the ITA National Indoor title match, having won it all in 2012 and having fallen to Virginia last season.
Doubles play went the way of the Buckeyes when their #2-ranked pair of Kobelt/Metka held strong against USC's #35 Hanfmann/Sarmiento to post a 6-4 win out of the gates. USC's Farren/Quiroz were pressing the issue on court two, up 5-3 on their opponents, but Ohio State would steal away the first point with a 6-4 decision at the No. 3 spot with Diaz/Steinbach beating out Trojans de Vroome/Johnson.
In singles action, USC and Ohio State would split on first-set victories down the line. On court six, Buckeye Hunter Callahan would continue his momentum and wrap up a 6-3, 6-4 win over USC's #47 Jonny Wang to bump Ohio State to a 2-0 lead. Ringing up USC's first point was junior Yannick Hanfmann -- hero of yesterday's big win over rival UCLA in the semifinals. #16 Hanfmann upended Ohio State's Chris Diaz with a 6-5, 6-3 win at the No. 2 spot, and USC was within reach, down 2-1. The Buckeyes and a quick comeback, however, jumping out ahead 3-1 when #23 Peter Kobelt fended of USC's #7 Ray Sarmiento in posting a 6-3, 6-4 win on court one. Before the Trojans could answer back, it was Ohio State that closed in on the win, taking the title when Ralf Steinbach topped USC freshman Connor Farren 6-5, 6-4 on court four, leaving USC's Roberto Quiroz and Max de Vroome ahead but suspended as the match wrapped up.
The Trojans now return home to Marks Stadium to do battle in a Friday (Feb. 21) doubleheader. USC will face UC Santa Barbara first at 11 a.m. before taking on UC Davis at 3 p.m. that day.
ITA NATIONAL TEAM INDOOR CHAMPIONSHIPS (Houston, Texas)
#5 Ohio State 4, #3 USC 1
Feb. 17, 2014 - Houston, Texas (Downtown Club at the Met)
(1) #2 Kobelt/Metka (OHST) def. #35 Hanfmann/Sarmiento (USC) - 6-4
(2) Farren/Quiroz (USC) vs. Callahan/Pollanen (OHST) - 5-3 susp.
(3) Daz/Steinbach (OHST) def. de Vroome/Johnson (USC) - 6-4
Ohio State wins doubles point.
Order of finish: 1, 3
(1) #23 Peter Kobelt (OHST) def. #7 Ray Sarmiento (USC) - 6-3, 6-4
(2) #16 Yannick Hanfmann (USC) def. Chris Diaz (OHST) - 6-5 (4), 6-3
(3) Roberto Quiroz (USC) vs. Herkko Pollanen (OHST) - 6-2, 4-5 susp.
(4) Ralf Steinbach (OHST) def. Connor Farren (USC) - 6-5 (4), 6-4*
(5) Max de Vroome (USC) vs. Kevin Metka (OHST) - 6-5 (5), 5-4 susp.
(6) Hunter Callahan (OHST) def. Jonny Wang (USC) - 6-3, 6-4
Order of finish: 6, 2, 1, 4*