`Dogs Climb to No. 26, Face USC for Indoors
Feb. 4, 2010
FRESNO, Calif. - The same day the Fresno State tennis team jumped to No. 26 in the ITA Tennis rankings, the ITA announced the Bulldogs will face No. 1 USC in the ITA National Team Indoors Sweet 16.
The `Dogs were previously ranked No. 46, but with wins over then-No. 12 Texas A&M and then-No. 34 Rice, they moved up 20 spots when the rankings were released on Feb. 4.
The Bulldogs will be one of 16 teams vying for the ITA National Team Indoor Championship and will have the opportunity of starting their campaign against the top-ranked Trojans on Feb. 12 in Charlottesville, Va.
The National Team Indoors will feature 15 of the Top 20 teams in the country. Teams had to win two matches to qualify for the tournament. As a No. 4 seed in the qualifying round, the Bulldogs are the lowest seed to ever qualify for the prestigious tournament. Fresno State will get a minimum of three matches against Top 20 teams.
Fresno State is 5-1 on the season, with the only tarnish on the record being a narrow 4-3 loss to Cal. The Bulldogs boast the No. 83 player in the country, David Ayoun, and two Top 40 doubles teams, No. 20 Mirko Zapletal and Taylor Leiby and No. 36 Rikus de Villiers and Remi Boutillier.
USC is currently 5-0 and has a lineup that features six ranked singles players, including the No. 1 player in the country, Steve Johnson. The Trojans also have the No. 13 doubles tandem of Robert Farah and Steve Johnson.
The Trojans head coach Peter Smith is familiar with Fresno State, as he coached the Bulldogs from 1991-97, including 1996, when the `Dogs finished sixth in the nation.
This will be the first meeting with USC since 2007, when the Trojans came away with a 5-2 victory. The Bulldogs are 4-16 all-time against the Trojans. This will be the first meeting between the two at National Indoors since 1996.
In addition to Fresno State and USC, the field includes No. 2 Virginia, No. 3 Ohio State, No. 4 UCLA, No. 6 Baylor, No. 7 Georgia, No. 8 Texas, No. 9 Stanford, No. 10 Mississippi, No. 11 Florida, No. 12 Illinois, No. 14 Kentucky, No. 16 Louisville and No. 19 Alabama.
The 12th-ranked Illini are coached by former Fresno State head coach Brad Dance, who coached at Fresno State from 2001-04.