JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Jan. 27, 2017) – With the ETSU men’s tennis season in full swing, the Bucs will head to the west coast as the Blue and Gold will participate in the ITA Kick-Off Weekend in Los Angeles starting on January 28 with No. 8 USC.
About the Bucs
ETSU opened its season 0-2, but it played stiff competition on the road. The Bucs opened the season with a trip to Winston-Salem, N.C where they were upended 6-1 by No. 2 Wake Forest. With a day off, the Bucs traveled to Tuscaloosa, Ala. where they took on the highly rated Crimson Tide. The Bucs couldn’t pull the upset as they fell 4-2 to Alabama.
Even though ETSU is winless to open the season, the Bucs have been held to a 0-2 or 1-1 record in eight straight seasons in the first two contests. However, that never stopped the Blue and Gold as they have made it to 10 consecutive NCAA Tournaments dating back to the 2006-07 season.
To lead the Bucs this year, Robert Herrera (Barcelona, Spain) has been red-hot early. He is undefeated in singles play this year playing out of the No. 3 slot. One of those wins included a top-25 upset. Herrera upended No. 21 Christian Seraphim of Wake Forest in three sets to give ETSU its only point in the dual match against the Demon Deacons. The Spain native is 3-1 in singles and doubles matches this season.
Also, Herrera and Diego Nunez (Monterrey, Mexico) upset No. 32 doubles tandem Mazen Osama and Spencer Richey of Alabama 7-5. The ETSU tandem is 1-1 with both matches coming against nationally ranked talent.
To open the 2017 season, the Trojans was ranked No. 10 in the ITA rankings, but following a successful season opener versus UC Santa Cruz and UC Irvine, USC jumped to No. 8 in the national rankings. The Trojans are 2-0 after posting 6-1 wins over the in-state rivals.
USC has claimed the national championship in five of the last eight years. Last year the Trojans went 17-7 and made a trip to the NCAA Round of 16. USC is a very experienced team as it has seven of the 13 players on the roster with at least two years of experience at the collegiate level.
According to the ITA, the Trojans have four individuals ranked in the top-125 in singles tennis. To lead USC, freshman Brandon Holt is ranked No. 20, and just behind him, Logan Smith is No. 28 in the country.
Information on the weekend tournament
The Bucs will open the two-day ITA Kick-Off Weekend on January 28 by playing USC. The opening round of the round robin tournament will begin at 4 p.m. (EST) for the Bucs. Depending on if it wins or losses, ETSU will square off against San Diego or Virginia Tech on January 29 in Los Angeles. All matches will be held at Marks Stadium.
This is the ninth consecutive year of the ITA Kick-Off Weekend, and USC has won every year since its inception in 2009. The winner of the championship match on Sunday will punch a ticket to the ITA National Team Indoor Championships that will be held in February at Virginia.
There will be a live stream available by clicking here. Type ‘University of Southern California – USC’ into the search bar and select which the court you want to view.
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