ORLANDO, FLA. — The No. 12 seed USC men’s tennis team went down to the wire in the NCAA Quarterfinals and was edged out in a tense battle with No. 4 seed Texas, falling 4-3 at the USTA National Campus in Orlando, Fla. It was USC’s sixth 4-3 loss […]
ORLANDO, FLA. — The No. 12 seed USC men's tennis team went down to the wire in the NCAA Quarterfinals and was edged out in a tense battle with No. 4 seed Texas, falling 4-3 at the USTA National Campus in Orlando, Fla. It was USC's sixth 4-3 loss of the year and wrapped the Trojans' 2021 campaign with a 23-7 overall record.
Doubles would come down to a tiebreaker on court one after a split on courts two and three. At the No. 2 spot, USC's Stefan Dostanic and Bradley Frye tapped back into their winning ways in drumming up a swift 6-2 win, only to see Texas' No. 3 pair get a late leg up on USC's Ryder Jackson and Jake Sands to even the score with a 6-4 decision. That put all eyes on court one, where USC had been up a break before the Longhorns battled back and forced a tiebreaker. Texas moved ahead early and held off the Trojans to claim the double point on the 7-6 (4) decision at the top spot and bring up singles play.
A rapid-fire finish on courts two and six was the next glimpse of the battle ahead, with Texas sneaking ahead 2-0 on a 6-4, 6-3 win from #38 Micah Braswell over USC's #52 Riley Smith on court two. Coming through with the Trojans' first point of the day was junior Jake Sands on court six, where he'd shrug off an 0-3 hole in the second set and storm to a 6-4, 6-4 victory over Evin McDonald to make it a 2-1 margin.
From there, it was three-setters across the board, ramping up the intensity as the sun faded from sight. At the top spot, USC's #49 Daniel Cukierman caught fire in the third set and snarled things up 2-2 with his 6-4, 2-6, 6-1 win over #23 Eliot Spirrizzi. Texas edged back ahead when Chih Chi Huang bounced back to beat USC freshman Lodewijk Weststrate 6-2, 0-6, 6-3 and make it 3-2.
Again USC closed the gap when #116 sophomore Stefan Dostanic dug in for a 6-4, 4-6, 6-3 win over #75 Siem Woldeab on court three. That put the decider on court four, where USC junior Bradley Smith had battled back to force a third set against Texas' #108 Cleeve Harper. Frye' Longhorn foe would get the break he needed late and held to claim the clincher with a 6-4, 3-6, 7-5 decision. That wrapped the Trojans' season with USC gripping a 23-7 overall record while Texas took the spot in the NCAA semis.
USC's Daniel Cukierman and Riley Smith have more NCAA tennis ahead of them with NCAA individual action coming up next. Both have earned places in the NCAA Singles draw while also paired up for NCAA Doubles competition once the team tournament is complete.
2021 NCAA Team Championship
 Texas 4,  USC 3
May 20, 2021 | USTA National Campus (Orlando, Fla.)
(1) #10 Cukierman/R. Smith (USC) def. #11 Spizzirri/Woldeab (TEX) - 7-6 (4)
(2) Dostanic/Frye (USC) def. #78 Harper/Huang (TEX) - 6-2
(3) Braswell/Holden (TEX) def. Jackson/Sands (USC) - 6-4
Order of finish: 2, 3, 1
Texas wins doubles point.
(1) #49 Daniel Cukierman (USC) def. #23 Eliot Spirrizzi (TEX) - 6-4, 2-6, 6-1
(2) #38 Micah Braswell (TEX) def. #52 Riley Smith (USC) - 6-4, 6-3
(3) #116 Stefan Dostanic (USC) def. #75 Siem Woldeab (TEX) - 6-4, 4-6, 6-3
(4) #108 Cleeve Harper (TEX) def. Bradley Frye (USC) - 6-4, 3-6, 7-5*
(5) Chih Chi Huang (TEX) def. Lodewijk Weststrate (USC) - 6-2, 0-6, 6-3
(6) Jake Sands (USC) def. Evin McDonald (TEX) - 6-4, 6-4
Order of finish: 2, 6, 1, 5, 3, 4*