ITA National Team Indoors blog with Jon Wiegand
Feb. 13, 2010
We were really excited to have the chance to play the No. 1 team in the country in USC. It’s another big program and an inherent rival, and they beat us twice last year. We did exactly what we wanted to do early on in doubles. We hit them hard with the first punch at No. 1 doubles.
Josh Zavala and Dimitar Kutrovsky played great. Emotionally, they were keyed in, and their tennis reflected that. Ed Corrie and Kellen Damico got off to a great start. They got out to a 5-0 lead and cruised to an 8-2 win. Then, at No. 1, Dimi and Josh came through to clinch the doubles point. Our No. 3 team of Jean Andersen and Daniel Whitehead had a good start, but the USC team responded well, though they weren’t able to finish.
Coming into singles play, we knew the championship-caliber team like USC would respond and make a run. We had to be ready to weather the storm. Jean did a great job of maintaining our momentum from doubles play and got us a straight-set singles win. He played aggressively and attacked on big points, which was crucial to his win.
I thought Josh had a tough matchup at No. 5. He competed well, and USC’s Daniel Nguyen played well at No. 5. Kellen lost the first set at No. 3 but came back and made a push in the second. His energy helped Dimitar and Ed respond after a pair of first-set losses. Those guys were able to make a big push at Nos. 1 and 2 singles to get the ball rolling and regain momentum for Texas.
One of our freshmen,Vasko Mladenov, played very well and had some chances at No. 6. USC’s Matt Kecki played some very good tennis in some key situations. I felt like he played a good first set, jumped on his opponent early and maintained some momentum. Vasko competed very well in the second set and showed great poise throughout the second set when both teams were cheering for their players near court six. It was very encouraging to see that out of the true freshman.
As much as we talk about the poise from the young guys, I don’t talk enough about how our Nos. 1 and 2 players keep their composure, especially today. We needed Dimitar and Ed to provide much-needed energy up on the top two courts. They responded after their losing their first sets with great aggressiveness. They set the stage for great comebacks on both courts.
Ed was down a break early in the second, but he showed great fight and a tenacious attitude to come back and win the set and then go up a break in the third. Dimi, meanwhile, was playing one of the top players in the country in USC’s Robert Farah and lost twice to him last year. He lost a very close first set and acted as if he didn’t lose it. He played with poise in the second set. His win in the third set allowed Ed to serve out his match at No. 2., which finished off the win for us today.
We’re very happy with the two wins we’ve had so far, but we came here to win four matches. That journey continues Sunday with a match against Tennessee. We played them outdoors at NCAAs last year in a tightly-contested match. We expect a high level of tennis and great fight out of their team. But, we feel our team is very prepared to continue this run of wins tomorrow.