As we were reminded by a Southern California fan who showed the class befitting anyone who would root for a team coached by Lane Kiffin, the second-seeded USC Trojans defeated the sixth-seeded Georgia Bulldogs, 4-0, in the semifinals of the NCAA Men’s Tennis Tournament.
Playing on the opposite side of the continent against a two-time defending national champion that came in riding an 18-match winning streak, the regular-season SEC co-champions dropped the doubles point before falling in straight sets. No. 1-ranked Steve Johnson defeated No. 18-ranked Wil Spencer, 6-0, 6-0, before the Trojans surged to a 3-0 lead when No. 47-ranked Ray Sarmiento bested unranked Drake Bernstein, 6-2, 6-3. The Men of Troy polished off the Men of Athens when No. 44-ranked Daniel Nguyen beat No. 51-ranked Sadio Doumbia, 6-3, 6-2. In the three unfinished matches, Javier Garrapiz had beaten Jaak Poldma, 6-2, in the first set, while Hernus Pieters and Ignacio Taboada were leading their respective second sets, 5-3 and 3-1, when play was suspended.
Despite the disappointing end to the season, the Georgia male netters finished with a 24-6 record and made the final four for the fifth time in a six-year span. The Bulldogs, who won back-to-back national championships in 2007 and 2008, were ousted from the bracket one win shy of the finals by the Trojans, who won back-to-back national championships in 2009 and 2010.
Prior to Monday’s setback, Georgia had posted an all-time ledger of 11-11 against USC in men’s tennis, with the Bulldogs beating the Trojans most recently in 2009. Southern California dominance over the SEC, indeed.
Because our mamas raised us right, we congratulate the Trojans on their achievement, but, because we know our Churchill, we say: "Go Cavaliers!"