Age really is more than just a number.
Or so it would seem, as the seniors of the UCLA men’s tennis team were its only bright spots in the Bruins’ 5-2 loss against the USC Trojans at the Marks Tennis Stadium on Wednesday.
UCLA’s failure to capture the coveted doubles point has plagued them the entire season, and the trend continued Wednesday as the No. 6 Bruins (9-3) were swept in doubles, giving the No. 7 Trojans (10-2) momentum early on. The USC duo of Steve Johnson and Ray Sarmiento defeated senior Amit Inbar and redshirt sophomore Alex Brigham 8-5 on court No. 1. The situation was just as bleak for the Bruins on courts No. 2 and 3, where freshman Adrien Puget and senior Holden Seguso fell 8-6 to Jaak Poldma and JT Sundling and the team of freshman Daniel Kosakowski and sophomore Warren Hardie lost 8-4 to Emilio Gomez and Daniel Nguyen.
In singles, the disappointment continued for the Bruins, who lost on all but two courts. Inbar and Seguso got a chance to dominate on their foes’ home court one last time and gave UCLA its only two victories of the day. Inbar easily beat Nguyen, who ranks No. 19 in singles, in a 6-4, 6-2 victory. Seguso followed Inbar’s lead, as he battled his way to a 6-3, 6-2 win over Sundling on court No. 6.
UCLA’s younger players did not fare as well as the upperclassmen.
Kosakowski and Clay Thompson were both overpowered early on by Johnson and Poldma, respectively. Johnson is the No. 1 singles player in the nation, and his commanding performance over Kosakowski gave USC the win well before play was over on all courts.
In other battles, sophomore Maxime Tabatruong lost 6-2, 6-1 to Gomez and Puget lost 3-6, 6-4, (10-7) to Sarmiento.
The rivals face off again on April 22 in the Bruins’ regular season finale.
Six Bruins will now compete in the Pacific Coast Men’s Doubles Championships in La Jolla, which pits men’s college tennis doubles teams from the East and West against each other. The tournament runs from Friday to Sunday, and the doubles teams of Brigham and Inbar, Tabatruong and redshirt junior Jeff Gast and Hardie and Thompson will participate.