Ciaran Fitzgerald and the Toreros host No. 57 Rice and No. 2 USC this week
Feb. 25, 2013
No. 26 San Diego (5-2) vs. No. 57 Rice (3-6)
Tuesday, February 26, 1:30 p.m.
No. 26 San Diego (5-2) vs. No. 2 USC (12-2)
*Thursday, February 28, 1:30 p.m.*
Both matches will be played at the Skip and Cindy Hogan Tennis Center
To follow all the action live, click here.
*This match was originally scheduled for 1:00 p.m.
LAST TIME OUT: The Toreros knocked off No. 39 Boise State (3-6) last Friday by the score of 5-2. After losing the doubles point, the Toreros rallied to win five of their six singles matches. Freshman Uros Petronijevic cruised to a 6-2, 6-0 victory at the No. 4. The Broncos followed that with a 6-3, 6-1 win by No. 27 Andrew Bettles over Romain Kalaydjian at the No. 1. Ciaran Fitzgerald won 6-3, 6-3 at the No. 6. No. 88 Clarke Spinosa won 7-6 (7-5), 6-0 at the No. 3. Thibaut Visy battled back after going down 1-4 in the first set to win 7-5, 6-4 at the No. 2. Lastly, Victor Pugliese took care of business at the No. 5 winning 2-6, 6-2, 6-4.
SCOUTING THE OWLS: Rice enters the week with a No. 57 ranking and a 3-6 record. However, all six of their losses came to opponents ranked in the ITA's top 55... The Owls have faced two common opponents as the Toreros. They fell to No. 27 Texas Tech 4-3, who the Toreros knocked off 4-3. The Owls also lost to No. 14 Texas A&M 6-1, who USD also lost to by the score of 7-0... The Owls are coached by Efe Ustundag, who took over the head coaching duties after eight years as an assistant. Ustundag was an All-American at Rice and helped the Owls make seven NCAA Tournament appearances as an assistant coach... The Owls hold a 7-3 all-time series advantage over the Toreros, but USD won their last meeting in 2012 5-1 at Rice.
SCOUTING THE TROJANS: USC is the four-time defending national champions, they enter the week with a No. 2 ITA ranking and 12-2 record. The Trojans only losses came to No. 1 Virginia in the ITA National Team Indoor Championships and to No. 3 UCLA... The Trojans roster boasts an incredible eight ranked singles players; No. 10 Emilio Gomez, No. 12 Ray Sarmiento, No. 23 Roberto Quiroz, No. 46 Eric Johnson, No. 94 Yannick Hanfmann, No. 109 Max de Vroome, No. 117 Michael Grant, and No. 118 Johnny Wang... In doubles the Trojans have two ranked pairs. At No. 48 are Ray Sarmiento and Yannick Hanfmann and at No. 49 are Emilio Gomez and Eric Johnson... The Trojans are coached by Peter Smith, who was named ITA National Coach of the Year in 2012 after the Trojans went 33-1 and won their fourth consecutive national championship. Smith is in his 11th season at USC and has compiled a 212-62 record there... The Trojans hold a 34-4 advantage in the all-time series, most recently defeating the Toreros 7-0 in 2012.
IN THE MIX: The Toreros remained at No. 26 in the latest ITA team rankings, but had two players enter the singles rankings. Junior Clarke Spinosa is ranked No. 88 and freshman Uros Petronijevic came in at No. 107.
PROTECT THIS HOUSE: The Toreros are 4-0 at home in 2013 and are in the midst of a three game home stand in which they will face three ranked opponents. The Toreros passed the first test, knocking off No. 39 Boise State 5-2 last Friday, and now look to extend their home win streak to six with wins over No. 57 Rice and No. 2 USC.
FAMILIAR FOE: Head Coach Brett Masi will be facing a familiar face on Thursday when the Toreros meet Peter Smith and the Trojans. Masi was an assistant coach at USC from 2005-2009. While with the Trojans, Masi was named ITA West Region Assistant Coach of the Year twice (2007 & 2008) and also helped the Trojans win the 2009 NCAA National Championship.
CONFERENCE CREDABILITY: Entering the week there were four WCC teams ranked by the ITA: No. 7 Pepperdine, No. 26 San Diego, No. 43 Santa Clara, and No. 45 BYU. In addition, seven of the conference's nine teams boast a winning record. Four teams have already begun conference play, but the Toreros' first conference game isn't until March 9 when they travel to Provo, Utah to take on BYU.
SERBIN' IT UP: Freshman Uros Petronijevic's 5-2 singles record has caught the eyes of not only the ITA (hence his No, 108 ranking) but also of USDToreros.com. Michelle Human wrote a feature story on Uros detailing his journey from Serbia to San Diego and his early season success. To read the story click here.
PRESEASON PRAISE: USD was picked to finished second in the WCC preseason poll, receiving 57 points and one first place vote. The Toreros came in behind Pepperdine who took home eight first-place votes and 64 overall points. Santa Clara was voted third with 47 points, followed by BYU (45), San Francisco (30), Saint Mary's (29), and Loyola Marymount (23). Rounding out the poll was Portland (19) in eighth place and Gonzaga (10) in ninth.
MEET HEAD COACH Brett Masi: Masi enter his fourth year at USD with a 49-25 record. Masi guided the Toreros to their second consecutive NCAA Tournament appearance in 2011-12 as USD posted an 18-9 record on the year and advanced to the second round of the NCAAs. The season was highlighted by a 4-1 victory over No. 11 Texas on the road that marked the third-highest ranked team USD has ever defeated. Masi's squad climbed as high as No. 16 in the ITA rankings before finishing the year at No. 26, the team's highest final ranking since the 1993 squad finished at No. 21. In only his second year at USD in 2010-11, Masi led the Toreros to one of their finest seasons in decades as USD defeated Santa Clara 4-1 to claim the Toreros' first West Coast Conference title since 1990, as Masi took home WCC Coach of the Year honors, becoming the first USD coach to ever do so. In addition to being named ITA Southwest Region Coach of the Year, Masi guided USD to its first NCAA Championship appearance since the 2006 season, where the Toreros defeated No. 35 BYU 4-0 in the first round, before falling to eventual national champion USC in the second round. Under Masi, six Toreros earned All-WCC honors in 2011 and three players took home WCC Player of the Month honors, including conference player of the year Dean Jackson and conference freshman of the year Clarke Spinosa. Over the past two years, Masi has coached Jackson, who during the 2010-11 season tied the all-time USD career singles wins record with his 100th victory. Spinosa, one of Masi's first recruits at USD, tied the record for most singles wins by a freshman in Torero history (28) and set a new dual singles record by a freshman (21-3).
Also in 2011, Masi coached the Toreros to their highest Campbell/ITA ranking since 1990, reaching No. 20 and spending four-straight weeks in the Top-25 after opening the season with a No. 58 ranking. The Toreros put together their best team winning percentage (.731) since 1993 and closed out a perfect 10-0 dual match record at home. Masi guided the team to 12-consecutive dual match victories during the season, coming within two of the all-time USD record, while also leading the Toreros to six shutouts on the year, two shy of the USD record. Overall on the year, six of USD's seven losses came against teams ranked in the Campbell/ITA Top-10.
In his first season at the helm, Masi secured a record of 12-9, a final ITA ranking of No. 62, and a third place finish at the WCC Championships in April. The Toreros captured strong wins over UC Santa Barbara (6-1), UNLV (4-2), Cal Poly (5-2), and at the time, 51st-ranked UC Irvine (4-3). San Diego was led by All-WCC First Team selections, junior Dean Jackson and sophomore Nikola Bubnic, who each garnered 10+ singles victories in the dual campaign. Jackson finished the season with a record of 14-2, all at the No. 1 position, while taking home WCC Player of the Month honors for the month of February. Bubnic had more wins than any other Torero in 2010, capturing 30 singles victories for the combined fall and spring campaigns, a feat that has not been achieved since Jose Luis Noriega earned a mark of 31-4 in 1991.
Masi was named USD's new head men's tennis coach on May 21st, 2009. Masi came to USD from the University of Southern California where he had been with the USC men's tennis program since 2005, and had been Peter Smith's top assistant. The USC men's tennis program won the 2009 NCAA Men's Tennis Championship with a 4-1 win over #3 seed Ohio State. Masi took over for the late Tom Hagedorn who lost his courageous 18-month battle with Leukemia in late March 2009.
Prior to taking over at USD, Masi earned back-to-back honors as the ITA West Region Assistant Coach of the Year. He first won the award in 2007 following the Trojans' run to an 11-0 start and eventual 23-3 overall record with its trip to the NCAA Quarterfinals, and picked up his second accolade in 2008 after another USC run to the NCAA Quarterfinals.
The recently completed 2012 campaign marked his tenth season in collegiate tennis after spending his first two years as an assistant coach to the men and women's programs at Santa Clara University. Masi shared the responsibilities of individual workouts, strength and conditioning, recruiting and summer camp instruction for both the Bronco men's and women's teams in 2003 and 2004. In addition to his coaching duties, Masi also served as the Club Sports Coordinator and Bronco Kidz All-Sports Camp Director for the Pat Malley Fitness and Recreation Department in Santa Clara during this time.
Masi was a four-year letter winner at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, where he remains one of the program's all-time winningest players. He completed his career with a 60-29 singles record; playing among the top three singles positions since his freshman campaign. He earned his highest career singles ranking at No. 38 in 2000 and was named to the All-Big West Conference first team as a senior. In 2001, he earned his bachelor's degree in recreation administration from Cal Poly and earned his master's degree from Azusa Pacific in 2002.
In addition to coaching, Masi runs tennis camps in the summer with former USD coach Ed Collins.
Masi prepped at Riverside Poly High School, where he was a four-time Ivy League champion in both singles and doubles. Masi was born Nov. 2, 1978 in Riverside, Calif. He and his wife, Desiree, have two young children - a son, Jaxson, and daughter, Devyn.