Toreros Have Targets Set On No. 7 Pepperdine

USDTOREROSDOTCOM Freshman Romain Kalaydjian joined Clarke Spinosa in the singles rankings this week at No. 110
Freshman Romain Kalaydjian joined Clarke Spinosa in the singles rankings this week at No. 110

April 9, 2013


-- No. 38 San Diego (14-7, 4-1) vs. LMU (3-16, 1-4)

Friday, April 12, 2013, 1:30 p.m.

LMU Tennis Center

-- No. 38 San Diego (14-7, 4-1) vs. No. 7 Pepperdine (18-4, 5-0)

Saturday, April 13, 3:00 p.m.

Ralphs-Straus Tennis Center

LAST TIME OUT: The Toreros are coming off a very impressive week, where they went 3-0 and combined to beat their opponents 19-2. It all started with a huge 7-0 road win over their cross-town rival No. 43 San Diego State last Wednesday. After winning doubles at the No. 1 and 3 spots, the Toreros win all six of their singles matches to sweep the Aztecs.

On Friday, the Toreros knocked off San Francisco 6-1. The Toreros lost the doubles point in this one, but managed to sweep the singles matches. The Dons made the Toreros work however; after USD jumped out to an early 3-1 lead, the Dons forced a third set at the No. 1, 2, and 5 spots. However the "French Armada", as Head Coach Masi calls them, of Thibaut Visy, Romain Kalaydjian, and Victor Pugliese rallied to help the Toreros sweep singles for the second straight match.

On Sunday, with the Toreros hosting USTA Kids Day, they were able to win a key WCC match over No. 56 Santa Clara 6-1. After splitting doubles at the No. 3 and 2 spots, Clarke Spinosa and Thibaut Visy clinched the point with an 8-6 win at the No. 1. The Toreros would go on to win five of the six singles matches to bring their WCC record to 4-1.

SCOUTING THE LIONS: LMU is in the midst of a rough season, but it's important that the Toreros don't look past the Lions in anticipation for their Saturday showdown at Pepperdine... The Lions are 3-16 on the season and 1-4 in WCC play... Two of the Lions three wins came against Gonzaga, although only one counted toward their conference record... The Lions 4-3 road win over Gonzaga snapped a six match-losing streak...Cristobal Rivera (9-8) and Sebastian Bustamante (8-9) have the most singles wins for the Lions... Othar Kordsachia and Felix Van Kann are a perfect 6-0 on the season in doubles are ranked No. 63 by the ITA... LMU Head Coach Brad Sceney is in his sixth year with the program and has led the Lions to three straight fifth place finishes. Sceney is the career leader in singles wins at Pepperdine... The Toreros have never lost to LMU, holding an 18-0 all-time record. USD won last year's meeting 7-0.

SCOUTING THE WAVES: If the Toreros are going to win the WCC, chances are they are going to have to go through Pepperdine. The Waves are ranked No. 7 in the country and boast an 18-4 overall record and a perfect 5-0 record in the WCC... The Waves have won their last eight matches in a row... The Waves play No. 41 Stanford on the road on Wednesday and Saint Mary's on Friday, meaning that Saturday's match against the Toreros will be their third in four days... The Waves have three players ranked in the ITA's Top 100 singles rankings: No. 17 Sebastian Fanselow (13-5 at the No. 1), No. 80 Francis Alcantara (16-4, 12-2 at the No. 4), and No. 88 Finn Tearney (15-4, 9-2 at the No. 2)... Alcantara and Tearney also are ranked in doubles at No. 36 with a 7-5 record at the No. 1, which will set up quite the showdown with the Toreros No. 1 tandem Clarke Spinosa and Thibaut Visy, who are 10-4 at the No. 1...Waves Head Coach Adam Steinberg is in his 11th season with Pepperdine. Steinberg led the team to a 2006 National Championship and has been named Southwest Regional Coach of the Year twice (2006 and 2012)... The Waves are 27-3 all-time against the Toreros, knocking them out of the WCC Tournament multiples times. The Toreros last beat the Waves ten years ago in 2003 when they won 4-3...

IN THE MIX: After going 3-0 last week, the Toreros moved up four spots in the ITA rankings to No. 38... The Toreros have been in the rankings all season, getting as high as No. 26 and falling as low as No. 51... Clarke Spinosa remained in the rankings at No. 87 in singles, and Romain Kalaydjian re-entered the rankings for the first time since January 3rd, coming in at No. 110.

CLARKE ATTACK:  Clarke Spinosa was recently named San Diego Hall of Champions Star of the Month for March. Spinosa, who is ranked No. 87 in singles, went 6-3 in singles in March and 6-2 in doubles (w/ Thibaut Visy). It was a busy week for Spinosa, who was also featured on the San Diego Union Tribune's online sports show, "The Sports Page," where he previewed the Toreros match against cross-town rival San Diego State. The clip can be seen here.

KIDS DAY: Sunday's match against Santa Clara was Campus Kids Day. During the match, dozens of up-and-coming tennis players ate pizza and won prizes while watching the Toreros win 6-1. After the match, the Toreros led all the kids in a short tennis clinic. 

The Toreros Hosted USTA Campus Kids Day after their 6-1 win over Santa Clara

I'LL TAKE TWO: Freshman Romain Kalaydjian (Rueil-Malmaison, France) came to San Diego with lofty expectations. After choosing USD over schools such as Santa Clara, Texas A&M, and Kentucky, Kalaydjian opened the spring season ranked at No. 62 in the ITA's singles rankings and was put in the No. 1 spot in the singles lineup. After going 2-5 at the No. 1, Head Coach Brett Masi moved him down to the No. 2 and it has paid off big dividends. After going 7-1 in his last eight matches at the No. 2, Kalaydjian found himself back in the rankings this week at No. 110.

BRINGING UP THE REAR: The Toreros have been getting great production out of their No. 5 and 6 singles spots all season from sophomores Victor Pugliese and Ciaran Fitzgerald. Pugliese is 13-5 at the No. 5 (15-5 overall) and has won eight of his last ten matches, while Fitzgerald is 12-6 at the No. 6 (14-7 overall) and has won seven of his last ten matches.

NOTHING BEATS HOME COOKING: Playing away from home has been unkind to the Toreros so far this season. USD is 1-5 when playing outside of San Diego with their lone winning coming in the season opener when they beat Texas Tech 4-3 at the ITA Kickoff Weekend.

GOING AGAINST THE BEST: Pepperdine will be the 14th ranked opponent and third top ten opponent the Toreros have faced so far this season, which will help prepare them for the WCC and NCAA Tournaments. USD is 6-7 so far against teams ranked in the ITA's Top 75. 

GET THE INSIDE SCOOP: Want the latest insider information of the Torero tennis team? Head Coach Brett Masi reveals inside stories and jokes from the practice court, road trips, and even ice baths in his weekly newsletter, which can be seen here.

WCC WATCH: With the WCC Tournament (April 24-27 at Barnes Tennis Center) rapidly approaching, the race for the top seed is heating up. No. 7 Pepperdine (18-4, 5-0) and No. 39 BYU (16-4, 4-0) currently sit atop the standings, but the No. 38 Toreros (14-7, 4-1) and Saint Mary's (9-9, 3-1) still have a chance to move up in the standings. Pepperdine still has to play BYU, USD, and Saint Mary's. Santa Clara remained in the rankings (13-9, 1-4) at No. 64 and is a threat to upset a high seed at the conference tournament. The top three seeds will receive a first round bye in the WCC Tournament, so it's critical that the Toreros finish out the season strong.

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.