Just about this time last year, USC players stormed the tennis courts as they defeated Virginia 4-3 to win the NCAA Men's Tennis Championship for the third straight year. It was also the third straight year that the Hoos had been eliminated from the tournament by the Trojans, despite Virginia being ranked and seeded No. 1 in each of those three years.
This year, the Cavaliers are ranked No. 2 in the country, but seeded No. 3 in the tournament. The Cavaliers took down Pepperdine last night, 4-1, in a rain-prolonged match that was eventually moved indoors. Pepperdine did the Cavaliers a favor by already defeating second-seeded and home town favorites Georgia.
The stage is set once more for an epic UVA-USC showdown for the national title. Despite the Hoos winning five of the past six ITA Team Indoor Championships, they've never been able to capture the elusive NCAA championship in the spring.
The Cavaliers are coming in strong this year, having captured the doubles point in each of the three matches they've played so far (vs. Farleigh and ODU in the regionals, and vs. Cal, Stanford and Pepperdine in the championships). Three Hoos -- Mitchell Frank, Justin Shane and Julen Uriguen -- have yet to drop a single set in the entire tournament. Two others -- Alex Domijan and Drew Courtney -- have only dropped one set.
That's not to say that USC isn't also playing some mean tennis. Two Trojans have yet to drop a set -- Steve Johnson and Roberto Quiroz. The Trojans have also won each of their doubles points in the tournament.
Buckle down for a wild ride, folks. Could this be the year the Hoos finally nab their first team title? The game is not televised, but if it stays outdoors today, you'll be able to stream it live at Georgia's website.