This year’s USC men’s team will undoubtedly go down as one of the best of all-time as seniors Steve Johnson and Daniel Nguyen helped guide the Trojans to their fourth consecutive NCAA Division I title with a dramatic 4-2 win over Virginia.
Johnson and Nguyen now join Stanford’s Paul Goldstein as the only players in NCAA Division I history to have won four straight titles.
The match was finished indoors because of lightning and it came down to the end in Athens, Ga., as USC freshman Yannick Hanfmann wound up the hero of the day, shrugging off a rough second set and battling back from down a break in the third to win it all in a tiebreaker.
After the match was moved indoors with USC trailing 1-0, the Trojans captured four of the five singles matches completed. USC finishes 2012 with a 33-1 overall record.
Johnson won his match at No. 1, Ray Sarmiento won at No. 2 and Emilio Gomez at No. 4 before Hanfmann pulled out the clincher at No. 5, 7-3 in the breaker.
After the match, USC coach Peter Smith was named the ITA National Coach of the Year for the second time in his career.
In the semifinals, USC beat UCLA 4-1 with Marcos Giron earning the only win for the Bruins. UCLA finished the year at 26-4.
On the women’s side, top-ranked UCLA fell in the women’s championship final 4-0 against defending champion Florida one day after an emotional semifinal victory over cross-town rival USC.
“I think Florida just really came out strong in the doubles, especially at No. 1 doubles," said UCLA head coach Stella Sampras Webster, who was looking for her second NCAA title after leading UCLA to the championship in 2008. "(Florida) played with a lot of energy and fire. I think we had some chances at 2 and 3, but they played well. They won a lot of the big points. Losing that doubles point was tough. We knew they were a very strong team and they are very deep, but we still felt like we could win this. They just played better than we did today in certain spots. They really seemed to dominate at 4 and 5. We just weren't as sharp as we needed to be to beat a team like Florida. I haven't seen them play all year so I don't know if that was their best match or if that was just how they play, but they definitely out-played us today."