COLLEGE NOTEBOOK: TENNIS, ANYONE? USC, UCLA MEET FOR PAC-10.
Special to the Daily News
The UCLA-USC men's tennis rivalry spans nearly 80 years, but not since the teams met eight times in the 1960s to decide the national champion has a match had as much significance as today's showdown to determine the Pacific-10 Conference champion.
Tenth-ranked UCLA (18-3, 6-0) plays host to No. 9 USC (20-1, 6-0) at 1:30 p.m. at the Los Angeles Tennis Center, with the Bruins seeking their fourth consecutive conference title and the Trojans looking to capture their first since 2004.
USC is also looking for its first outright Pac-10 championship since 1994 and to finish conference play undefeated for the first time since 1987.
The Trojans defeated the Bruins 6-1 in a nonconference match March 9, but the Bruins have since won nine in a row. UCLA also boasts a 16-match home winning streak against USC since 1991.
It will also mark the final regular-season home match for UCLA seniors Philipp Gruendler, Benjamin Kohlloeffel and Chris Surapol, with a ceremony honoring the trio to following the contest's completion.
Kohlloeffel, who became UCLA's all-time leader in career singles victories (120) Saturday against Cal, will try to atone for his lone loss this season after suffering a 6-4, 7-6 (2) upset against USC's Dejan Cvetkovic.
More than 100 former Bruins are scheduled to attend, according to coach Billy Nelson.
Women's showdown: Although the women's tennis battle between No. 12 UCLA and No. 8 USC won't decide the conference title, it will have a profound impact on the final Pac-10 standings.
UCLA (15-7, 5-2) plays USC (17-3, 6-1) at noon Saturday at Marks Tennis Stadium, with the Bruins seeking their first victory in the series since 2005.
A USC win, combined with No. 9 Cal (19-5, 5-2) upsetting top-ranked Stanford (19-1, 7-0) on Saturday, would create a tie for the crown.
The Women of Troy recorded a 4-3 nonconference victory March 8 over the Bruins.
Wave of awards: Pepperdine junior setter Jonathan Winder was selected Mountain Pacific Sports Federation Player of the Year, leading the Waves men's volleyball team to 21 consecutive victories following his return to the lineup Jan. 27 after being sidelined with a broken bone in his leg.
During conference play, Winder averaged 13.08 assists to go along with 2.10 digs and 1.04 blocks per game.
Pepperdine's Marv Dunphy was selected MPSF Coach of the Year after guiding the Waves to a record 21 conference victories in a season.
Sophomore opposite hitter Paul Carroll received first-team all-conference honors and senior middle blocker Tom Hulse was an honorable mention selection.
The top-ranked Waves (24-1) play host UCLA or UC Santa Barbara in Thursday's MPSF tournament semifinals.