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USC Men Capture Pac-12 Championship In Match For the Ages

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In a Pac-12 Championship match for the ages at the history-steeped 117th Annual Ojai Tennis Tournament, USC freshman Brandon Holt outlasted UCLA senior Gage Brymer, 7-5, 3-6, 6-4 at No. 1 singles to clinch the conference title for No. 7 (NCAA Division I) USC, 4-3, over No. 5 UCLA before a standing-room-only crowd at Libbey Park.

It was the fifth UCLA-USC final in the six years the Ojai Tennis Tournament has hosted the men’s Pac-12 Championships. Since The Ojai first hosted the Pac-12 men’s team championships in 2012, USC previously won it in 2012 and 2015, and UCLA in 2013, 2014 and 2016. 

In the first Pac-12 Women’s (team) Championship at The Ojai, reigning NCAA Division I champion Stanford (No. 6 in NCAA Division I) captured the Pac-12 crown, 4-1, over Bay Area rival California (No. 16) and automatically secured its 36th consecutive berth in to the NCAA Division I Championships (May 18-29).

Stanford won the doubles point on the rackets of its No. 1 doubles team, Emily Arbuthnott and Taylor Davidson, who downed Cal’s top team of Maegan Manasse and Maya Jansen, 6-3. Cal’s Karla Popovic downed Melissa Lord, 6-3, 6-3 in No. 2 singles to give the Bears the first singles point and briefly even the match, but the Cardinal scored the final three singles points through Davidson (6-4, 6-3 over Denise Starr), Arbuthnott (6-1, 7-6 over Jansen) and No. 1 singles player Caroline Doyle, who outlasted Cal’s Manasse, 4-6, 6-3, 6-3, to clinch the Pac-12 title.

The Ojai’s famed Men’s Open singles final will be contested between top seed Philip Bester (Vancouver, BC) and unseeded Henry Craig (Murrieta, Calif.) at 11 a.m. In the semifinals, Bester beat Los Angeles’ Haythem Abid, 6-3, 7-6 (7-4), and Craig dispatched No. 3 seed and former UCLA product Clay Thompson, 6-3, 4-6, 6-2.

The Women’s Open singles final features No. 1 seed Megan McCray, of Oceanside, against No. 4 seed Salma Ewing, of Long Beach. Neither has lost a set this week.

The Ojai concluded play in the CIF Boys singles and doubles divisions. Palisades High junior Jake Sands defeated Woodbridge High sophomore Stefan Dostanic, 4-6, 7-5, 6-0, to win the coveted Ojai title. San Marino High seniors Bryce Pereira and Connor Lee repeated as CIF Boys doubles champions at The Ojai, defeating Harvard-Westlake’s Jed Kronenberg and Adam Sraberg, 6-4, 6-1, in the final.