September 2020 (2) Candygrams

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Wednesday, September 30, 2020---V.I.P. Tennis Zoom Call

04Trojan Candy was lucky to be included in the V.I.P. Men's and Women's Tennis Zoom Call. It was so nice to see several USC Athletic friends, USC tennis booster friends and USC varsity tennis players whom I have met. Here is a snip of the audience.

Jennifer Noriega welcomed everyone and opened up the USC Men's and Women's Tennis Zoom Call. There was a short video which Trojan Candy was able to record the sound, but not the pictures. Current Men's and Women's USC Tennis Team members thanked the Trojan Family. Here are five of the players who introduced themselves.

Senior Riley Smith (11/15/2018) said, "Thank you for your continued support. Hopefully I'll have the spring season with my guys."
Freshman Ryder Jackson said, "Thank you for all your support in helping me to achieve my goals."
Junior Bradley Frye (11/15/2018) spoke to the Trojan Family, "You help us succeed, do our best and compete."
Woman of Troy Junior Salma Ewing (4/5/2019) said, "I wouldn't be here without your support."

20Junior Mor Bulis also addressed the Trojan Family, "Thank you for your support and for providing everything that is necessary."

FIGHT ON, Riley! FIGHT ON, Ryder! FIGHT ON, Bradley! FIGHT ON, Salma! FIGHT ON, Mor!

Athletic Director Mike Bohn thanked the Trojan Family donors and said that the athletes are working through the COVID 19 challenge and have not complained. Proudly, he noted that the Men's Tennis Team welcomed him with the 2020 Men's Tennis Indoor National Championship. Then, A.D. Bohn introduced Women of Troy Tennis Coach Alison Swain.

Coach Swain introduced the four new Women of Troy Tennis recruits.

The first is Clare McKee, senior graduate transfer student from Princeton. She is earning her M.S. in Entrepreneurship and Innovation.
The first of three new freshmen is Snow Han, a #2 recruit from China. Snow has already won seven titles.
Walk-on freshman transfer from Arizona McKenna Koenig is majoring in Business Finance.
The third freshman is Naomi Cheong, who is from Las Vegas. She is a #8 recruit majoring in International Relations.

FIGHT ON, Clare! FIGHT ON, Snow! FIGHT ON, McKenna! FIGHT ON, Naomi!

Then Coach Swain told us that our 2019-2020 women were ranked as high as #11 and that our doubles team of Eryn Cayetano and Angela Kulikov beat the #1 Doubles Team on February 28, 2020. Then came COVID 19. During the pandemic, Coach Swain said that the team has been working on mental training, personal development and professional development. Proudly, she told us two facts. The Women of Troy has had a Top 10 recruiting class the last three years. The second fact was that she and her husband welcomed a new baby girl during the pandemic. Congratulations Coach Swain!

?Coach Swain introduced the next guest speaker Angela Kulikov (4/5/2019). Angela will have another season of eligibility at USC because of the NCAA COVID-19 Response waiver. Angela made an interesting video about her typical day during the pandemic. Her roommate is teammate and doubles partner Eryn Cayetano. Angela was grateful that USC took care of its athletes with food and exercise equipment. She said that the team found public tennis courts in Crenshaw to practice on.

21Coach Swain asked Angela what is her best personal memory at USC and what is her best team memory. Angela said that her best personal memory was being ranked #1 in doubles in 2019. As for the best team memory, she had two. One was beating the Lady Bruins in 2019 on their court and the other was taking the trip to Australia where we played in an exhibition against South Carolina in the Australia Open and then beat the Gamecocks 4-1. FIGHT ON, Angela!

09Coach Swain introduced the next guest speaker, USC Tennis alumna Danielle Lao. Danielle majored in Communication and graduated in 2013. She was a two time All-American at USC. She has written a book about her experiences at USC. The title is The Invaluate Experience. Danielle is playing professional tennis now. She told us how she and her three USC teammates Giuliana Olmos (3/23/2012), Sabrina Santamaria (4/11/2014) and Kaitlyn Christian (11/11/2010) are "best" friends as they compete in the WTA.

Then Coach Swain asked Danielle two questions. First, "What is your best moment at USC?" Danielle recalled that she had never beaten Stanford until 2012 when she and teammate Sabrina Santamaria were at match point in singles at almost the same time. They both won their point, ran to one another and defeated Stanford! Second, "How did USC prepare you for the future?" Smiling, Danielle boasted that USC pushed me to grow in every single role. I grew as a student and leader. I found myself as a person...a multifaceted person. USC empowered me to follow my dreams! FIGHT ON, Danielle!

USC Men's Tennis head coach Brett Masi spoke next. He spoke highly of our 2019-2020 Men's Tennis team. Our men were 13-1 in the spring, losing only to Ohio State. Then they won the NCAA 2020 Men's Indoor Tennis Championship. Another NCAA title for USC! Coach Masi told us that during the tournament four or five of our men were ill. We were ranked #1 with eight ranked players on our team. Coach Masi also talked about how close our team was. There was unity and a sense of family among the team along with a respect of our roots. Then, the COVID-19 pandemic struck. Our 2020-2021 Team will be different. There will be two new players on the team. They are:

Lodewijk Weststrate. FIGHT ON, Lodewijk!
and Sean Holt, Brandon's younger brother. FIGHT ON, Sean!

??Coach Masi introduced Stefan Dostanic. Then Stefan showed his video of his home and family. After the video, Coach Masi interviewed Stefan. Stefan's parents immigrated from Serbia to live in Irvine. They wanted to escape the war in Yugoslavia. Stefan attended Woodbridge High School and was two times the Orange County Register Boys Tennis Player of the Year. He chose to attend USC over UCLA and Stanford. Stefan said that, "I fell in love with USC. USC has the best resources for athletes." He is majoring in Economics. FIGHT ON, Stefan!

01Coach Masi introduced the next guest speaker. Kaes Van't Hof competed at USC in 2005-2008. Both of Kaes's parents are Trojans. His dad Robert, who graduated from USC in 1980, was an All-American in singles and doubles. Robert was inducted into the ITA Hall of Fame in 2003. Kaes majored in Business and Accounting at USC. Kaes said that USC prepared him to enter the "real world." He learned to keep his mind open and to be open to opportunities as they presented themselves. While at USC, Kaes saw a wide range of the world. Kaes is now living in Midland, Texas. He is the C.F.O. of Diamondback Energy, an oil and natural gas company.

07Coach Masi asked Kaes the same two questions that Coach Swain had asked Angela and Danielle. About his best team memory, Kaes recalled his 2005 team's victory over the Bruins when he was a freshman. The team was down 4-1 losing the Doubles and losing five of six Singles in the first set. His team fought back to 6-4 and then won the match 7-5. What a remarkable comeback! Kaes's fondest personal memories were going to the USC Saturday football games with his friends. His most memorable game was the "Bush Push" game he saw in South Bend when we beat Notre Dame in the last play. FIGHT ON, Kaes!

During the V.I.P. Men's and Women's Tennis Zoom Call, Trojan Candy was able to take more snips of current USC tennis players thanking all of the donors for their contributions. These players appeared in the videos prior to and at the end of the Zoom call. Here are the pictures I was able to snip.

Senior Constance Branstine. FIGHT ON, Constance!
Sophomore Eryn Cayetano. FIGHT ON, Eryn!
Junior Estella Jaeger. FIGHT ON, Estella!
Freshman McKenna Koenig. FIGHT ON, Mckenna!
Senior Ana Neffa. FIGHT ON, Ana!
Sophomore Payton Saca.
Payton Saca again. FIGHT ON, Payton!
Junior Danielle Willson. FIGHT ON, Danielle!
Senior Daniel Cukierman. FIGHT ON, Daniel!
Freshman Sean Holt. FIGHT ON, Sean!
Junior Jake Sands. FIGHT ON, Jake!
Redshirt Freshman Colter Smith who is Riley's brother. FIGHT ON, Colter!
Freshman Lodewijk Westrate. FIGHT ON, Lodewick!

The V.I.P. Men's and Women's Tennis Zoom Call ended with a rousing performance by the Spirit of Troy.

FIGHT ON, USC Men's Tennis! FIGHT ON, Women of Troy Tennis!