The USF men’s tennis team looks to bounce back from its 4-3 loss to No. 37 Florida today at home against Marquette at 2 p.m. After climbing to No. 28 in the ITA polls last week the Bulls failed to build on their strong start and took a tough loss.
Despite the defeat, the team feels optimistic about the rest of the season.
“I don’t see it as a setback, rather I see the match (against Florida) as a springboard for the rest of the season,” senior Dan McCain said.
“We just need to be ourselves out there on the court, and not be too focused on the rankings at this point,” McCain said. Focus is the key for the rest of the season according to USF head coach Don Barr.
“We need to come out playing,” Barr said. “Against the Gators we struggled in the doubles, and, despite winning the doubles point, I think that carried over into the singles play.”
After winning the doubles point by defeating Florida 2-1, in doubles play, the Bulls seemed to play out of character when they started singles play by losing four of six first sets in singles play.
“It’ll definitely be a positive for us the rest of the year,” McCain said. “If we stay focused, I think we defeat Florida. I think we are still the better team.”
For the Bulls to get a chance to prove they are better than the Gators, a victory against Marquette is needed. The Golden Eagles have faced weak competition until this point, defeating unranked Illinois-Chicago 7-0 and Eastern Illinois 6-1.
Barr tried to eliminate any sense of complacency for the match today by reminding his players all week to come out strong from the beginning and not play like they are hanging on – but play like they are out there to win.
“If we stay focused on how we come out right away that will be key because Marquette is on somewhat of a spring break coming down here and we have to go after it big time,” Barr said.
Sophomore Martin Wetzel agreed, saying, “We have to come out strong and not even give those Northern guys a chance.”
Sometimes a defeat leads to a learning curve that develops strong teams.The learning curve starts for the Bulls men’s tennis team today.
- Chris Lemke can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org