USF women’s tennis coach Gigi Fernandez thought her team would win Sunday’s match against Jacksonville “pretty handily.”
Her players must have thought the same, especially after the Bulls captured the doubles point, winning all three doubles matches.
But four losses in singles play gave Jacksonville a 4-3 victory against USF. Freshman Yuri Kurashima lost to Nisrine Hajbane, dropping two sets after taking the first. That match proved to be the point that gave the Dolphins the win.
“It shouldn’t have come down to a freshman who has been hurt for two years,” Fernandez said of Kurashima, who is recovering from ACL knee surgery.
Freshman Gabriela Duch also lost in singles play in straight sets to Emese Sulyos. Duch played in Flight 1 after Neyssa Etienne was not given clearance to play, as the NCAA tries to clear up eligibility questions that surround her after she reportedly accepted money from a professional event.
Duch has experience playing in Flight 1 for the Bulls, though. She played at the top singles position in the fall, where she was ranked No. 18 in the southern region.
“There seemed to be no urgency in any of the matches,” Fernandez said.
Also losing singles matches were USF’s Marie France Lord Andrade to Veronika Subertova, and USF’s Talia Romero to Kristina Puck.
The pair of USF singles wins came at the Flight 3 and Flight 4 spots won by Fabiana Taverna over Martina Strussova in straight sets, and Patricia Kolendo in three sets over Jacksonville’s Kristina Packer.
In doubles competition, Andrade and Duch defeated Strussova and Subertova, Kurashima and Taverna beat Hajbane and Packer and Kolendo and Luisa Obando took care of Puck and Sulyos.
Competition for the Bulls is not going to get any easier with upcoming ranked teams like No. 1 Florida, No. 8 William and Mary, No. 16 Clemson, No. 18 South Alabama, No. 22 Miami, No. 23 Illinois and No. 25 Tulane.
The Bulls next opponent is top-ranked Florida on Jan. 31 in what could be their toughest match all season. But first they need to get over Sunday’s loss.
“This was a very shocking loss,” Fernandez said. “Overall, today was very disappointing.”