An injury-ridden USF men’s tennis team suffered its worst loss this season Sunday against No. 27 Pepperdine. The Bulls were swept 7-0 by the Waves on their home court in Malibu, Calif.
“They are a good team; they beat Harvard who is (No. 15) in the country,” USF coach Don Barr said. “(Pepperdine) is very tough on their home courts and (injury) was definitely part of it, but I won’t say it was the sole reason why (we lost).”
Injured players include Paco Antelo, Renato Silviera, Karim Benmansour and Andy Maroldt. All the injured players are suffering from various pulls except for Benmansour, who is battling with a back injury. Barr is not worried about the mental toughness of his players and said that they will bounce back from this defeat.
“The biggest thing is just to get healthy, and I think it is a learning experience to winning on the road and winning against top-20 teams, and Pepperdine is a definitely a top-20 team,” Barr said. “We have to find a way to do that; take care of ourselves and be healthy for the next match.”
With an 11-4 record, the Bulls have an outside chance for an at-large bid, especially if they can win their last four matches. If the Bulls do not get an at-large bid into the tournament, they have to rely on their performance at the Conference USA Championship. That too is a realistic goal for the Bulls who lost in the Conference Shootout finals to Tulane at the end of November. USF will have a clearer view of its future after playing Central Florida in Tampa on Wednesday.
“I feel as though it is a very crucial match for us,” Barr said. “If we want to get a bid into the NCAA’s I think we have to finish the season out.”