After struggling through the regular season, the USF women’s tennis team will try to put the pieces together at the Conference USA championship this weekend in Louisville.
The Bulls finished the season 4-13, but have been seeded No. 8 out of the 14-team field. Tulane, USF’s only regular season conference opponent and latest loss, is ranked No. 15 in the country and is seeded No. 1 overall in the tournament. The only other nationally-ranked team in C-USA is No. 25 TCU, which is seeded No. 2 in the tournament. Despite the losing record, USF coach Gigi Fernandez said she is not happy with the No. 8 seed because she feels the Bulls had one of the strongest schedules in C-USA.
“Frankly I think we should be ranked higher. I consider (No. 8 low),” Fernandez said. “The fact that we are behind Charlotte is kind of nauseating.”
The action starts for the Bulls on Thursday when they are paired up with No. 9 seed Memphis. The Tigers split the regular season 11-11, but picked up three conference wins, including a 4-3 win over No. 10 seed East Carolina.
“I never underestimate an opponent, but I think we are better than (Memphis),” Fernandez said. “I feel pretty good that we should beat them.”
If the Bulls win on Thursday, they will move on to face TCU, a task that may prove difficult because the team is 15-6 with a 4-3 win over No. 3 seed Houston. If the Bulls lose in the first round, they will play a consolation match Friday evening, but if they advance and lose to TCU, they will play Saturday morning.
“If we lose in the first round, I think we are going home,” Fernandez said. “I mean that as a joke, but it would be extremely disappointing to play for No. 9, because I think we are way better than that. Frankly, I think we are the fourth-best team in this conference.”