The Bulls fought through illness and injuries to secure their first win since March 10 during a 5-2 victory over Texas-San Antonio.
Early in the match, the Bulls saw three players unable to perform due to illness. After a hard-fought doubles victory, Thomas Estrada and Mahmoud Hamed were unable to play their singles sets because of heat illness.
“The heat really took whatever energy they had away,” coach Don Barr said. “They battled through their (doubles) match, but neither could go for singles.”
The Bulls earned the doubles point because TSAU only brought six players to the match, forcing the Roadrunners to forfeit the deciding doubles set.
The Bulls had five freshmen playing singles matches in positions they were unaccustomed to. Diego Toledo made the most drastic change, jumping from his usual No. 6 position to No. 2, filling in for Marc Jaeger. Toledo won his most difficult match of the year with 6-4, 3-6, 6-2 over San Antonio’s Robin Fernandes.
“Diego did a great job for us today,” Barr said. “He never played there (at No. 2) before, and he battled through a great match.”
Freshmen Henning Hipp and Daniel Daudt earned victories at the No. 3 and No. 4 positions, respectively. Mark Gattiker earned a point for the Bulls via a victory by forfeit. His opponent was injured earlier in the match, and TSAU was unable to replace him.
The Bulls’ victory comes just one day after suffering a 5-2 defeat at the hands of No. 45 Middle Tennessee State. Both matches were home matches for USF.
“It felt good to get that win,” Barr said. “I told the team that our goal now is to be in the best shape of our lives, both physically and mentally.”
The Bulls will travel to Kentucky next week to play Virginia Commonwealth and Big East rival Louisville. The match against the Cardinals will have serious implications on the Big East Tournament.
“If we beat Louisville, we can earn a two seed for the conference tournament,” Barr said. “I told the team that the match against Louisville is one we can win.”