After losing just three games in its previous eight matches, the South Florida women’s tennis team needed all seven games to defeat Florida International University 4-3 on Friday.
The victory was the ninth straight for the Bulls.
USF started the match by winning the deciding doubles point – which proved to be important later in the match – in the No. 2 court, with Lauren Shumate and Jessica Zok earning a 9-7 victory over Maria Dolores Pazo and Egle Petrauskaite.
Iciri Rai was first off the court in the singles matchups after beating Pazo 6-1,6-0. No. 1 singles player Janette Bejlkova – ranked No. 57 in the NCAA – needed three sets to win her match over Liset Brito 3-6, 6-2, 6-1.
The Bulls then lost the No. 5 and No.6 matchups, evening the overall match score to 3-3. This put the pressure on Liz Cruz in the No. 3 court. More than an hour after starting her match against Marijana Cutuk – and with her entire team watching her – Cruz took the deciding point (7-6, 6-4).
“We played hard today and it showed,” coach Agustin Moreno said. “Liz battled hard at the end and the doubles point was big for us.”
The Bulls were scheduled to play Virginia Commonwealth University on Sunday, but the match was cancelled due to heavy rain. It was to be the team’s final match of the regular season before the Big East Championship tournament.
The Bulls will look to repeat as Big East champions this season as they host the tournament, which starts April 17.