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Time off to test tennis team

After a full two weeks of rest, the USF men’s tennis team will look to get back in the swing of things Saturday when it travels to play No. 40 Miami (8-7) at 12:30 p.m. in Coral Gables.The No. 34 Bulls (12-3) last played at No. 55 LSU on March 23, taking a 5-2 loss, and are itching at the chance to finally get back out onto the court for real.

A strong start in doubles will be key for the Bulls.”It is going to be like the first match of the season for us,” said USF coach Don Barr. “They’re in top form right now, having played five matches in the past two weeks. We need to come out firing on all cylinders and get the doubles point.”

Miami has been consistently falling in the rankings since starting out the spring ranked No. 18. They are 5-7 against ranked opponents, but none of their victories have come against anyone ranked higher than No. 36 Middle Tennessee State, which they defeated 4-3 March 25. The Hurricanes are coming off a 7-0 loss to No. 13 Duke on Sunday.

Miami’s top singles player is freshman Todd Widom, ranked No. 16 in the nation. Widom has posted a 25-4 singles record since coming to the ‘Canes last fall.

The Bulls feature two players ranked in singles, No. 88 Martin Wetzel and No. 109 Paco Antelo. Wetzel has yet to lose a singles match this spring.

With a 4-3 record against ranked opponents, the Bulls will need this victory to build momentum for the stretch run as the season winds down.

After Saturday’s match, the Bulls will take on No. 5 Mississippi in Tampa next Wednesday and finish off the regular season next Saturday against Jacksonville on Senior Day. Two Bulls seniors, Dan McCain and Jit Shah, will be honored before the match against the Dolphins.

“We haven’t been playing, so we have to come out match tough from the beginning and not give them any hope of winning,” Barr said.

  • Chris Lemke covers men’s tennis and can be reached at