The USF men’s tennis team will take to the Varsity Tennis Courts Saturday for more than just a match against in-state rival Jacksonville (11-9).
For the last time, seniors Dan McCain and Eric Gildhorn will play on the home courts.
The two will be honored before the match against the Dolphins when the festivities begin at noon.
The Bulls (13-4) will be looking to rebound from the tough loss they took on Wednesday at the hands of No. 4 Ole Miss. The Rebels won 7-0, the first time the Bulls were swept all season.
After moving up to No. 28 in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association polls before the match against Ole Miss, the Bulls found themselves just one spot behind TCU, the highest ranked team in Conference USA. The team that finishes with the highest ranking will most likely be voted by the coaches as the top seed for the Conference USA Tournament to be held next weekend at Louisville. A strong outing against the Dolphins is definitely needed in order for the Bulls to have a chance at swaying the coaches in their favor.
Gildhorn has played all four years at USF, coming to the school in 1998 from Aruba. He has gone 9-8 in singles and 12-11 in doubles throughout his career as a Bull. This season, Gildhorn has a 2-0 singles record and is 4-1 in doubles action.
“Eric has been a team player,” said USF coach Don Barr. “He’s never pressured (me) to play a certain position. Wherever I played him, he was willing to help the team … just a first-class person.”
McCain has taken a long road to this point in his career, as well. After graduating from high school, he went to Michigan for his first three years. Wanting out of Ann Arbor, McCain came back home for his senior year and has been a major factor in the Bulls’ success this year. Adding depth to the lineup with his ability to play anywhere from No. 1 to No. 4 in singles, McCain has compiled an 11-5 singles record this year and a 9-5 doubles record.
“He’s brought a lot of talent to the team, lots of experience,” Barr said.
The Bulls defeated the Dolphins 6-1 last year, but the Dolphins have a little different look this year, with five freshmen on the squad.
Khari Williams contributed to this report.
Chris Lemke covers men’s tennis and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org