The USF women’s tennis team ended its season with a big win against No. 32 Florida International University Saturday, 4-3.USF coach Sherry Bedingfield started the morning with a small goodbye ceremony for the five seniors who will be leaving. Each Bull was presented with a gift accompanied by encouraging words from Bedingfield, including some stories about their tennis careers at USF.
Although Florida International won the doubles point early in the match, the Bulls came out in their singles matches ready to win.
“I was very pleased with them,” Bedingfield said. “I knew it was going to be hard to regroup after barely losing the doubles point, but they really came out and played well in singles.” Freshman Patricia Kolendo was the first to win her singles match, defeating FIU’s Dominique Rosenberg 6-0, 6-1 to set the pace for the rest of the Bulls.
At No. 5, senior Jackie Spicijaric defeated FIU’s Nazly Elsawarf 6-2, 6-2.
USF continued to overcome Florida International as Jennifer Sinclair beat FIU’s No. 3 Maria Montoya 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 (7-1).Senior Natalie Schwartz ended her final season at USF with a win against Anneliese Rose 6-4, 1-6, 6-1 at No. 1.
Sinclair teamed with senior Claudia Nieto to win their match at No. 2 doubles 8-6, but USF failed to garner the point when FIU’s Rose and Mei Ly defeated Schwartz and senior Genevieve Houle in a tiebreaker.
The Bulls will enter next weekend’s Conference USA Tournament with a huge lift in their spirits as they shared their last match together as a team at the USF Varsity Tennis Courts with Bedingfield. Bedingfield has said she will be retiring at the end of this season. She ends her career at USF with 345 victories over 23 years of coaching.
Bedingfield’s retirement has not swayed her determination to have the Bulls’ succeed at the C-USA tournament April 18-21 in Fort Worth, Texas.
“This weekend’s win will give us a big boost going into next week in the Conference USA Championships,” said Bedingfield.
Amanda Collins covers women’s tennis and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org