The Bulls’ second 4-3 loss to Florida this season will be USF’s last loss of the season. When Hamid Mirzadeh rallied from down a set to beat Martin Wetzel at No. 1, the Bulls fell one step shy of the Sweet 16 for the second season in a row.
After claiming the first set in a tiebreaker 7-6 (7-4), Wetzel had Mirzadeh trailing 3-1 in the second set. The clinching point and the match appeared to be in the Bulls’ hands. But Mirzadeh ran off five straight points to win the second set and dominated Wetzel to win the third set 6-2 and award the victory to the Gators.
“This was a really tough loss for us,” USF head coach Don Barr said.
“They battled hard, and that’s all I could have asked from them. We had a good year. Unfortunately, it had to end this way.”It took a big rally in singles play for the Bulls (18-5) to even have a chance at advancing.
The No. 21-ranked duo of Chris McDonald and Mirzadeh defeated Paco Antelo and Uli Kiendl 8-3 and coupled with Olivier Levant and Eleazar Magallan’s 8-4 victory at No. 2 against Dan McCain and Wetzel sealed the doubles point for the Gators.
Levant also took McCain in singles, 6-4 and 6-1, to put UF up 2-0. From there, the two squads traded victories. Kiendl breezed past Troy Hahn 6-1, 6-3 at No. 4, but the Gators responded with a win at No. 5 by Matt Behrmann over Nadim Naser. Jorge Escallon and Antelo’s triumphs at Nos. 6 and 2, respectively, put the pressure on Wetzel to deliver for the Bulls.
Women’s golf team 5th at regionals
The USF women’s golf team finished fifth place at the NCAA East Regional, assuring the squad a place in the NCAA Tournament in Seattle May 21-24.
The Bulls managed to advance, even though they were without one of their top players, Fany Schaeffer, who was out with a sore shoulder, the result of striking a tree root with a club during the Conference USA Tournament April 19-21. However, the Bulls didn’t miss a beat as sophomore Jameica Duncombe and Megan Cushman ably filled her shoes.
Duncombe, a native of Jamaica, had USF’s best individual score, stroking a 215 over the 54-hole University Club course in Baton Rouge, La. The 215 was a career low for Duncombe, including a first round 68 that gave her the first round lead. Duncombe tied for fifth overall.
Cushman, who slipped into the lineup due to Schaeffer’s absence, fired 72, 72 and 75 for three rounds.
Duke won the regional, besting Auburn by 13 strokes for the title. The Tigers were followed by Wake Forest, Florida and USF.