Bulls shake off slow start

After playing a sub-par doubles match in the opening morning of the USF Fall Classic this weekend, the Bulls took it to their guests, winning the tournament.

The Bulls, who won only one doubles match to open the tournament, needed the early morning to find their stroke as juniors Paco Antelo and Renato Silveira defeated Troy Havens and Andrew Wakefield of Purdue 9-8 (7-5).

After the losses, USF won all of its next eight doubles matches.

“We had tried out some new doubles combinations, and we were still able to win the whole thing,” sophomore Uli Kiendl said. “I think it was good of coach (Don Barr) to try some other combinations.”

USF fared better in singles, winning 19 matches while dropping five.

“Part of the weekend was to find a partner to fit together, and also to see how we are in shape in our singles,” Kiendl said. “And how we can compete with the other teams, especially Central Florida because they are our in-state rivals.”

USF looked at several combinations, such as Kiendl teaming with senior Nadim Naser against the Boilermakers, and then Naser teaming with senior Jorge Escallon against Stetson, and Kiendl partnering with freshman Juan Barragan against UCF.

“We were looking at different combinations,” Barr said. “Renato and Paco were excellent, also Paco and Uli were also very well.”

Kiendl and Naser were the only two Bulls to go undefeated in the tournament.

“I played well,” Kiendl said. “It was important for me because I won close matches. Last spring, most of the time I won pretty easy and not in my tough matches.”

Kiendl’s tough matches came against Christian Moe of Stetson 6-4, 6-3 and Gabriel Strangberg of UCF 6-1, 3-6, 10-5.

The Bulls only lost one match against Stetson Saturday, with Reid Stubbs defeating Bulls’ freshman Federico Barton 1-6, 7-5, 10-8 in the morning.

In the afternoon match, USF did not lose a set to the Hatters, including Silveira defeating Aleksandar Antonjevic 6-1, 6-1.

“The freshmen and other transfers learned what Division I was all about,” Barr said. “Especially the fans screaming and cheering them on.”

The freshmen for the Bulls also had a good showing in their home opener with Barragan posting a 3-1 record, while Barton split four matches. Newcomer Silveira also posted a 3-1 record.

“I think (the freshmen) did well,” Kiendl said. “Juan played very well and also Freddie. They all did a really good job.

“They had some tough matches, and they did a good job.”

With the Bulls and their newcomers rebounding in their first home match after a slow start, the rest of the season looks to be a growing season for USF.

“I could not really see that they were nervous, especially Juan, because I played doubles,” Kiendl said. “It felt like they were really motivated and could handle the pressure.”