Playing two men short, never forcing a third set and getting their bus stuck as they left the courts added up to a bad day for Bethune-Cookman’s men’s tennis team as it lost 6-0 to an energetic USF.
“They had a good practice all week, they were focused and you could see the adrenaline flowing — and that’s what we have to have if we’re going to go to where we want to go,” said USF coach Don Barr.
The Bulls were the dominant force on the court Saturday as they quickly dismantled the Wildcats, first in doubles 8-3 and 8-2 and then in singles, winning all four of their matches in two sets.
BCC started with only five players, which forced them to forfeit one doubles match and a singles match. Things only got worse for the Wildcats when Miloslav Medricky retired to Sebastian Niedermayer after one game at No. 5 due to a wrist injury.
“I really wanted to see that match because Sebastian’s got that big serve, and he played very, very strong in the doubles,” said Barr. “I was very disappointed we didn’t get to see that match.”
Each of the Bulls moved up a position due to the shortage of players from BCC, allowing top seed Paco Antelo to sit out Saturday.
Antelo’s replacement, Uli Kiendl, deftly shut down his opponent, Marc Schimitkuntz, in two sets that both ended 6-1 in Kiendl’s favor.
“I thought after we won the doubles point, and (BCC) defaulted the singles point that we had a real good shot of winning if I did pull out my top player Paco and give everyone a shot,” Barr said.
The Bulls proved that they had more than just a shot to win, after three out of the four singles matches were won in two sets with a score of 6-1 in both sets.
Only Juan Barragan allowed more than two wins in an entire match, winning 6-4 in the first set and going down 4-3 in the second before coming back with force to end the set 7-5.
“I am a player that doesn’t like to lose and always likes to be in the fight — in the comeback,” said Barragan.
Neither of the Bulls’ two seniors (Nadim Naser and Jorge Escallon) played because Barr used Saturday as a way to gauge his new players and felt as though he knew the capabilities of the veterans.
“I though Federico [Barton] did an excellent job and I thought Renato [Silveria] played a very solid match,” said Barr. “I thought those two really stood up and did a real good job.”
USF plays its next two games on the road against top-10 teams. Monday the Bulls will travel to Mississippi to take on the Rebels, who are currently ranked No. 8 in the ITA standings. Three days later USF will travel to Gainesville to play against the No. 5 Gators.
“It’s a good opportunity for us to get into the top 20,” said Antelo.