The USF women’s tennis team emerged victorious Sunday against Stetson, 5-2, snapping an 0-3 start to the 2003 season.
From the start of the doubles matches until the last singles matchup, the Bulls presented poise and persistence. USF coach Gigi Fernandez laid out the long road ahead.
“It was good,” Fernandez said. “We won our first match today.
“We’re happy with how we played today. (However), they still have a lot to learn.”
USF swept the first two doubles matches, clinching the point. But Gina Craig and Talia Romero fought hard in a marathon bout, only to come up short 8-7 against Stetson’s Johanna Serrao and Amanda Smeak at No. 2.
“We could have played better,” Romero said. “We (had) fallen into their game. We need to become more aggressive.”
The other two doubles matches resulted in 8-2 USF wins. USF’s No. 3 tandem, Jamie Larson and Patricia Kolendo, defeated Stetson’s Jackie Bohannon and Caroline Woerle, and USF’s Luisa Obando and Fabiana Taverna defeated Beth Hayden and Marina Levin at No. 1.
The Bulls went on to dominate the singles matches, winning four of six.
Craig defeated Smeak 6-0, 6-2; Obando defeated Woerle 6-2, 6-4 at No. 2; freshman Belen Pandre blitzed Serrao 6-0, 6-0 at No. 6; and freshman Taverna registered her first singles victory at No. 1, taking Bohannon 6-4, 6-3.
“(I am) just happy to give a point for my team,” Craig said. “We’re just learning how to work together.”
In the other games, Stetson’s Levin defeated Romero 6-3, 7-6. In a very close match, USF’s Kolendo lost to Hayden on a tiebreaker 7-5, 6-4, (10-7).
“We were looking for the girls to be adaptable,” USF assistant coach Jonathan Collazo said. “We look for them to keep working hard. They are gaining confidence.”