Bouncing back from a heartbreaking loss to No. 19 Alabama Wednesday, the No. 25 USF men’s tennis team beat Dartmouth 7-0 Saturday.
USF coach Don Barr felt the Bulls (9-3) started out sluggish, but they finished strong as they swept Dartmouth.
“This team came after us real well. They are not a bad team,” Barr said. “We had to be on our toes, or else they would have given us some problems.”
In doubles, Barr shook up the lineup, matching Uli Kiendl and Renato Silveira at the No. 1 position, Juan Barragan and Nadim Naser at No. 2 and Freddy Barton and Sebastian Niedermayer at No. 3.
“I wanted to give everyone a shot. This is the deepest team I have ever had while coaching at this university,” said Barr. “I gave Paco (Antelo) Jorge (Escallon) and Andy (Maroldt) a day off, and we still won 7-0. This shows depth and how strong our team is.”
In the most intense singles match of the day, freshman Barragan battled Dartmouth’s David Webb to get the win in a super tie-breaker 6-4, 4-6, 10-8. A week ago, Barragan was taken to the hospital with severe cramps and heat stroke.
“Last week was tough for me. That was the first time I have ever had cramps,” said Barragan. “I felt a lot better during this match. I played a good third set tie break, which helped me bring back my confidence.”
Wednesday, the Bulls team traveled to Alabama to take on No. 19 Crimson Tide.
The Bulls lost the match 4-3 when Alabama’s Stephen Mitchell took the game winning point with a 6-7, 6-4, 6-4 win against Renato Silveira at the No. 2 position.
“The guys played really well. It came down to the last match 6-4 in the third set. It could have been anyone’s match,” Barr said. “Alabama is a top-20 team, and we played top-20 tennis. I feel like we can play top-20 tennis, and that’s what it’s all about.”
On March 10, the Bulls cruised to a victory against the Saint Louis Billikens 6-1 at the varsity tennis courts.
USF swept the doubles matches by scores of 8-6, 8-4, 8-2, earning the point.
Freddy Barton took care of SLU’s Tom de Larzac in the No. 4 position, 4-6, 6-1, 6-2. At the No. 2 slot, Antelo beat SLU’s Lance Vodica 7-6, 6-4. Barragan, at No. 3, was the comeback story of the afternoon. After Barragan took the first set, 7-6 (4), he started the second set down 5-0, but came back to take it 7-5. The only loss of the day came out of the No. 1 position as Ikaika Jobe (SLU) went 2-6, 6-3, 7-6, to down Silveira.
To start off spring break, the Bulls flew to No. 43 South Alabama to take on the Jaguars, but the match was canceled due to a light rain.
“I wish we would have gotten this match in,” said Barr. “It would have been a tough match that would have helped us in the long run.”
The match against the Jaguars was not rescheduled.