The No. 43 USF men’s tennis team will travel to Waco, Texas Saturday to face its toughest opponent of the year, the Baylor Bears. Throughout the season, the Bulls have faced many tough teams, but none as good as the No. 3 Bears.
Baylor has five ranked singles players and two ranked doubles teams. Among the singles players is No. 1-ranked Benedikt Dorch, who is countryman of the Bulls’ Andres Maroldt of Germany.
“I am very excited to be playing Baylor, who has three guys that I know well from Germany,” Maroldt said. “This match is going to be huge for South Florida, maybe even the highlight of our season. The players on this Baylor team are some of the toughest in the country.”
Maroldt also said the match is important because of the exposure gained by playing such a highly ranked team.
“There are going to be a lot of people watching this match,” Maroldt said. “We have nothing to lose, so we are going to go after them from the beginning and play tough. We know as a team that we are better than our rankings, and we hope to prove that when we play on Saturday.”
Baylor isn’t the only team playing this weekend that has a doubles duo ranked. The Bulls’ Paco Antelo and Renato Silveira are ranked No. 20 in the country, six spots ahead of Baylor’s combo of Matias Marin and Ivor Lovrak.
USF coach Don Barr said he has seen a significant improvement in the play of Antelo recently.
“Paco has been picking up his level of intensity in his singles matches as well as his doubles play with Renato,” Barr said. “They even caught the attention of Auburn’s head coach, Eric Shore, who told me how impressed he was with the play of Paco and Renato.”
Barr’s overall goal of the match with Baylor is for the players to learn from their past matches and use that to build on their current standing.
“I see a team right now that is fighting very hard,” Barr said. “We are going to go places if we keep up this intensity. We have a good shot at winning the conference if we keep this intensity level high.”
Mathew Ratner covers USF men’s tennis and can be reached at email@example.com