Missing their three nationally-ranked players, the USF men’s tennis team came up short in the singles competition at the USF Invitational this weekend.
Junior Uli Kiendl, No. 27 in the nation, senior Paco Antelo, No. 54, and senior Karim Benmansour, No. 66, did not play in order to rest for the Intercollegiate Tennis Association’s All-American championships beginning Wednesday.
The team’s performance rested on the shoulders of a group made up mostly of young players. Senior Renato Silveira and junior Andy Maroldt entered the tournament seeded No. 1 and No. 2, respectively, but were both eliminated from singles competition on Saturday.
Sophomore Juan Barragan and freshmen German Escallon and Matias Sigal were also knocked out on Saturday. Only sophomore Fredy Barton remained to represent USF in singles entering the final day, but he was eliminated with a semifinal loss.
The USF duos of freshmen Sigal/Escallon and Maroldt/Barragan both reached the doubles semifinals, while the tandem of Barton/Silveira reached the finals.
Despite struggling in singles competition, coach Don Barr said he learned some things about his team.
“(The tournament) allowed us to measure where we are and where we are going as a team,” Barr said. “Our concentration wandered a bit during the match, and we need to learn to stay focused throughout the match. But it is a lot harder to keep the intensity in these individual tournaments.”
The mental aspects of the game can be the hardest to improve on, though, but Barr said he sees promise in the team’s young players.
“The guys did fine, but they have to be able to beat teams like this,” Barr said. “Our doubles teams are taking off, but we have to get our singles guys working and performing better.”