After a 5-2 loss at home against FIU on Saturday, the USF women’s tennis team turned that score around Sunday, beating Troy State 5-2.
USF coach Gigi Fernandez points to winning the doubles point as the reason why the Bulls were able to beat Troy State. USF dropped the doubles point two matches to one against FIU but beat Troy State in two out of three matches to make the singles play a little less intense.
“It sounds like (the doubles point) shouldn’t (be a big deal) because it’s only one point, but I think everybody’s mindset going into the singles is so different. I just think they feel so much more relaxed and upbeat,” Fernandez said.
The other part that helped solve the doubles equation, Fernandez said, was the pairing up of Fabiana Taverna and Luisa Obando. Obando and Taverna played at No. 1 doubles last year but ran into some problems being each other’s partner.
“They had some issues playing together,” Fernandez said. “I mean they are a good team, but they have to believe that they are a good team.”
The pair played together earlier this season,but wound up losing. The match against Troy State was the second time this season they played together, and this time the idea worked.
“It’s not like we didn’t try it; we just didn’t think it was going to work,” Fernandez said. “At this point, everyone is desperate to win the doubles point so they made a bigger effort to make it work.”
After winning the doubles against Troy State, the Bulls won four matches without needing a third set to claim victory for the first time in four matches.
Good news from NCAA
Haitian native Neyessa Etienne is getting closer to playing tennis for the Bulls.
The freshman, whose eligibility has been questioned by the NCAA, has been sidelined due to the fact that she played pro under the advice of a former coach. The NCAA, however, has been listening to USF’s athletic department, who protested the blanket ineligibility.
That protest may have paid off. The NCAA is asking USF what it thinks is the best punishment for Etienne, a sign that it is not going to deny her eligibility all five years. The university has suggested that sitting out this year has been punishment enough and is hopeful that she plays next season.
“The good news is that the NCAA keeps requesting more information,” Fernandez said.