Blue and orange are two colors that will haunt the USF women’s tennis team for at least a week.
The Bulls faced the No. 2 Florida Gators Monday, and with juniors Luisa Obando and Fabiana Taverna still out due to injury, USF started the night already in the hole. The team was forced to forfeit one of the three doubles matches, making it mandatory for the Bulls to win their respective sets in order to pick up the doubles point.
However, the ladies were unable to overcome the heavy odds and dropped the match 5-2.
The sophomore doubles team of Gabriela Duch and Neyssa Etienne fell 8-1 to the No. 13 ranked Gator team of Jennifer Magley and Zerene Reyes. On the next court, the freshman team of Courtney Vernon and Liz Cruz blew a 3-0 lead against the No. 3 ranked freshman Florida team, Whitney Benik and Lolita Franguylan, and ended up losing the set 8-6.
“I was trying too hard to do impossible things instead of just playing my game,” Etienne said. “You can’t try to overplay your opponent.”
Overplaying is something that seems to be the new norm for Vernon, as the Bulls’ No. 2 seed was on the court against Gator junior Boglarka Berecz for almost three hours.
“I was just trying to focus on hitting the ball cross court and waiting for my opportunity because I knew that she wasn’t going to hurt me,” Vernon said. “She didn’t hit one winner the whole match, so I knew it was up to me, and if I could stay together, it would be my match.”
Vernon played hard through three sets and a seven-point tiebreaker to beat the junior 6-2, 2-6, 6-6 and 7-3.
On the other courts, Etienne fell 6-1, 6-0 to No. 11 Magley, and Duch lost 6-2, 6-4 to No. 15 Reyes.
On the winning end, Liz Cruz joined her doubles teammate in a 7-5, 6-1 singles win over UF’s Alex Liles.
“I think it was a pretty good effort,” coach Gigi Fernandez said. “I mean, when our freshmen are beating Florida players, that’s great. We’re doing great today, we’re doing great recruiting and we’re doing great down the road. Those same freshmen are going to be juniors in a couple of years and they’re only going to get better.”