Nine is just fine

USF 4, ISU 3

USF was finally able to break it’s eight-game losing streak in a match that started off slow as the team lost all three doubles matches. The freshman team of Dillon Brozyna and Marc Jager dropped the third match in a seven-point tiebreak set.

“You know it’s tough to get your confidence back after going on a losing streak, but I think the (guys) fought hard, and they’ve been fighting hard on some tough road trips and I think the win today showed them that they can pull this out,” USF coach Don Barr said after Wednesday’s 4-3 win over the Indiana State Sycamores.

“I feel they’re still not playing the way I feel they’re capable of playing in doubles,” Barr said of Brozyna and Jager. “I felt we should have won that doubles. There are just a few things we have to get stronger at. I mean, the tiebreaker could have gone either way.”

With the doubles point behind them, the men took to singles play down 1-0. Brozyna and Matias Sigal were swept in their respective matches 4-6, 1-6 and 0-6, 3-6, giving ISU a three-point advantage.

With the pressure on, freshman Juan Carlos Gomez and junior Frederico Barton finished off their opponents, leaving the match up to junior Juan Barragan and senior Uli Kiendl.

Barragan treated ISU’s Simon Thornewill to a frustrating match, causing Thornewill to talk and sometimes yell at himself. In the end, Barragan came out the victor 6-2, 7-6.

“I closed the points I needed to close,” Barragan said. “Especially the final points in the tiebreak — just closed it out. Sometimes (all the yelling) takes you out of your tempo. But I just tried to hang in there and play my game.”

With the match tied at three, the Bulls’ Uli Kiendl battled Kazakhstan native Anton Tsymbalov through three sets, after dropping the first one 1-6. He went on to win the tiebreak in set two to tie the match and then put it away in the third set to secure the Bulls’ first victory in eight matches.

“I saw (Juan) winning and then when he finished I knew (it was up to me),” Kiendl said. “But it wasn’t the first time, so I’m kind of used to it. I lost my first set 1-6. It was just terrible tennis. So I need to have not such a slow start.”

The Bulls will face the University of the Pacific Tigers today on the Varsity courts. The first serve is set for 2 p.m.

“These are our courts. We’ve got to play our game and go after them,” Barr said. “We’ve got to get back into our rhythm and just go after this team — not just hope they miss. We’ve got to initiate points.”

Women’s tennis left in green wake
Tulane 5, USF 2

In its 4-3 loss to the No. 21 Green Wave of Tulane University, the USF women’s tennis team took the courts in an unusual fashion Wednesday afternoon.

With the threat of rain in the air, the competition called for singles matches to be played first to avoid yet another rainout. The Bulls’ match against the Kansas Jay Hawks was rained out Monday after Florida thunderstorms rolled in just 30 minutes before the match was scheduled to start.

“We haven’t played in almost three weeks,” coach Gigi Fernandez said. “I think we would have been a little warmer today.”

The Bulls started cold, with three of five players dropping their first sets. Gabriela Duch, at the No. 3 spot, and Luisa Obando, at the No. 5, both lost their second sets, putting USF at a two-point disadvantage with three players remaining.

Obando returned to play for the first time in six weeks after nursing a stress fracture in her back.

“We haven’t really been getting Luisa ready to play singles — we’ve been getting her ready to play doubles,” Fernandez said. “If we would have played doubles first, she probably wouldn’t have played (singles).”

Obando added, “It’s tough to come back and be 100 percent after not playing for six weeks. I’m going to play doubles for sure, but we’ll see how it goes for singles.”

Freshman Courtney Vernon — who is ranked No. 75 in the country — put away Tulane’s unranked Maria Ivanov 6-3, 6-1, and Liz Cruz stole the victory from No. 67 Nancy Kockott in three sets, 4-6, 7-6, 6-4.

“I didn’t play that great,” Vernon said. “My back has been bothering me a little, so I just tried to get the job done and just did what I had to do to get the job done.”Sophomore Neyssa Etienne fell short in her singles match 6-2, 2-6, 5-7, to No. 51 Jenny Kuehn.

With Fabiana Taverna still out with a foot injury, the Bulls were forced to forfeit one singles match and one of the three doubles matches. The No. 52 team of Duch and Etienne sent the senior and sophomore Ivanov sister team — Maria and Darya, respectively — packing, but in the end, Vernon and Obando fell to No. 29 Jenny Kuehn and Juile Smekodub.

The Bulls travel to the University of Miami for tournament play over Easter weekend, where they will face the Hurricanes and the Dartmouth Big Green.

“I’m really excited for the match (against Miami),” Vernon said. “I think we can do really well against them if everybody plays up to their potential. You know, there’s no telling what will happen.”