Bulls battle back to win second straight

With its 4-2 win over the Pacific Tigers on Thursday, the USF men’s tennis team won consecutive matches for the second time this season.

On Wednesday the Bulls defeated Indiana State, snapping an eight-game skid.

On Thursday, the Bulls assumed a one-point deficit as they entered singles competition, having lost two of three doubles matches and ultimately the point.

But USF quickly tied the score at one as Andy Maroldt shut down his opponent 6-2, 6-2. Maroldt, who is recovering from illness as well as shoulder surgery, sat out Wednesday’s match and came into Thursday’s match ready to play.

“We were going to sit Andy out because he was sick yesterday, but we felt we needed him,” coach Don Barr said. “He looked pretty good in doubles, so I asked him and he said, ‘Yeah, we need this win.’ So he went out there and did a real good job.”

Freshman Juan Carlos Gomez put the Bulls on top of the Tigers 2-1 with his 6-0, 6-1 victory over freshman Austin Kakar at the No. 5 spot.

The lead didn’t last long, though, as Bulls No. 1 Uli Kiendl dropped his match 6-1, 6-2.

“(Unfavorable calls) threw me off pretty bad at the beginning,” Kiendl said. “I was upset, but they weren’t clinching match points. I would have lost that match anyway. I had a long match yesterday and we’ve had a lot of matches over the last two weeks — I was just tired, like, mentally and physically.”

With the match tied at two, Bulls sophomore Matias Sigal put away Alan Kelly 7-5, 6-1 to put USF one match closer to victory.

USF juniors Juan Barragan and Freddy Barton both suffered a loss in their first sets, but pulled out victories in their second, forcing the No. 2 and 3 spots into a third set.

Barton, who was battling Yugoslavia-native Vladamir Zdravkovic, finished his match first, winning and securing a USF victory, 3-6, 6-2, 6-1.

Barragan did not finish the set but left it tied at two, having lost the first set 3-6 and won the second 6-4.

“I played pretty good,” Barton said. “My opponent started really aggressive and he was making a lot of winners. In the second set he started getting tired, so I took advantage and pulled it out.”

Thursday’s win marks the first time the Bulls won consecutive matches since they defeated Stetson and Southern Miss in February.

The Bulls face Air Force on Saturday with the first serve at 11 a.m.

“I know they have a really good No. 1,” Kiendl said. “I don’t really know about the rest of the team. But I think we should beat them. We have some tough matches coming up so we really need to win this next one.”