Bulls make Eagles sore

Clear skies and a soft breeze welcomed the USF women’s tennis team to the courts Wednesday as they beat up on the Marquette Golden Eagles and sent them home with a 6-1 loss.

The Bulls started off strong as they won both of their doubles matches 8-2 and took the point to go up 1-0 on the Wisconsin-based team.

“I felt good (playing) with Luisa (Obando),” freshman Liz Cruz said. “It was the first time I played with her and it was good.”

Cruz was named Conference USA Co-Player of the Week after defeating two ranked opponents and maintaining an undefeated record. Cruz extended her undefeated season in Wednesday’s match with a win over freshman Erin Watkins. The win brought Cruz’s record to 11-0.

“I don’t think that (the award) affected me too much,” Cruz said. “I was relaxed, you know? I feel great because I haven’t lost any matches. You just need to do your best and if anything, I’m more excited (to play).”

For the third time this year, the Bulls won all of their matches in straight sets, frustrating the Golden Eagles and setting themselves up for their upcoming three-game road trip.

“Every win for us is a plus,” sophomore Neyssa Etienne said, “because we get points for winning against teams that are ranked, so it’s good for us, for our ranking and also for nationals.”

Etienne beat her opponent, Marquette sophomore Callan Smith, 6-2, 6-0 at the No. 1 spot. On the other courts, No. 75 freshman Courtney Vernon beat Maria Calbeto 6-3, 6-4 and sophomore Gabi Duch beat Marquette’s Elsemieke Dokter 6-1, 6-2. Despite still nursing a back injury, junior Luisa Obando won against Dominika Dabrowski 6-2, 6-3.

The Bulls leave today and will face William & Mary, Virginia Commonwealth and Florida International before traveling to Louisville for the conference tournament.

Wednesday’s win marks the Bulls’ last home game as part of C-USA, as they join the Big East next year.

“(The Big East) will be awesome,” Etienne said. “I mean, I’m ready and very excited to see how it is.”