Women’s tennis undefeated in Big East, ready for tourney

The women’s tennis team closed the regular season by splitting two home matches by a score of 4-3. The team fell to the No. 19 Virginia Commonwealth University Rams on Friday. However, the Bulls defeated Florida International on Sunday, ending the regular season with a record of 14-4.

The No. 19 doubles pairing of Neyssa Etienne and Gabriela Duch defeated No. 14 Olga Borisova and Marianna Yuferova 8-2, giving the Bulls one of two doubles victories over the Rams. USF fell short in singles competition, with Courtney Vernon and Liz Cruz tallying the Bulls’ only wins.

“I think VCU is much better than what they are ranked,” coach Agustin Moreno said. “I think we played well, but we fell short against one of the top teams in the nation.”

Against the Panthers, the Bulls swept all three doubles matches, and Etienne, Vernon and Cruz all won their respective singles matches, securing the victory for USF.

“Our team has been steady all season,” Etienne said. “Our team is ready to play, and we know what we’re capable of, so I think we’ll do well.”

Vernon finished her remarkable season with a 17-0 record, and her victory over No. 46 Marianna Yuferova may have clinched a position in the NCAA singles tournament.

“I’m relieved that I could finish the season undefeated, but winning the match was more important,” Vernon said. “Everyone has been working really hard, and it’s paid off.”

Moreno was satisfied with his team’s play in its inaugural season in the Big East. The Bulls finished with a 2-0 record in conference play, and Moreno was optimistic about USF’s chances in the upcoming Big East Tournament.

“We did well in doubles, and Neyssa, Courtney and Liz played tough today,” Moreno said. “We are going to be the second (in the Big East Tournament). (No. 1 seed) Notre Dame isn’t as good as VCU, and I think we can beat Notre Dame.”

Men’s tennis may miss postseason

The men’s tennis team jumped out to an early lead in singles play but couldn’t finish off the Marquette Golden Eagles. The Bulls lost all three singles matches that went into the third set and dropped Saturday’s match 4-3. The Bulls now are hoping to qualify for the Big East Tournament held this weekend in Tampa.

“I would think that we would be a five or six seed in the tournament,” coach Don Barr said. “We’re entering a new season now. Our team has been competitive all season, but we couldn’t come out on top. Now we’re on a clean slate, and hopefully we can get into the NCAA Tournament.”

The Bulls started the match by capturing two of three doubles matches, including a key win from senior Juan Barragan and walk-on Raj Shah. The duo defeated Marquette’s Trent Hagan and Stephen Shao, giving USF the first point of the match.

“Our doubles win was big, especially with Raj playing in his first match,” Barragan said. “Marquette was a good team, but we couldn’t finish the matches. We could have won today.”

Freddy Barton and Marc Jaeger won their singles matches, but the Bulls fell short and couldn’t come up with another singles victory to give them their first Big East victory. Marquette improved to 14-8, while USF finished the regular season with a 3-13 record.

“We won the doubles point and were up in three of the singles matches,” Barr said. “They came back, and I thought they outplayed us. We weren’t ready to close out the match.”