The USF women’s tennis team, ranked No. 31 nationally, put on a clinic this last weekend at the Varsity Tennis Courts, defeating two in-state foes without losing a dual point.
“We competed very well,” coach Agustin Moreno said after his team won back-to- back 7-0 matches. “We had some tough teams to start with, so we did well. I can feel it’s going to be a good year. We go on to play UCF, then two teams ranked in the top 20, so this was a good way to start.”
The Bulls (2-1) hosted the Stetson Hatters (2-3) Saturday. The team swept the doubles matches, highlighted by the No. 22 ranked team of Shadisha Robinson and Gabriela Duch winning an 8-3 match against Virginia Galbarini and Brianna Atkinson. Robinson, ranked tenth in the nation individually, also made quick work of Atkinson in singles play, 6-3, 6-0. In the most dramatic match of the day, Sophomore Iciri Rai dropped her first set to Natalie Gorham. Rai overcame her slow start to win 1-6, 6-1, 6-2 and prevent the Hatters from finding their way onto the scoreboard.
Sunday brought much of the same for the Bulls, who hosted the Jacksonville University Dolphins (2-3). Despite such little rest, the team again jumped out to a quick start, sweeping doubles play and winning the dual 7-0.
Junior Liz Cruz teamed with Rai in an outstanding effort to lose only one game to Fernanda Carrero and Cristina Paiva-Flor in an 8-1 match. Singles play was solid all around. Robinson and No. 54 ranked Courtney Vernon had to fight hard for their wins in the longest matches of the day.
Robinson’s first set against Lena Willi went to a tie breaker, but Robinson soon settled and won 7-6(4),
6-2. Vernon’s opponent, Emese Sulyos, was the stiffest competition of the day. The two battled each other relentlessly, and Vernon’s smart play and great hitting helped her overcome 6-4, 6-4.