Bulls down Knights

Not only did the USF women’s tennis team (3-1) win its third straight match against an in-state opponent, it did so without giving up a point to UCF (0-3), defeating the Golden Knights 7-0.

The Bulls played without senior Shadisha Robinson, ranked 10th by the International Tennis Association. Robinson, who was sidelined due to minor back spasms, sat out as a precaution.

Coach Agustin Moreno was thrilled with his team’s flawless play.

“We’re winning the matches that we used to win 5-2 or 6-1,” Moreno said. “It’s a step up. Now we have two matches that we need to win.”

Those two matches are the weekend away games USF will play at No. 21 Kentucky and No. 14 Virginia Commonwealth.

The Bulls swept the doubles matches. Due to Robinson’s absence, Gabriela Duch was partnered with freshman Ann-Marie Modric. The two were a successful pair, dominating the Knights’ Becky Gordon and Jennifer Carrati with an 8-2 win.

Courtney Vernon and Jessica Sweeting played well in the No. 1 spot, as they handed Anna Yakimchenkova and Elvira Serrot an 8-4 loss.

USF only dropped one set in singles play, and it seemed the Bulls would lose their first point at home this season. Modric lost her first set to Gordon 3-6, and the second set went to a tiebreaker. However, Modric took control, winning the first singles match of her collegiate career, 3-6, 7-5, 10-4.

USF’s Courtney Vernon, ranked 54th nationally, remained unbeaten this season with a 7-6 (7-4), 6-2 victory over Serrot. Junior Liz Cruz quickly dispatched UCF’s Yakimchenkova 6-0, 6-0.

“We are really excited,” Cruz said. “We’ve practiced hard, and we needed to concentrate. Every team that came here was good.”

The Bulls are ranked 30th in the nation, a number that could improve significantly after the matches over the upcoming weekend.

“We’re ready,” Moreno said. “Our mindset is perfect.”