Women’s tennis blanks West Virginia

The women’s tennis team continued its home-court dominance Saturday by defeating Big East rival West Virginia 7-0. The Bulls (5-2, 1-0) have yet to lose a single point when playing at the Varsity Tennis Courts.While coach Agustin Moreno is proud of his team’s play so far, he knows it is still early in the season.

“We’ve been playing very well, but the schedule is going to get a little tougher,” Moreno said. “Later this season we host Georgia Tech, and they just won the National Indoor Championship.”

Moreno also knows the importance of such an impressive win against a Big East opponent. “It’s very good, especially since we host the Big East Tournament this year,” Moreno said.

While Moreno might be looking toward later challenges, it is important to review what the women have accomplished so far this year. Not only has the team been flawless at home, it’s ranked No. 27 by the ITA/FILA poll. This is the highest ranking the school has received since the system was introduced as the official collegiate tennis poll in 2000.

Saturday’s win against West Virginia (6-5, 0-1) showcased a focused USF squad. It was USF’s first game since a crucial 4-2 victory over a Virginia Commonwealth team that was ranked No. 14 nationally. The Bulls showed no sign of a letdown.

USF swept the Mountaineers for the doubles point. Iciri Rai and Liz Cruz were perfect, recording an 8-0 win over Gabriela Blaskovicova and Stephanie LaFortune. The No. 22 duo of Gabriela Duch and Shadisha Robinson rebounded from two consecutive losses by beating WVU’s Stacey Percival and Natalia Prinz. Courtney Vernon and Jessica Sweeting won their doubles match in a convincing manner with the final score of 8-1.

USF’s dominance carried over into singles play, with each player winning in consecutive sets. No. 57 Vernon, playing in the top spot, defeated Natalia Prinz 6-1, 6-1. Gabriela Duch defeated WVU’s Alexandra Kaluza 6-0, 6-0. Jessica Sweeting dominated her match against Monica Lyskawa, 6-1, 6-2. Liz Cruz and Iciri Rai tallied wins of 6-0, 6-3 and 7-5, 6-1, respectively.

Shadisha Robinson justified her position as the No. 25 ranked player by the ITA/FILA poll. In her most explosive performance in a singles match at home this season, Robinson quickly defeated WVU’s Percival with a 6-0, 6-1 win.

“We’re getting off to a very good start,” Robinson said. “We can definitely reach top 16 in the NCAAs as long as we stay focused.”