Despite getting on the board first for the sixth time in its last seven matches, the men’s tennis team lost 4-3 to No. 62 UCF in Orlando on Saturday. The loss is the fourth straight for the Bulls, whose record fell to 6-10 on the season.
The Bulls opened up play by winning all three doubles matches, giving them an early 1-0 lead in the contest. Henning Hipp and his partner Daniel Daudt, who showed no negative effects from his injury on Thursday, won their set 8-6. Coach Don Barr is excited about the way his team has been playing doubles this season.
“Early on we were dropping the doubles points and getting into an early hole,” Barr said. “It’s good to see this young team start their matches with a lead. I think it really takes some pressure off of them.”
The young Bulls team, which had five freshmen playing on Saturday, could not close out their singles matches, dropping four of six to the Golden Knights. At the No. 1 position, freshman Ales Svigelj won his three-set match – which required a tiebreaker – against Sinan Sudas, 1-6, 6-3, 7-6(7-3). The only other Bull to record a singles victory was freshman Thomas Estrada, who needed three sets to beat Brock Sakey 2-6, 6-4, 7-5.
Playing No. 2 for the Bulls, Marc Jaeger lost his match in straight sets to Tarek Ben Soltane 2-6, 1-6. Mahmoud Hamed saw his eight-match winning streak end in a three set loss, 0-6, 6-2, 3-6, to Johan Beigart. Hipp also lost in three sets, 3-6, 6-1, 4-6 to Norman Alcantara. Freshman Diego Toledo, who missed four matches with a pulled abdomen, lost in straight sets to Ener Gursoy 6-7, 6-4.
Despite the recent losses, Barr likes how his team is playing right now.
“We designed our schedule so that we play tougher teams in the weeks leading up to the (Big East) conference tournament so we don’t lose our focus,” Barr said. “This team is very close; we just have to learn to close out matches. Right now, we are following the three steps I gave the team. First you try, then you compete, then you win. We’ve been in the compete stage long enough, and now it’s time to win.”