Men ready for a ‘new season’

The USF men’s tennis team opens the Big East Tournament with a match against No. 6-seeded Marquette.

The Bulls look to improve on the third-place finish they had in last year’s tournament. Coach Don Barr has his players prepared for that challenge.

“The team understands that we are in what I call a ‘new season’,” Barr said. “The fall is our first season, then spring, and now we are in the Big East Tournament. That’s the new season for us.”

The Bulls, who improved from a five-win season a year ago, went 7-13, with a 2-1 conference record this season. That improvement helped the Bulls earn the No. 3 seed in the tournament.

“It’s different for us this year because we shocked a lot of people from the No. 5 seed last year,” Barr said. “The team shouldn’t focus too much on stuff like that because they are very young.”

In fact, the Bulls will have eight players making their Big East Tournament debut. “We have eight of our 10 guys who have never played in a tournament like this before,” Barr said. “Hopefully, they just play the game that they know they are capable of playing. I want them to just go out and play the game as opposed to playing in the No. 3 spot.”

The Bulls shut out Marquette 7-0 in their previous meeting this season.

“The big thing to keep in mind is that they are a good team,” Barr said. “We are going to do our best not to put too much pressure on ourselves during our first match.”The Bulls’ match with Marquette is at noon today.