Bulls look to reclaim Big East championship

Last season, the South Florida women’s tennis team brought the first Big East Conference title to the University. Today, the Bulls will begin their quest to repeat as Big East champions when they host the Syracuse Orange.

The No. 3 seeded Bulls will play their first match in two weeks after having their regular season finale canceled because of heavy rain. The Bulls beat SU once this season – a 6-1 victory March 16.

“It is going to be kind of the same. It’s at home, so we have the same advantage. They are a talented team,” coach Agustin Moreno said.

The Bulls – No. 46 in the ITA rankings – will look to freshman Janette Bejlkova for yet another strong performance in both the No. 1 singles and doubles matches.

“The doubles point tomorrow is big for us. It can decide a match,” Moreno said.

The Bulls had a first-round bye in the tournament and enter as the reigning Big East champions.

The tournament will be played in Tampa for the third year in a row.

“It is an advantage. It is hotter here than where they are from (the other Big East teams) it’s more humid and that is important for us. It gives us an edge,” Moreno said.

With strong play during the regular season, the Bulls amassed a 16-5 record and the No. 3 seed in the tournament.

“We want to do the best we can in the tournament. We want to repeat. It is a goal of ours,” Moreno said.

If the Bulls win today, they will play either No. 2 Louisville or No. 7 St. Johns in a Semifinal match. The Bulls beat St. Johns 6-1 on March 10. USF lost 4-3 to Louisville Feb. 22.

If they lose, the Bulls will go into the consolation bracket and play for seventh place at worst and fifth place at best.

A repeat as Big East Champions would mean an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament for the Bulls, but even with a loss, a strong performance in the tournament could get the Bulls a bid.