After a 7-0 game, the bragging rights will stay in Gainesville.
For the fourth straight year, the South Florida men’s tennis team fell to Florida in front of a pro-Gators crowd on the road Friday.
The Bulls, ranked No. 37 in the country by the Intercollegiate Tennis Association, battled a large turnout by fans cheering for the No. 11 Gators.
“Them having the home court advantage probably helped,” said freshman Mark Oljaca. “It was pretty loud.”
Oljaca played Florida’s Joseph Burkhardt, Jeff Dadamo, Johnny Hamui and Erik Corace in national junior tournaments before attending USF.
“I talked to a few of the guys, we’re all friends,” he said. “Obviously, they’re going to be happy about beating us. In the summer, I’m going to get it a little bit.”
The No. 54 duo Thomas Estrada and Lucas Jovita captured the Bulls’ only doubles victory. The two defeated No. 23 Antoine Benneteau and Burkhardt, 8-4.
“It’s tough to beat those teams when you don’t win that doubles point,” said USF coach Don Barr. “The other two teams didn’t get the job done.”
Both of USF’s other doubles pairings, Romain Deridder and Wael Kilani, and Jamal Adderley and Yannick Yoshizawa, fell 8-3.
Deridder, Adderley, Estrada and Jovita lost their singles matches in tiebreakers.
“If we would have taken all four of those, we would have won the match,” Barr said. “They were just a little bit mentally tougher than we were.”
Jovita, ranked No. 53, started this season ranked No. 27 in singles. He fell 11-9 in a tiebreaker to No. 24 Carlos Cueto.
“I think they were more fit than us,” he said. “They played well in the important points at the end.”
Five of Florida’s singles are ranked in the nation’s top 100. The Gators have a 6-0 record at home and 7-3 overall record.
“I think everybody gave it their best shot, but (Florida) is a good team,” Oljaca said. “It was going to be hard to beat them no matter what. It’s disappointing the way it went, because we lost all the close matches. Sometimes that’s how it goes.”
The Bulls (4-3) face another SEC opponent, No. 30 Auburn, on Thursday in Tampa.