USF ousted in second round of NCAAs

For the fourth time in Coach Agustin Moreno’s five years at USF, the women’s tennis team reached the NCAA tournament.

The Bulls (12-8, 1-2) came back to defeat Texas A&M (14-10, 7-3) 4-2 in Friday’s opening round at the Neil Schiff Tennis Center in Miami.

But No. 11 Miami (19-5, 11-1) ended USF’s season Saturday with a decisive 4-0 victory in the second round.

“Miami is a great team, and they were very good (on Saturday),” said Bulls top singles player Irene Rehberger. “We fought our hardest, but we needed to play perfect against them because they don’t give you any second chances.”

The Bulls advanced to the second round of the tournament one season after they went 8-13. The return of redshirt sophomore Janette Bejlkova (8-8) and the additions of senior transfer Melissa Koning (14-10) and freshman Ecaterina Vasenina (15-9) helped USF to a turnaround season.

The Bulls beat eight ranked teams in 2010 and finished No. 19 in the country.

“It would have been nice to advance to the Sweet 16, but we really had an outstanding season overall,” Koning said. “Reaching the second round of the NCAA tournament means a lot to me in my last year of college tennis. The girls on this team are so close, and we had a lot of fun. I will look back on the great memories from this season for the rest of my life.”

After dropping the doubles point against the Aggies in the first round, the Bulls battled back to win four of the five singles matches on their way to a thrilling victory. Jessica Zok sealed the win with a 6-1, 5-7, 6-1 triumph over Christi Liles.

But USF was no match for Miami, as the Hurricanes swept the Bulls and advanced to the third round to face Northwestern.

“I’m happy with the way our girls played this season,” Moreno said. “We had a couple of really tough matches that didn’t go our way which could have put us in a better position to make a further run in the NCAA tournament. But we improved this season and have three of our top four girls returning next year. I expect our team to at least reach the Sweet 16 next season.”