Eriksen tabbed to coach USA

USF softball coach Ken Eriksen was tabbed to lead the USA women’s national team by USA Softball on Friday.

Eriksen will guide the national softball team during the 2011 Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico, and the 2012 International Softball Federation (ISF) World Championships in Whitehorse, Yukon, Canada.

“This is an incredible opportunity for me as a coach and for USA Softball to bring new faces into the USA Softball national team family,” Eriksen said to “Our goal is to prepare and shape this unit into a championship caliber team that will compete in the next two ISF medal events as well as the World Cup of Softball here in the United States in front of our fans.”

USF’s softball coach since 1997, Eriksen joined the national team staff previously in 2001 and left the team after winning the 2004 Olympic Gold Medal in Athens, Greece. Eriksen rejoined the national team in 2009 as a pitching and catching coach, as well as a scout.

Softball was discontinued as an Olympic sport after the 2008 games in Beijing.

“USF Athletics and the entire university would like to congratulate coach Eriksen on what may be the highest honor that you can have in college coaching by being named as the head coach of the United States National Softball Team,” USF Athletics Director Doug Woolard said to “It is certainly well deserved. We are fortunate to have him in the leadership role that we have him here at USF.”

Men’s tennis undefeated

The USF men’s tennis team got its 2011 dual season off to a hot start with shutout victories over Florida Gulf Coast and Florida A&M on Saturday at the USF Varsity Tennis Courts. USF is now 2-0 to begin its season.

Senior Lucas Jovita, who is ranked No. 114 nationally, was pushed in his morning match by Florida A&M’s Levan Clark, but eventually won 6-4, 2-6, 10-5. USF swept all six singles matches against the Rattlers. In the doubles match, Jovita, paired with fellow senior Jamal Adderly, eased to a quick 8-3 victory over Florida A&M’s pairing of Takura Happy and Chidi Gabriel.

In the afternoon session, USF repeated its morning performance with a 7-0 victory over Florida Gulf Coast. Of 78 total games played in the singles portion, USF won all but six.

The men’s tennis team hosts Florida Atlantic on Sunday at noon at the USF Varsity Tennis Courts.

Women go 1-1

The women’s tennis team also began its dual season this weekend at the ITA Kickoff Weekend event in Atlanta.

The No. 28 Bulls came from behind to upset No. 25 Illinois 4-3 on Saturday.

USF was led by senior Irene Rehberger, who is ranked No. 24 nationally. Rehberger defeated Illinois’ Breanne Smutko 6-0, 6-0 in their singles match. With the overall match tied 3-3, USF freshman Alessandra Bonte clinched in USF’s favor with a 7-5, 6-4 straight sets victory over Marisa Lambropoulos.

After pulling the upset Saturday, the Bulls faced the host No. 13 Georgia Tech on Sunday. The Yellow Jackets prevailed 4-2, with Caroline Liley striking the decisive blow in a 6-3, 7-6 victory over USF sophomore Ecaterina Vasenina.

The Bulls meet No.2 Florida in Gainesville on Feb. 8 at 3 p.m.