When it comes to the AAC men’s tennis tournament, USF has been simply unstoppable.
For the third straight year, the Bulls have brought home the AAC championship hardware, after sweeping No. 2 seed Tulsa 4-0 on Sunday at Dunavant-Wellford Tennis Center in Memphis.
“I couldn’t be more proud, there is a lot of adversity that comes with winning championships and we’ve handled it well,” first-year coach Matt Hill told GoUSFBulls.com. “We are just really excited for today and excited for NCAA’s coming up.”
USF has never lost a conference tournament game and is the only team to win an AAC championship, with its three-year run dating back to the AAC’s inaugural season in 2014.
Sunday’s match began with USF taking the doubles point with a 6-2 win from juniors Vadym Kalyuzhnyy and Sasha Gozun.
Then came singles, where USF has been dominant of late, mostly due to the commanding play of senior Roberto Cid who topped Tulane’s Dominik Koepfer — once, the top-ranked player in the country — in the Saturday semifinal.
To give perspective, Koepfer is 0-2 against Cid — the tournament MVP — and undefeated against everyone else this spring.
“We have the 10th toughest schedule in the country, so to be that successful from the first position, he’s been incredible this year,” Hill said.
With Gozun winning 7-5, 6-3 and Kalyuzhnyy winning 6-2, 7-5, the clinching point came down to sophomore Peter Bertran.
Bertran took the first set 6-5 and after being tied 5-5 in the second, he broke through, winning the match and the tournament for USF.
The senior class, which includes Cid, Everth Dzib, Ignacio Gonzalez-Muniz and Dominic Cotrone, has provided the spark for the Bulls over the last three years and served as the driving force behind this trio of championships.
“It’s crazy, I didn’t expect any of this when I came to college; it’s a great feeling knowing that since my freshman year we’ve been able to do well in conference play,” Cid said. “It’s a huge accomplishment and hopefully these guys continue to keep it up next year.”
The Bulls now look to the NCAA tournament. Play will begin on May 13 with first and second round matches held at various campuses. The NCAA tournament finals will take place on May 19 in Tulsa, OK.