Photo Gallery vs. Louisville - 4/19/08 Coming Soon |  Updated Men's Bracket

TAMPA, Fla.  – The No. 3 seed University of South Florida men’s tennis team advanced to the finals of the BIG EAST Tennis Championships for the first time in school history with their 4-3 victory against No. 2 seed Louisville in the semifinals held in Tampa, Fla.

“They battled hard today and showed they can stay in a match and not give up,” said USF head coach Don Barr.

USF (14-5) was 0-2 in semifinal matches before today’s contest and beat Louisville in the BIG EAST Championships for the first time. The last time the Bulls won a conference championship was in 2002 as a member of Conference USA.

With the win, the finals of both the men’s and women’s brackets will pit No. 3 seed USF vs. No. 1 seed Notre Dame.

In doubles competition, the Bulls rallied to take two-straight matches after dropping the doubles match at the No. 3 spot. The team of Lucas Jovita and Diego Toledo led the charge for the Bulls, clinching the doubles point at the No. 2 spot 8-4 against Austen Childs and James McArthur to give USF the 1-0 advantage.

In singles play, both USF and Louisville traded punches, alternating wins, knotting the match at 2-2.

Freshman Lucas Jovita gave the Bulls a 3-2 lead when he defeated No. 43 Austen Childs at the No. 1 singles position. After Jovita, ranked No. 87 in the ITA rankings, went up 6-4 in the first set then Childs came back to take the second set 6-2 before Jovita put him away with ease in the third 6-1.

After Louisville tied the match at 3-3 with their win on the No. 6 court, all eyes were on senior Mahmoud Hamed and the No. 2 singles match versus David Simon of Louisville.

After each competitor took a set, Hamed quickly built a 3-1 lead in the third set before Simon came to life. He won the next two points to bring the set to 3-3. The two conference rivals traded blows until Hamed hit a fancy drop shot out of the reach of Simon to give him a 6-5 advantage.

With the crowd cheering him on, Hamed took control of the match and hit a forehand down the right baseline to seal the victory and give USF the rights to face No. 1 seed Notre Dame in the championship match.

“They played with a lot of heart and intensity today,” said Barr. “This is one of those matches that we will remember for a long time.”

The No. 3 seed USF Bulls will square off against No. 1 seed Notre Dame Fighting Irish. The Bulls will be making their first appearance in the BIG EAST Championship match while Notre Dame will be making an impressive 13th. First serve is set for 9 a.m. at the USF Varsity Tennis Courts. Admission is free to all BIG EAST Tennis Championship matches.

You can check out updated brackets and match information by pointing your web browser to www.BIGEAST.org

NCAA Men’s Tennis
2008 BIG EAST Tennis Championships
Tampa, Fla.
No. 2 Louisville, 3 vs. No. 3 USF, 4

Doubles
1. Daudt/Estreda (USF) def. Simon/Maksimcuk (UofL), 8-6
2. Jovita/Toledo (USF) def. A.Childs/McArthur (UofL), 8-4
3. S. Childs/Nordheim (UofL) def. Nusslein/Adderley (USF), 8-3
Order of Finish: 3, 1, 2

Singles
1. Lucas Jovita (USF) def. Austen Childs (UofL), 6-4, 2-6, 6-1
2. Mahmoud Hamed (USF) def. David Simon (UofL), 6-3, 5-7, 7-5
3. Viktor Maksimcuk (UofL) def. Jamal Adderley (USF), 0-6, 6-4, 6-0
4. Simon Childs (UofL) def. Thomas Estrada (USF), 6-1, 6-1
5. Michael Nusslein (USF) def. Alejandro Calligari (UofL), 6-2, 6-2
6. Robert Rotaru (UofL) def. Diego Toledo (USF), 6-3, 3-6, 6-4
Order of Finish: 4, 5, 3, 1, 6, 2