By TOM ZEBOLD
USF Senior Writer
TAMPA - The Bulls are gearing up for the ITA National Indoor Tournament and get two home matches to use as preparation.
The No. 51 USF men's tennis team hosts Florida Atlantic 11 p.m. Saturday and No. 57 St. John's 1 p.m. Monday at the USF Varsity Courts. Admission is free for every USF home match during the regular season.
"It's always an advantage to play where you train, where you're comfortable and where your fan base is," head coach Matt Hill said. "These two matches are a great start to the season to get us acclimated to team competition. We've done so much individual and now it's a different animal."
USF started off the spring season last weekend at FGCU, where the Bulls competed in singles and doubles tournaments. USF went 10-5 in singles and 6-2 in doubles.
"Reality-wise we were winning those doubles points had those been team matches. We were pleased with how they handled some situations of adversity," Hill said. "There were some tight moments where they had to come out on top and they did. That was a good sign because those moments are surely going to be there during the team matches."
One player that performed well under pressure was sophomore Oliver Pramming, who went 2-0 in singles and 2-0 with new partner Ignacio Gonzalez Muniz in doubles. Pramming finished up the fall by making the final round of qualifying at the IMG Academy $10K Futures Tournament after posting three wins in three straight days.
"He's really growing into his own. He's really figuring out his game as a men's player versus a junior player, which always is a difficult transition in time with maturity as a player," Hill said. "There are a lot of positives and upside for him and we've been excited to see him improve."
Pramming will help USF shoot for team wins the next two times out before the Bulls travel to UCLA for the national indoor event on Jan. 25 in Los Angeles.
"It's going to be a challenge for us. We're excited to see how they perform and compete in a team format for the first time. It's exciting for us to see how they put it together," Hill said.