By TOM ZEBOLD
USF Senior Writer
TAMPA - Juan Carlos Acuna-Gerard found himself trailing, 5-1, in a third set that ultimately would decide USF's match against North Florida on Friday afternoon.
The senior managed to get it to 5-2, refocused and rallied to a 7-5, 2-6, 7-5 victory over Norbert Nemcsek that gave the No. 55 Bulls a 4-3 win at the USF Varsity Courts.
"This is huge because when we get into these moments late in the season, we'll have confidence and know we've been here before," head coach Matt Hill said. "We'll know we can pull this out no matter what the score is. That's a great experience to have in the back of your mind."
A close call at the end started with a dominant performance in doubles for Hill's squad. Oliver Pramming and Ignacio Gonzalez-Muniz teamed up for an 8-3 win and the Bulls clinched the doubles point with an 8-1 win by Ravi Patel and Guillermo de Vilchez.
"We played very, very clean in doubles today, which was great," Hill said. "We've worked a lot on that and that was really good to see."
No. 62 North Florida battled all the way back to tie things up at three after Pedro Davidsson defeated Patel, 3-6, 6-1, 6-4, right as play started in the decisive match. Acuna-Gerard's victory came at the perfect time as USF picked up momentum heading into Sunday's noon match at home against No. 54 Miami.
"We needed that because Miami is a very good team. Their ranking doesn't suggest where they're at," Hill said. "They're very deep, well coached and it's going to be a great test for us."
Admission is free all regular season at the USF Varsity Courts.
1. Pramming/Gonzalez-Muniz (USF) def. Buerchner/Nemcsek 8-3
2. Patel/de Vilchez (USF) def. Belair/Sotomarino (UNF) 8-1
1. Buerchner (UNF) def. Pramming (USF) 6-4, 6-4
2. Sotomarino (UNF) def. Gonzalez-Muniz (USF) 6-2 6-2
3. Sabogal (USF) def. Belair (UNF) 2-6, 6-2, 6-2
4. Acuna-Gerard (USF) def. Nemcsek (UNF) 7-5, 2-6, 7-5
5. Davisson (UNF) def. Patel (USF) 3-6, 6-1, 6-4
6. De Vilchez (USF) vs Nahar (UNF) 6-0, 6-3