By TOM ZEBOLD
USF Senior Writer
TAMPA – Guillermo De Vilchez’s ability to handle a high-pressure situation gave USF a 4-3 comeback win over No. 65 SMU on Sunday afternoon at Notre Dame.
The Bulls (8-9) dropped the doubles point before rallying past the Mustangs (8-9) in the four-plus hour marathon in South Bend, Ind.
“It was hard-fought and intense. It was an absolute war,” USF head coach Matt Hill said. “That was good for us to get another ranked win.”
Juan Carlos Acuna Gerard got the comeback started with a 6-2, 6-1 victory over Eduardo Razzeto in the No. 6 singles spot. Ravi Patel followed with a 6-0, 7-6 win over Nate Lammons at No. 5 before USF once again found itself in rally mode.
SMU won in the first and third singles spots to go up, 3-2, while Ignacio Gonzalez was battling Gaston Cuadranti. Gonzalez-Muniz took the first set, 7-6, and then had to put in extra work to take the second set, 6-3, after breaking serve when it was tied up at 3-3. Gonzalez-Muniz faced a love-30 deficit while serving for the match and came through at a crucial time for the Bulls.
“I was really impressed with how composed he was at that moment. He got back on track at 30-all and got a quick point to get to match point,” Hill said.
The match was tied at 3 after Gonzalez-Muniz ended his battle with an ace that Cuadranti called out, but he was overruled by the referee.
All eyes directed towards De Vilchez, who dropped his first set against Alex Sanders before making USF a big winner with his 5-7, 6-4, 6-4 decision. Like Gonzalez-Muniz, De Vilchez’s win was filled with ups and downs, and the sophomore was able to keep his cool.
“There was a huge amount of pressure. He was the last match on and he had to hold his serve for the whole set in order to close it out,” Hill said. “There were some tough moments when he got down love-30 in the service game and he really did an unbelievable job of sticking with his game plan in those key moments.”
USF finishes up its regular season with two matches in Orlando next weekend. The Bulls face MTSU on Saturday, April 13 at noon and take on UCF the following day at 11 a.m.
USF 4, No. 65 SMU 3
Kazijevs/Nowicki (SMU) def. Pramming/Gonzalez-Muniz (USF), 8-5
Cuadranti/Sanders (SMU) def. Sabogal/Acuna Gerard (USF), 8-6
Perez-Esnaola (SMU) vs. De Vilchez/Dzib (USF), 6-5 (DNF)
Arturs Kazijevs (SMU) def. Oliver Pramming (USF), 7-6, 6-1
Ignacio Gonzalez-Muniz (USF) def. Gaston Cuadranti (SMU), 7-6, 6-3
Mischa Nowicki (SMU) def. Federico Sabogal (USF), 6-2, 2-6, 6-2
Guillermo De Vilchez (USF) def. Alex Sanders (SMU), 5-7, 6-4, 6-4
Ravi Patel (USF) def. Nate Lammons (SMU), 6-0, 7-6
Juan Carlos Acuna Gerard (USF) def. Eduardo Razzeto (SMU), 6-2, 6-1