By TOM ZEBOLD
USF Senior Writer
TAMPA – The Bulls picked the perfect time to produce their first three-match winning streak of the season.
USF jumped out to a 5-0 lead and went on to defeat in-state rival UCF, 5-2, Sunday to cap off a 2-0 weekend in Orlando. The Bulls defeated No. 45 MTSU, 4-3, on Saturday and now head to the Big East Championships with a ton of momentum.
“To go 2-0 on any weekend is difficult, especially when you play a team that’s No. 45 in the country and then another that’s roughly at the same level but doesn’t have the ranking,” head coach Matt Hill said. “This is what we’ve been hoping and planning for all semester.”
The Bulls and Knights were tied at 1 in doubles before Everth Dzib and Ravi Patel put together quite a comeback to clinch the first point of the match. UCF’s Mario Samson and Francesc Aulina jumped out to a 5-0 lead in about 20 minutes but Dzib and Patel roared back to win, 8-6.
“Again the doubles really were key. It paid off a lot,” Hill said.
Dzib became the hero of Saturday’s match when he clinched the 4-3 win and looked extra sharp in the Bulls’ regular season finale. The freshman was the first Bull off the court in singles after handing Mario Samson a 6-4, 6-4 loss.
“He really took care of business right away coming off that win yesterday,” Hill said.
Patel followed with a 6-2, 6-3 win over Juan Bolona and Oliver Pramming clinched the victory by getting past Jorge Blasco, 7-5, 6-4. Ignacio Gonzalez-Muniz gave USF a 5-0 lead with a 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 win over Amar Hromic.
The Big East Championships are set for April 18-21 at Notre Dame. USF finished second in the conference last season.
USF 5, UCF 2
Pramming/Gonzalez-Muniz (USF) def. Hromic/Blasco (UCF), 8-4
Gladstone/Bolona (UCF) def. Sabogal/Acuna Gerard (USF), 8-4
Dzib/Patel (USF) def. Samson/Aulina (UCF), 8-6
Oliver Pramming (USF) def. Jorge Blasco (UCF), 7-5, 6-4
Ignacio Gonzalez-Muniz (USF) def. Amar Hromic (UCF), 6-4, 3-6, 6-4
Matthew Gladstone (UCF) def. Federico Sabogal (USF), 7-5, 7-6 (6)
Ravi Patel (USF) def. Juan Bolona (UCF), 6-2, 6-3
Francesc Aulina (UCF) def. Juan Carlos Acuna Gerard (USF), 6-2, 2-6, 7-6 (6)
Everth Dzib (USF) def. Mario Samson (UCF), 6-4, 6-4