By TOM ZEBOLD
USF Senior Writer
TAMPA – The No. 57 Bulls booked their third consecutive trip to the Big East title match by getting past Louisville, 4-2, Saturday at the USF Varsity Courts.
"We had to dig deep. There were some high-pressure matches and I'm really proud of them," head coach Agustin Moreno said.
Second-seeded USF will face top-seeded Notre Dame 9 a.m. Sunday in the championship match. The Bulls and Irish have battled for a title in six of the past eight seasons.
USF took the first step toward the championship match by chasing down Saturday’s initial doubles point. The Bulls clinched the point with an 8-4 win by Kayla Rizzolo and Danielle Mills.
Katie Vasenina gave the Bulls a 2-1 lead by cruising past Julia Fellerhoff, 6-2, 6-1, in the No. 1 singles spot. Fanny Fracassi extended the advantage to 3-1 with a 6-3, 6-2 win over Stefanie Villajuan. Paula Montoya capped things off by rallying past Mandy Brown, 6-7, 6-3, 6-4, in the marathon that lasted nearly four hours.
"There was a lot of pressure down there to win it and she handled it well," Moreno said.
Notre Dame won its first meeting of the season with USF, 5-2, last Sunday in Tampa. The Bulls are looking for their first Big East title since 2007.
"We have a good chance. We played a week ago and it was very close," Moreno said. "It's not going to be any different and it's going to come down to who steps up in the important points."
No. 2 seed USF 4, No. 3 seed Louisville 2
April 20, 2013
Varsity Courts - Tampa, Fla., 9 a.m.
1. Alonso-Martinez/Vasenina (USF) def. Fellerhoff/Shine (UofL) 8-4
2. Rizzolo/Mills (USF) def. Bodine/Villajuan (UofL) 8-4 *
3. Velasquez/Brown (UofL) def. Francassi/Montoya (USF) 8-6
1. E. Vasenina (USF) def. Fellerhoff (UofL) 6-2, 6-1
2. Shine (UofL) def. L. Alonso-Martinez (USF) 6-3, 7-6
3. Velasquez (UofL) def. Mills (USF) 6-2, 6-1
4. Fracassi (USF) def. Villajuan (UofL) 6-3, 6-2
5. Montoya (USF) def. Brown (UofL) 6-7, 6-3, 6-4 *
6. Bonte (USF) did not finish vs. Bodine (UofL)
Order of Finish: 3, 1, 4, 2, 5
Match Duration: 3:50
* deciding match