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TAMPA, Fla. – The University of South Florida men’s tennis team dropped a close match to the University of Notre Dame Fighting Irish 4-3 in the title match of the 2008 BIG EAST Tennis Championships.
“All of our guys really battled as a team today,” said USF head coach Don Barr. “Yesterday we had one group step up and today we had the other step up so it was good to see all the guys pick each other up when someone is struggling. It was a team effort in this tournament and I can’t be more proud of them then I am right now.”
The Bulls fell behind early when Stephen Havens and Tyler Davis clinched the point for the Fighting Irish with their close 8-5 victory over Michael Nusslein and Jamal Adderley.
Going into singles competition, the Bulls erased the doubles portion of the match from their memory and tied the match at 1-1 when Thomas Estrada defeated Stephen Havens at the No. 4 spot 7-5, 6-1.
After the Irish took the match at the No. 1 court, freshman Michael Nusslein knotted the contest at 2-2 with his 6-2, 6-2 triumph over David Anderson at the No. 5 spot. With the win, Nusslein finished his first BIG EAST Championships undefeated with a 3-0 record.
Freshman Jamal Adderley bounced back from a tough loss yesterday to take the No. 3 singles against Andrew Roth 6-4, 6-4 to give the Bulls a 3-2 advantage.
Senior Mahmoud Hamed dropped a tough match at No. 2 6-2, 6-4 once again tying the match at 3-3.
The deciding match came down to the No. 6 court where sophomore Diego Toledo squared off against Daniel Stahl.
After dropping the first set in a tiebreak 7-6 (4), Toledo bounced back to take a 4-1 advantage in the second set. Stahl then rallied to take the next five points to take the second set 6-4 and ultimately the BIG EAST Title.
“Diego (Toledo) did a great job in this championship,” said Barr. “He’s been really sick the past week and I wasn’t even sure if he was going to even play today. You can’t ask anymore out of a player then what we did of Diego today.”
USF finished the season with an 14-6 dual-match record and will wait and see if they are chosen as an at-large bid to the 2008 NCAA Division I men’s tennis championships. The selection announcements will air between 2 and 2:30 p.m. Eastern time, Tuesday, April 29, on ESPNews. In addition, the ESPNews audio signal is available on the ESPNews channel on XM Radio and SIRIUS Radio.
NCAA Men’s Tennis
2008 BIG EAST Tennis Championships
No. 1 Notre Dame, 4 vs. No. 3 USF, 4
1. Helgeson/Parbhu (ND) def. Daudt/Estrada (USF), 8-3
2. Roth/Montoya (ND) vs. Jovita/Hamed (USF), 7-4
3. Havens/Davis (ND) def. Nusslein/Adderley (USF), 8-5
Order of Finish: 1, 3, 2
1. Brett Helgeson (ND) def. Lucas Jovita (USF), 6-0, 6-1
2. Sheeva Parbhu (ND) def. Mahmoud Hamed (USF), 6-2, 6-4
3. Jamal Adderley (USF) def. Andrew Roth (ND), 6-4, 6-4
4. Thomas Estrada (USF) def. Stephen Havens (ND), 7-5, 6-1
5. Michael Nusslein (USF) def. David Anderson (ND), 6-2, 6-2
6. Daniel Stahl (ND) def. Diego Toledo (USF), 7-6 (4), 6-4
Order of Finish: 4, 1, 5, 3, 2, 6