By TOM ZEBOLD
USF Senior Writer
TAMPA - The Big East Championships are almost here and the Bulls got a big confidence boost in their regular season finale at the USF Varsity Courts.
The USF men's tennis team dropped the doubles point before it stormed back to take five of six singles matches in a 5-2 victory over No. 56 Middle Tennessee State on Friday afternoon.
"It was a team win for sure," head coach Don Barr said.
The Bulls dug themselves into a 1-0 hole by dropping all three doubles matches, but the way they lost could have been beneficial. USF went deep in all three matches in 8-5, 9-8 (7-1), 8-5 decisions against a team that's not used to the Florida heat.
"It was a long doubles, which probably helped us in the singles," Barr said.
USF responded in impressive fashion with Sabastian Hagn's 7-6, 6-2 win over Dimitri Pippos at the No. 6 singles position that really set the tone for the comeback.
"He finished in really quick time, which kept the pressure on Middle Tennessee," said Barr of Hagn, who had only played two singles matches all season before filling in for Ravi Patel.
Yannick Yoshizawa's 6-4, 6-4 victory over Matthew Langley tied the score at 2 at the No. 2 position.
"Yannick just kept on top of the guy and closed him out," Barr said.
Federico Sabogal's emotional 6-4, 6-4 victory over Christoph Lang gave the Bulls the lead and they didn't let up before closing out their fourth straight win. Juan Carlos Acuna Gerard lost his first set, 2-6, but regrouped to take a victory from Ettore Zito, 6-4, 6-3, in the two sets that followed.
"It was glad to see Juan win that because he's been needing to close out his wins," Barr said.
Oliver Pramming capped off Friday's play with a 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 (7-3) win over Dimitri Pippos in USF's final action before they host the conference championships next Thursday through Sunday.
No. 72 USF 5, No. 56 MTSU 2
April 13, 2012
USF Varsity Courts
1. Y. Born/M. Brand (MTSU) def. Y. Yoshizawa/O. Pramming (USF) 8-5
2. B. Davis/C. Lang (MTSU) def. W. Kilani/F. Sabogal (USF) 9-8 (7-1)
3. M. Langley/E. Zito (MTSU) def. S. Hagn/G. De Vilchez (USF) 8-5
Order of Finish: 3, 1, 2
1. Ben Davis (MTSU) def. Wael Kilani (USF) 6-2, 6-2
2. Yannick Yoshizawa (USF) def. Matthew Langley (MTSU) 6-2, 6-4
3. Federico Sabogal (USF) def. Christoph Lang (MTSU) 6-4, 6-4
4. Juan Carlos Acuna Gerard (USF) def. Ettore Zito (MTSU) 2-6, 6-4, 6-3
5. Oliver Pramming (USF) def. Forrest Edwards (MTSU) 3-6, 6-4, 7-6 (7-3)
6. Sebastian Hagn (USF) def. Dimitri Pippos (MTSU) 7-6, 6-2
Order of Finish: 1, 6, 2, 3, 4, 5