Watch out San Francisco opponents, the Dons’ swagger is picking up. USF defeated the Fresno State Bulldogs 4-3 at the Cal Club on Saturday, using a knock them down, drag them out style of play to win their second consecutive match.
While a debilitating 6-1 loss to Washington in the team’s season opener seemingly put a large dent in USF’s start to a promising year, a win over Idaho on that same very day helped the dons limp away from their Seattle double-header with a small, but discernible pulse. Regrouping on Saturday, the Dons faced the Bulldogs in a match that would determine if the Dons would be once again be on the ropes, or if the Idaho victory had given them an injection of fresh, precious new life.
San Francisco was focused early in the singles matches against Fresno State. The Dons raced out to a lead as Sophomore Nils Skajaa dismantled the Bulldogs’ Sam McNeil at the No. 2 position with a 6-2, 6-3 win. Fresno State crept onto the board with Nikolas Papic’s victory over freshman Christian Brockstedt, but redshirt junior James Tallman did his part in helping the Dons’ chances, winning a two-set battle over John Darmstaedter 7-6(2), 6-4, that gave USF the advantage once again. With junior Bernard Saraiva’s 6-1, 2-6, 7-5 three-set victory, the Bulldogs were out of contention and secured USF’s match victory.
The pairing of senior Germain Bahri and freshman Timothy Tan came up big in the doubles matches, overpowering their opposition and getting the 8-6 win to give the Dons the doubles point.
In taking the doubles decision, the Dons grinded out a solid win on their home turf and now stand at 3-3 on the season.
“This was a big win for the program and a huge confidence builder for our guys heading into the mid-section of our season,” head coach Pablo Pires de Almeida told usfdons.com.
The Dons will hope to surpass .500 for the first time this season when they head down south to Texas in a challenge that will test their newly found mojo. The Dons will go head to head against South Carolina-Upstate and TCU in Fort Worth, Tex. on Sunday Feb. 22.
Playing at the Olympic Club on Friday, the Dons went up against San Jose State and prevailed 4-3. With the win, USF stayed unbeaten at home and upped its record to 6-2.
In the singles matches, freshman Thrya Thaune set the tone for the match, succeeding 6-1, 6-1 against San Jose State’s Marie Klocker. Sophomore Andrea Ka was engaged in a much more difficult battle, but was able to slip past Gaelle Rey 4-6, 7-5, 6-1. Despite the Dons’ wins in positions No. 1 and 2, the Spartans found a breath of life when Julianna Bacelar defeated sophomore Sophia Homberg 7-6 (5), 0-6, 6-2. Jessica Willet’s 6-3, 1-6, 6-2 victory over junior Milica Hadzi-Tanovic continued the string of competitive matches, but at the No. 6 position, sophomore Brooke Irish was able to best Justine Deleval 6-4, 6-2.
Once the doubles matches began, it became clear that the Dons were simply too much for the Spartans. USF took both of the doubles matches by scores of 6-1, and the victory was sealed even before Holmberg and Taune could finish their match.
Looking ahead, the Dons will travel to UC Davis to play their next game against the Aggies on Saturday, Feb. 22 at 12:00 p.m. The game was originally scheduled for Feb. 8, but was delayed on account of inclement weather.
Last 5 posts by Conor Reilly
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- Volleyball: Zaloznik Named WCC Player of the Week - October 24th, 2013
- Women’s Soccer: Dons Play Well But Can’t Find Victory in WCC Opener at St. Mary’s - October 10th, 2013
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