The third-seeded Bulls mounted a furious comeback to defeat the top-seeded Golden Knights, 4-3, on Sunday at the USTA National Campus in Lake Nora to win USF’s fifth AAC title in men’s tennis in the last six years. This come from behind victory avenged a 4-0 loss to CFU a week ago, and brought USF’s total record in AAC tournament play to 17-1. The lone blemish coming from last year’s championship game against Tulane.
The day started rough for the Bulls, as they dropped the doubles point 2-1, putting the Golden Knights ahead 1-0 on the day. Freshmen duo Chase Ferguson and Sergio Gomez Montesa won their match 6-4 for the early doubles lead, however Sophomore Jakub Wojcik and freshmen Ivan Yatsuk fell shortly after 7-5. The top-tier matchup on court one fell in favor of Oviedo, as #16 duo Trey Hilderbrand/Bodgan Pavel defeated #87 duo Alberto Barroso-Campos/Pierre Luquet 7-6.
USF’s deficit grew larger after Sergio Gomez Montesa was defeated on court five 6-0, 6-4, thus putting the score at 2-0 in favor of Central. But head coach Ashley Fisher knew this team was going to fight, and the Bulls bounced back in a big way.
“This is one of the toughest teams I’ve ever seen,” Fisher said. “We lost the doubles point having 3 match points on two courts against a team that beat us 4-0 a week ago but ended up taking four singles on their home courts.”
Sophomore Pierre Luquet provided that first spark, winning 6-2, 6-0 on court three, followed shortly by #18 Junior Alberto Barroso-Campos winning his premier matchup on court one against #35 Gabriel Decamps 6-1, 6-4 to bring the score at even 2-2. Jakob Wojcik gave USF the lead after a close match, winning 7-6, 6-3 on court four.
On the final two courts, Ivan Yatsuk and Chase Ferguson were both in the third set of their respective matches battling almost simultaneously. Yatsuk and his opponent, Mikhail Sokolovskiy battled back and forth on court six before Sokolovskiy eventually closed it out , 7-5, 3-6, 6-4. However as that match was coming to an end, the writing was on the wall for C. Florida as Chase Ferguson was dominating his third set on court two. The freshmen sealed the deal on championship point to win 6-1, 4-6, 6-1, and bring USF their fifth AAC title in six years
Alberto Barroso-Campos was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Player as he led the way on every top matchup during the run, going 3-0 in singles play against Memphis, Temple, and C.
After this victory, USF clinched a bid to the National Championship Tournament, which will be held on the same courts the Bulls clinched the AAC title on in Lake Nora. Matches will start on May 16th and run until the 25th.