Fresh off a second-place showing in the Big East championships, USF's women's tennis team has earned an at-large berth to the NCAA Tournament, and the Bulls will open the tournament by facing Texas next weekend in Coral Gables.
USF has a familiar opponent in Texas -- the Bulls took a 5-2 loss to the Longhorns in Austin on Feb. 25, with the top three singles matches all going to a third set.
The Bulls (11-11) are the only team out of 33 at-large qualifiers that doesn't have a winning record -- they match Mississippi (11-10) with the fewest wins -- but USF's strength of schedule and ITA ranking (No. 41 nationally) were enough to get the Bulls in. Of USF's 11 losses, eight came against team in the current ITA top 20, with wins against No. 12 Ohio State and No. 20 Notre Dame.
USF has three top-100 singles players in Irene Rehberger (No. 35), Janette Bejlkova (No. 61) and Ecaterina Vasenina (No. 93) -- they'll be tested against a Texas team that ranks No. 23 nationally, though the Longhorns have only one top-100 player in No. 21 Aeriel Ellis. The USF-Texas winner faces the winner of Miami and Florida International, with the Hurricanes as the NCAA's No. 7 overall seed.
USF's men's team, despite a 15-8 record, wasn't as fortunate Tuesday, missing the NCAA cut. The Bulls had a slightly lower ITA ranking than the women's team, coming in at No. 49 in the latest rankings.
Posted by Greg Auman at 6:15:21 pm on May 03, 2011