Dons Swing into the Spring Season

Azaria Hayes and Qianer Qiu celebrate a team win against the Academy of Art. PHOTO COURTESY OF CHRIS M. LEUNG/DONS ATHLETICS

The USF Dons women’s and men’s tennis teams are officially back to kick off their spring season. The men’s season had some prominent accomplishments last season, like being able to work alongside the women’s tennis team to take down Santa Clara University at the Taube Challenge Cup. Both sides swept the Broncos in every category to begin their fall season. 

During winter break, the Dons made some adjustments to their 2023 spring roster. In the offseason, the men’s tennis team added graduate student Davide Cortimigila from Genoa, Italy to their roster this season. In conversation with the Foghorn, Cortimigila talked about his experience taking his passions 6,000 miles to the Hilltop, “I still have to realize everything around me, but I feel fortunate enough to have the opportunity to play with the Dons and at the same time start a master’s degree in sports management at USF.”

 The men’s tennis team opened their season on Jan. 19 with a 4-1 win over the University of California, San Diego Tritons. The Dons had some notable plays during the match, including their doubles matches where they won two of three, and players Stevie Gould, Nil Giraldez, and Moritz Hoffmann earned their first individual wins. After falling short in the second match of singles, Stevie Gould came back in the third set to secure a win for the Dons. Nil Giraldez dominated in his match, going 6-1 and 6-3 in singles. Moritz Hoffmann won in similar fashion, sweeping his match in two sets. 

During a conversation with the Foghorn, Giraldez discussed the team’s main focus. Due to the team’s small roster, Giraldez’s main concern was the team’s health. “Even though we won our first match, with the whole San Diego trip as a learning experience I feel we should get healthier as a team and take care of our bodies extremely well,” he said. 

After a heartbreaking loss against Pepperdine in the West Coast Conference Championship semifinals last season, the USF Dons women’s tennis team hopes for better results this spring. The season has been highly anticipated for the Dons, as the West Coast Conference preseason poll has predicted USF to finish in fourth overall in the conference. After rainy weather canceled their season opener at the 2023 Cal Invite, the Dons ended up beginning their season at the 2023 Long Beach Invitational.

In the invitational four of the five Dons’ doubles pairings pulled in wins against Long Beach State and University of Pacific. Rita Colyer and Maria Martinez Vaquero were two of the many players that helped the Dons on this successful victory. Rita went 6-0 in all of the matches she competed in at the invite, and Maria brought home five wins from the six matches that she competed in. 

The success did not stop there for the Dons. They recently took down local San Francisco competition, the Urban Knights of the Academy of Art on Jan. 26. Winning the first two doubles matches and sweeping the singles, the Dons had a 6-0 victory over the Academy of Art. “We played well and capitalized on the momentum on the doubles play,” USF women’s tennis head coach, Peter Bartlett, said. The Dons moving forward hope to keep the same momentum for the rest of the season.

The men’s tennis team will be back in the Bay Area today to battle the University of California, Berkeley Golden Bears. The women’s team will be taking their talents on the road to face off against the University of Colorado on Saturday, Feb. 4.


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