W. TENNIS | The women’s tennis team couldn’t take the heat Tuesday afternoon.

Playing in Tampa, Fla., the No. 24 Elis (10-3) lost to No. 21 South Florida (8-4) by a score of 5-2 in their first outdoor match of the season. The Bulldogs hope to take what they learned from this match and use it when they take on No. 47 Florida International on Saturday.

“The players on the USF team play very well in the conditions here, in a way that takes some getting used to,” Vicky Brook ’12 said. “We are looking forward to taking what we learned from this match to make some improvements to our games for our match at the end of the week.”

The trouble started early on Tuesday. The Bulldogs were unable to capture the doubles point, despite the efforts of Stephanie Kent ’12 and Jessie Rhee ’10, who won their match at No. 2 doubles.

In singles, No. 2 Brook earned the team’s first point, triumphing over her opponent in straight sets. Elizabeth Epstein ’13 captured the Eli’s only other point, winning the No. 5 match in a tie-breaker.

Stevi Petrelli ’11 described the challenges her team faced playing South Florida.

“The USF players played a different style of game than we’re using to seeing,” she said. “They were very steady, got back a ton of balls and had a lot of variety in their games.”

Tuesday’s loss came on the same day that the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) released this week’s national rankings; the Bulldogs were ranked No. 24, the highest ranking in the history of Yale women’s tennis.

On Saturday, the Elis will put their ranking on the line when they face No. 47 Florida International in Miami. After that, the team will return home, wrapping up its spring break with a match at home against Quinnipiac on March 19.