No. 8 Florida continued its success in the NCAA tournament second round on Saturday, topping No. 22 Oklahoma State to remain undefeated against its Big 12 opponent.
The Gators (21-5) ceded the doubles point but won the next four matches in singles play to capture the 4-1 victory.
“We knew Oklahoma State was going to be tough but they are playing doubles past what I suspected,” coach Roland Thornqvist said. “I think not having played matches in a while we went into ‘La La Land’ there for about ten minutes, and that team is skilled enough to punish you when you do.”
Brianna Morgan and Stefani Stojic fell 8-4 on Court 3 to begin the match. The No. 27 doubles duo of Sofie Oyen and Belinda Woolcock struggled as well, losing 8-4 to give OSU (16-9) a 1-0 lead.
Florida had struggled this season when losing the doubles point, but managed to overcome the deficit with stellar play in singles.
“Credit to this team with the way we handled it and reacted after losing the double point,” Thornqvist said. “Coming out of the door in singles, we looked really strong and there was no panic.”
Olivia Janowicz grabbed a 6-1, 7-6 (1) victory on Court 2 to even the score at one. Next, Sofie Oyen won 6-0, 6-4 on Court 3 and Kourtney Keegan secured a 6-2, 6-3 win on Court 6. Alexandra Cercone sealed Florida’s comeback, winning 7-5, 6-1 on the No. 4 court to eliminate OSU from the tournament.
The Gators will advance to the NCAA Round of 16, where they will play either Vanderbilt or Georgia Tech on Thursday in Athens, Ga. The match will begin at 4 p.m.
“We’re just going to keep doing what we’ve been doing… [and] get the job done out there in Athens,” Janowicz said. “Our job isn’t nearly done right now — it’s just the beginning.”
Follow Ian Cohen on Twitter @ibcohen5