For the third time in four years, Florida knocked South Carolina State out of the NCAA tournament’s opening round.
The No. 8 Gators won without much trouble on Friday, sweeping the unranked Bulldogs 4-0 to begin tournament play.
“I thought we did really well,” coach Roland Thornqvist said. “We were a little nervous, I thought, maybe in the first ten minutes of doubles but we managed to play our way through that and executed well.”
Sofie Oyen and Belinda Woolcock grabbed the first doubles match with an 8-3 victory on Court 2. Olivia Janowicz and Brianna Morgan followed closely on the No. 3 court with an 8-3 win to capture the doubles point.
“I think what makes a good team is being able to adapt to change,” freshman Kourtney Keegan said, “and I think we did that really well today at all three lines.”
Florida rode its momentum into singles action where it needed only three matches to complete the sweep.
“In these tournaments… if you are up and have a chance to close it out quickly, it’s very important that you do so,” Thornqvist said.
The Gators wasted no time as they captured each of the ensuing matches in straight sets.
Keegan began the scoring with 6-1, 6-1 victory to put the Gators up 2-0. Stefani Stojic breezed through her match with a 6-0, 6-1 win, and Oyen clinched the match, 6-1, 6-0.
Florida will face No. 22 Oklahoma State, who defeated South Florida in the opening round, on Saturday at 3 p.m.
“It [felt] good,” Oyen said. “I think we [were] all excited to play again. I think it’s been three weeks since we played, but I’m just glad that the team play[ed] well.”
Follow Ian Cohen on Twitter @ibcohen5