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Wednesday, June 19, 2024

The UF men's tennis team fell by the slimmest of margins Tuesday at archrival No. 36 Miami.

The No. 13 Gators (1-1) dropped a 4-3 decision in their first road test of the dual-match season.

"Miami played better than we did," UF coach Andy Jackson said. "It was a very close match, and they were just a little bit tougher and played better when it counted."

The match came down to the final singles court, which hosted freshman Erik Corace. Corace dropped a tight first set 7-6 but rallied in the second set 6-1 to pull even. He went on to lose a competitive third set 6-3, dropping the match for UF.

Jackson said that Corace was not the sole reason for the team's defeat.

"Of the seven guys that played, all six [singles players] played in a match that, if they lost, they would've made the difference," he said.

Freshman Tyler Hochwalt (6-1, 6-1) and senior Nestor Briceno (6-3, 6-2) won the first two singles matches for UF in straight sets to give the Gators a 2-1 advantage.

The Gators' top two players, senior Greg Ouellette (6-4, 6-2) and freshman Alex Lacroix (6-3, 6-4) went down soon after, each in straight sets.

Jackson said Ouellette's tough match on Sunday may have affected him, but not as much as his opponent, ranked No. 7 nationally, did.

"I felt that the other kid was tougher," Jackson said. "He just played a really, really good match."

Freshman Jeff Dadamo tied the match by mustering a lengthy, three-set win, 2-6, 6-4, 6-4.

The Gators were competitive on the doubles courts, as their two losses were decided by two games each.

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Hochwalt and Dadamo lost 8-6 before Briceno and Lacroix tied the match with an 8-4 win.

But Ouellette and freshman Johnny Hamui came up just short, losing 9-7, clinching the doubles point for the Hurricanes.

"They were just tougher than us at the end," Jackson said of Miami's doubles-court play. "They were ready to go … and they won the close matches."

Jackson said his team can draw a lot of positives from this loss, keeping in mind that the regular season isn't as important as the postseason.

"We did a lot of good things in the match," Jackson said. "Nothing happened that was shocking, and we just have to take our five new guys and get better so that we can compete at this level."

The women's tennis team's match against No. 28 South Florida scheduled for Wednesday was postponed Tuesday, but this time, it wasn't because of the weather.

According to Gatorzone, several of USF's players have the flu and would be unable to compete if the match were held Wednesday. The home match has been rescheduled for Feb. 12.

This isn't the first time the No. 4 Gators' have had a match postponed this season. UF had its season-opener pushed back a week due to rain, and its match against South Alabama on Saturday was also postponed due to rain.

"It looks like we've managed to schedule all our early matches on rain days," Coach Roland Thornqvist said at a press conference Monday. "I don't know if the climate is changing or if we're just having bad luck here early."

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