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Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Florida’s match against No. 43 USF on Sunday looked scripted.

The freshmen put the team in position to win, and the upperclassmen secured the 6-1 victory on Sunday.

In doubles, the first pair to finish were freshmen Billy Federhofer and Bob Van Overbeek on court No. 3 winning 8-2.

“Billy and I really practice our doubles,” Van Overbeek said.  “Our goal is to take the pressure off of Alex and Antoine.”

The No. 10 doubles team in the country, senior Antoine Benneteau and junior Alexandre Lacroix, secured the doubles point with an 8-2 win on court No. 1.

In singles, it was more of the same from the Gators (7-2).

Southeastern Conference Freshman of the Week Sekou Bangoura Jr. was the first to finish with a 6-1, 6-1 victory on court No. 5.

“I felt focused today,” Bangoura said. “I knew I wanted to go out, play well and get the Gators the point.”

Van Overbeek put UF ahead 3-0 with his 6-2, 6-1 win from court No. 4.

“I missed the match against FAU and felt I only played so-so at indoors,” Van Overbeek said.  “I was excited and ready to go today playing at home.”

No. 17 Lacroix clinched the victory for Florida with a 6-2, 6-4 win on court No. 1.

Coach Andy Jackson said the solid performances from freshmen Bangoura and Van Overbeek are indicative of changes “from the neck up.”

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“We didn’t just teach these guys how to play tennis in the last month,” Jackson said.

The only player to stumble was sophomore Joey Burkhardt on court No. 2. 

No. 110 Burkhardt lost his singles match to No. 59 Wael Kilani, the highest ranked player on USF, 6-1, 6-2.

“Joey’s matches are close regardless of the score,” Jackson said.  “I’m confident he’ll bounce back for FSU.”

Sunday’s match, coming in between indoor tournament play earlier this month against three teams ranked No. 7 or higher and FSU later this week, provided a test of focus for the Gators.

“We did a good job of being present,” Jackson said.  “We didn’t try to play FSU before Wednesday.”

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