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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

The No. 11 Gators men’s tennis team met a team goal Sunday when it beat Georgia Tech to advance to the round of 16 ITA Indoor Team Championships Feb. 12-15 in Charlottesville, Va.

Before Charlottesville, the Gators want to keep the momentum rolling with a win over FAU on Saturday.

Freshman Bob Van Overbeek is not worried about his teammates looking ahead to the indoor tournament.

“The whole team is focused on FAU right now,” Van Overbeek said.

Van Overbeek and fellow freshman Billy Federhofer are coming off of their first doubles win Sunday.

UF men's coach Andy Jackson noticed the pair had practiced better than they played, and Van Overbeek knew it too.  On Sunday, he finally played on the same level and got a significant boost in confidence.

Federhofer and Van Overbeek’s improved play could benefit the whole team at an important time in the season.

“We’re going to be facing a lot of teams with two good doubles teams as we get further into the season,” Van Overbeek said.  “It’s great if we can help get the doubles point from the No. 3 spot.”

The No. 8 Gators women’s tennis team will get in two home matches before heading to Madison, Wis. Feb. 12-15 for the round of 16 ITA Team Indoor Championships.

The first of those two matches is Sunday against Troy.

“Troy’s a good program.  They always have good players at the top,” said UF women's coach Roland Thornqvist.

One of Troy’s good players will likely have to compete against one of the SEC’s best at the No. 2 spot.

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No. 13 Allie Will was named SEC Women’s Tennis Freshman of the Week on Wednesday.

“Allie is very deserving of the honor,” Thornqvist said.  “She is getting better in every aspect of her game, especially offensively.  She’s hitting with greater power from her backhand.”

Will is not the only improving freshman getting noticed by the head coach.

Caroline Hitimana, recovered from a fall injury, has improved the most in Thornqvist’s opinion since the spring season started

“I jokingly told Caroline, ‘If you keep this up I expect you to go pro on me next month,’” Thornqvist said.

The humble freshman playing at the No. 5 spot downplays the praise.

“I don’t know where that comes from,” Hitimana said.  “I will be here four years.”

Florida will play on back-to-back days for the first time this season when they face USF on Monday.   

“Normally you don’t want to play back-to-back this early, but I think this will be a good experience for our team,” Thornqvist said.

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