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Tuesday, May 21, 2024

When the No. 6 Gators men’s tennis team (12-2, 4-0 SEC) faces No. 14 Mississippi (13-2, 4-1 SEC) at 2 p.m. on Sunday, three losses to the Rebels last spring, one at home and two at neutral sites, should serve as plenty of motivation for revenge.

One member of this year’s squad, junior Alexandre Lacroix, is familiar with winning in Oxford, Miss.

In 2008, Lacroix helped a then-No. 18 Florida team earn a 5-2 upset win over then-No. 5 Mississippi.

Lacroix, currently ranked No. 6 in singles, is the only starter on the 2010 team that played in that match, and he’s ready to return to a premiere SEC environment.

“It’s always difficult to play there,” Lacroix said.  “They get crowds of 600-plus people who love tennis and are very passionate. It’s an exciting place to play.”

By comparison, most UF home crowds have drawn 350 people or less this season.

As a junior, Lacroix, is a leader on a team that relies on contributions from four underclassmen. He thinks his younger teammates are ready, pointing out they have him and senior Antoine Benneteau to listen to and follow their lead.

Coach Andy Jackson added that his underclassmen have played in two comparable environments this spring, Waco, Texas and Charlottesville, Va., the neutral site host of the ITA Indoor Team Championships.

He’s not asking Lacroix or Benneteau to give any kind of special talk about playing in Oxford.

“If anything, I’m going to tell them ‘look, Alex went there and won as a freshman, you guys can do it too,’” Jackson said.

The No. 4 UF women’s team (14-2, 4-0) completes its matches against SEC West opponents this weekend starting today with a match against No. 57 Mississippi State (9-5, 1-3 SEC) at 3 p.m.

The women’s squad is undefeated in the school’s 29 matches against the Bulldogs.

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Another undefeated streak intact is Allie Will’s 14-0 record in singles play this spring.

Even in the two dual matches Florida has lost, the No. 9 freshman has managed to defeat her singles opponent.

Will and the Gators return home Sunday to host No. 28 Mississippi (9-2, 3-1 SEC) at 1 p.m.

FSU MATCH WILL NOT BE MADE UP: UF confirmed this week that the men’s match against FSU that was postponed due to rain on Feb. 24th then rescheduled for March 17 and rained out before either team clinched the victory, will not be made up. 

The match has traditionally been an influential factor in which school gets to host an NCAA Regional in May, but the two schools could not find a date to finish out the match. 

The men’s match against Mississippi State that was rained out on Sunday will not be completed either.

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