Following its victory over Georgia in the Southeastern Conference Tournament Championship nearly three weeks ago, the Florida men’s tennis team looked to continue its momentum this weekend in the first round of the NCAA Championships.
Taking on the unranked North Florida Ospreys (11-12), the No. 9 Gators (19-6) picked up where they left off, overpowering UNF 4-0 at the Ring Tennis Complex on Saturday afternoon to increase their winning streak to seven-consecutive matches.
“(We) came out to play today,” assistant coach Scott Perelman said in a release. “… Anytime we faced (adversity) today, we faced it head on. It was a really sharp showing on behalf of Florida.”
Freshman Alfredo Perez capped off the day with the first match-clinching singles win of his career. The first-year player from Havana, Cuba, knocked off Lasse Muscheites 6-4, 6-1 to stay undefeated in postseason play.
Freshman McClain Kessler and senior Gordon Watson were the other two Gators to win their singles contests. Kessler bested Jonathan Deautriell 6-1, 6-3, and Watson defeated Sahil Deshmukh 6-2, 6-1.
UF began the match with a strong showing in doubles competition. Watson and Senior Diego Hidalgo beat Jack Findel-Hawkins and Yannick Zuern 6-2.
Then, juniors Maxx Lipman and Elliott Orkin knocked off Muscheites and Zach Goldberg 6-3 to seal the doubles point for Florida.
“North Florida played well and are well-coached and well-prepared,” Perelman said. “They came at us with some spirit when they thought they had a chance, but our guys met the challenge today.”
The Gators advanced to the second round of the NCAA Championships, where they will take on No. 17 South Florida (21-8) on Sunday at 1 p.m. USF defeated St. John’s 4-0 in its first-round match on Saturday.
A victory over the Bulls would send Florida to the Round of 16 of the NCAA Championships for the seventh time in the last decade.
Contact Dylan Dixon at email@example.com and follow him on Twitter @dylanrdixon.
Alfredo Perez returns a ball during Florida's 6-1 win over Troy on Jan. 17, 2016, at the Ring Tennis Complex.