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Thursday, July 07, 2022
<p>UF's Kourtney Keegan hits the ball during Florida's 6-1 win over USF on Jan. 27 at the Ring Tennis Complex.</p>

UF's Kourtney Keegan hits the ball during Florida's 6-1 win over USF on Jan. 27 at the Ring Tennis Complex.

Only needing one more point to advance to the next round, the Gators turned to their veteran experience to get the job done.

Brooke Austin and Belinda Woolcock were forced into a third set on Saturday, while Brianna Morgan played Gabriela Knutson close in the second set.

That left junior Kourtney Keegan to stop Syracuse from getting back into the match. And she did, winning in dominating fashion.

With her win, No. 1 Florida clinched the sweep and defeated No. 25 Syracuse (15-9) 4-0 in the second round of the NCAA Championships at the Ring Tennis Complex.

In her match, Keegan took down Maria Tritou to punch the Gators’ (23-2, 13-0 Southeastern Conference) ticket to Tulsa for the Round of 16.

“Today, we are pleased to have advanced to Tulsa,” coach Roland Thornqvist said in a release. “It was hot. We got the type of weekend here we were hoping for. It was hot and humid. Our players handled it really well.”

In doubles, the duo of Morgan and Anna Danilina made quick work of Nicole Mitchell and Tritou, winning their match 6-1. Austin and Keegan secured the doubles point with a 6-3 victory over Knutson and Valeria Salazar.

Florida was quick to add on two more points to its lead.

Danilina blew by Syracuse’s Dina Hegab 6-2, 6-0 and Josie Kuhlman finished not much later with a 6-1, 6-2 victory over Libi Mesh.

Leading 3-0, Florida found itself in need of only one point.

After a strong first set which she won 6-0, No. 4 Austin was forced into a third set by No. 64 Anna Shkudun.

No. 11 Woolcock, who also had a chance to put the match away against Salazar after winning the first set 6-3, lost the second 6-2.

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No. 40 Keegan, though, won 6-2, 6-3 and advanced the Gators to the Round of 16.

“We played OK in doubles, but I thought we played better doubles than singles, in my opinion,” Thornqvist said. “We were a little in and out at times and made too many unforced errors.

“Obviously, we played well enough to advance and showed great depth in our singles lineup.”

Awaiting Florida in Tulsa is an opponent that defeated the Gators earlier this season: Stanford.

The last time these two teams met, Stanford came out on top in a back-and-forth 4-3 match.

The Cardinal (15-5, 9-1 Pac-12) defeated Texas A&M on Saturday 4-3 to advance to the next round.

That match will take place on May 19 at 1 p.m. at the Michael D. Case Tennis Center.

Contact Jake Dreilinger at of follow him on Twitter @DreilingerJake

UF's Kourtney Keegan hits the ball during Florida's 6-1 win over USF on Jan. 27 at the Ring Tennis Complex.

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