For the first time since 2001, Florida has won a national title in doubles.
On Monday, the No. 3 ranked team of Brooke Austin and Kourtney Keegan took on California’s No. 4 Maegan Manasse and Denise Starr in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in the NCAA Individual Tournament finals.
It was the second time the two duos met this season with Austin and Keegan winning the first matchup.
Nothing changed this time around.
From the first game to the last, the Gator duo never let up, and their efforts earned them a national title.
“Obviously, I am incredibly proud of the performance today,” coach Roland Thornqvist said in a release. “They played like pros. They were very focused. They made virtually every return (they were) cool under pressure.”
Austin and Keegan dominated the first set, taking a 6-2 victory to put the Gator duo within one set of an NCAA title.
And in the second set, Austin and Keegan blanked their opponents, taking it 6-0 to win the national championship.
The Florida pairing was impressive throughout the tournament. It only dropped one set, which came in the semifinals against UCLA’s Catherine Harrison and Kyle McPhillips. Florida went on to win that match 4-6, 6-3, 1-0.
In their first match, they took down Syracuse’s Gabriela Knutson and Valeria Salazar Garza 6-4, 6-3. Then they defeated Pepperdine’s Matea Cutura and Christine Maddox 6-3, 7-6 and Arizona State’s Alexandra Osborne and Ebony Panoho 6-4, 6-1.
“It really started coming together when they were down 4-1 in the first set against Arizona State,” Thornqvist said. “After that point, they locked in, they made first serves, they were poaching and they were really good in return games.
“I am really proud of them. Anytime you win a National Championship, you have to play well and play with courage and I am proud to say that is exactly what Kourtney and Brooke did today.”
The duo went 27-4 in doubles play on its way to the SEC regular season title, SEC Tournament title and, ultimately, the NCAA doubles championship.
And they aren’t done as a duo.
Both Keegan and Austin will be returning for the 2016-2017 season to defend their newly won championship, with Keegan in her final year and Austin as a junior.
Contact Jake Dreilinger at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter at @DreilingerJake.
Brooke Austin hits an open-stance backhand during Florida women's tennis' 4-0 win against Elon on Jan. 24, 2015, at the Ring Tennis Complex.