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Wednesday, June 19, 2024
Andy Andrade
Andy Andrade

Coach Shelton said that Florida’s goal is to repeat as SEC regular-season champions.

That goal became cloudy after it stumbled versus Texas A&M.

UF needs help if it’s going to reach Shelton’s goal, following a 4-3 defeat at the hands of the No. 12 Aggies on Sunday afternoon at the George P. Mitchell Tennis Center in College Station, Texas.

For No. 6 UF, No. 45 senior Johannes Ingildsen and freshman Will Grant won the first match in doubles, defeating senior Valentin Vacherot and sophomore Noah Schachter 6-2 on Court 2.

After Ingildsen and Grant, juniors Duarte Vale and Josh Goodger knocked off Texas A&M’s sophomore Pranav Kumar and junior Hady Habib 6-4 on Court 3, which gave Florida the 1-0 lead.

In singles, Shelton said he feels that he has a luxury that the rest of the country doesn’t.

His team currently boasts three of the top 25 singles players in the country, according to the Intercollegiate Tennis Association rankings. Sophomore Sam Riffice is the highest-ranked Florida player at No. 5, followed by Oliver Crawford at No. 10 and junior Duarte Vale at No. 22.

“We’ve got such a strong team and to have those three guys at the top of our lineup,” Shelton said after the match versus Alabama on Feb. 28. “It’s tough for every team to know that they’ve got to face those three every time we put our team out there against them.”

However, the Gators’ success in doubles didn’t translate to singles.

The top of Shlelton’s lineup slipped against the Aggies (11-3, 4-0) Sunday.

Vale was the only player out of Florida’s best three players to win his singles match.

He gave the Gators (15-3, 3-1) a 2-0 lead, defeating No. 34 junior Carlos Aguilar 6-2, 6-1 on Court 3.

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Then, the Aggies got on the scoreboard after No. 28 Habib beat Riffice in straight sets 6-1, 7-6 on Court 2.

No. 115 sophomore Lukas Greif put UF up 3-1, beating No. 111 junior Barnaby Smith 6-3, 6-3.

Then, the Gators collapsed in the same fashion as the Falcons in Super Bowl LI.

It started with Crawford falling to No. 3 Vacherot 7-6, 6-1 on Court 1 to trim UF’s lead to one.

Next, Goodger followed, losing to Guido Marson on Court 6 in three sets  6-1, 4-6, 6-4, tying the match at three apiece.

The final blow happened when No. 98 junior Andy Andrade lost in a second-set tiebreaker 7-6, 7-6 to Schachter on Court 4.

Florida returns home to take on No. 10 Georgia (9-2, 3-0) Friday at 5 p.m. at the Ring Tennis Complex.

You can contact Zachary Huber at zhuber@alligator.org and follow him on Twitter @zacharyahuber.

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