With an SEC regular-season crown in their back pocket, the Gators can now ride on cruise control through the remainder of the season.
But the entrance into the official conference tournament is around the corner but there’s a bouncer in charge of the door and on the lookout for fakes — the South Carolina Gamecocks.
In seven of the previous nine matchups, the Gators took down opponents with at least a top-25 rank.
The singles matchups played a key role for No. 1 Florida as Josh Goodger and Blaise Bicknell pace to hold a perfect record by the end of the year. Goodger stands at a strong 9-0 while sophomore Bicknell’s perfect 25-0 stance dates back to the 2020 regular season.
Doubles play zig-zagged throughout the post-pandemic campaign. Florida hasn’t found a consistent strategy to hold a doubles-point advantage. Head coach Bryan Shelton tried to switch around the doubles roster.
Lately, Bicknell and Will Grant lead the way for the Gators even though they fell 7-5 in their last match to No. 20 Cesar Bourgois and Gabriel Diallo. The Gators’ tandem recorded nine straight wins before dropping two in a row.
The Gamecocks enter Friday afternoon with a 12-7 record and will look to tamper with Florida’s perfect 11-0 SEC mark. Toby Samuel (14-2) and Daniel Rodrigues (13-4) are at the front of the pack and hold the best tallies in the singles category.
Both Samuel and Rodrigues combin for a 15-match win streak in singles play. They appear on the floor for the doubles portion with their respective partners. Samuel and Jake Beasly are 13-5 together while Rodrigues with Connor Thompson stand at 9-6.
The match will start at1 p.m. due to inclement weather. The season finale will stream live on FloridaGators.com alongside stats.
Contact Jesse Richardson at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @JesseRich352