Sunday May 11, 2008Men's Tennis Defeats No. 19 Miami, 4-1, To Advance To NCAA Round of 16
For the seventh-straight year and the 15th time in the last 18 seasons, the No. 9 University of Florida men’s tennis team advanced to the final site of the NCAA tournament as the Gators downed No. 19 Miami, 4-1, Sunday afternoon in the NCAA second round match in Gainesville. Florida will now face No. 7 Texas on Friday at 4 p.m. ET in Tulsa, Okla.
Sunday’s match against the Hurricanes included two rain delays totaling 81 minutes and high winds. Florida overcame the elements to improve to 17-7 on the season and remain perfect under seventh-year head Coach Andy Jackson in NCAA first and second round play (14-0). Including this season’s event, Florida is the only team in the SEC, and one of four nationally (Baylor, Illinois, UCLA), to advance to the NCAA Round of 16 in each of the last seven years.
When doubles play started, the Gators came out and wasted no time on the top court where Greg Ouellette and Jeff Dadamo (No. 30) handled Daniel Vallverdu and Carl Sundberg (No. 3) at the top of the lineup, 8-1. Up until this match, Florida’s doubles teams had gone a combined 0-3 this year against top-10 opponents
Minutes later, UF had the 1-0 lead when Nestor Briceno and Alex Lacroix overpowered Vivek Subramanian and David Rosenfeld on court two, 8-4. With the win, the Gator duo ran its record to 17-5 on the year.
In singles, UF built the lead to 3-0 with wins on courts four and two by Dadamo and Briceno, respectively. Dadamo downed Carl Sundberg, 6-0, 6-3 in just over an hour. Briceno (No. 52) got his second straight-set win of the tournament by defeating Subramanian on court two, 6-1, 6-4. The victory was the 103rd of Briceno’s career, which gives him sole possession of fifth place in the UF record books.
After Miami got on the scoreboard with a win on court three, UF’s Erik Corace provided the clincher by coming back from a 5-2 deficit in the second set on court six against J.C. Whitner for a 6-1, 7-6 (2) win. In the regular season meeting, the match had come down to the same two and Whitner won three sets to give the Hurricanes the 4-3 win in January.
The Gators are now 34-17 all-time in NCAA Tournament play since the event switched to a dual match format in 1977.
The Gators have outscored opponents 57-9 in NCAA first and second round play under head coach Andy Jackson.
Coach Jackson’s teams have advanced to the NCAA final site 17 of the last 18 years (10 at Mississippi State and seven at Florida).
Miami was the sixth top 25 opponent the Gators have defeated this season (based on rankings at time of match).
Florida and Texas last met in the NCAA tournament in the 2003 Round of 16 where the Gators edged the Longhorns, 4-3, to advance to the quarterfinals in Athens, Ga.
UF head coach Andy Jackson
On Erik Corace:
“Early in the year we lost to Miami and it came down to him in the last match. He’s shown me that his composure and maturity is a lot better and that he’s improved. The other kid has improved too so that shows double progress and I’m very proud of him. The momentum was changing very quickly in the team match and that’s a credit to Miami. That didn’t surprise me and they were getting to us. For Erik to close it out says a lot for us and says a lot for the guts of Miami.
On advancing to Tulsa
“You set your goals at the beginning of the year to try to win the SEC, try to host a regional and try to get to Tulsa then when you get to Tulsa to try to win it. This team has every intention of winning four more matches. Texas will be tough, but we’re tough too.”
On the conditions
“It was very windy and very hot, which was worse for Miami because they had to play a very tough match yesterday. We had a lot of advantages, but those were ones we’d earned by being top nine in the country and securing the host. We did a good job taking advantage of those things.
“It looked like there was something not right with Miami at number one doubles and then we played superior at two and it looked like we were even at three. Miami’s best two points are their number one singles and their doubles. To be able to be able to get the doubles was a huge factor in the match.”
On Nestor Briceno
“The last eight weeks the guy has been one of the best players in the country. Again today he was the best player on either team and I thought his play was spectacular.”
UF senior Nestor Briceno
“Doubles was amazing. We had a great win on court one. I know those guys are No. 3 in the nation. It was a heartbreaker when we played them early in the season so it was good to come back here and play tough tennis.”
On Erik Corace
“It was great. I think he was down 5-2. He’s definitely learned a lot. He’s grown so much and I’m so proud of him. He’s someone people should look forward to watching in the coming years.”
On the conditions
“It was brutal with the wind. I was telling the guys in the locker room it isn’t about tennis today, it is about getting that first serve in and whoever is tougher. When the ball is swirling around whoever complains less about the wind gets the victory.”
On playing his final match at home
“It hit me pretty bad on match point. I was thinking that this could be the last point I’m going to play here. It was emotional and I’m still trying to make sense of it. It was a great ride here and I’m glad to be a Gator. These guys are going to do very well here. We’ve got the tournament in Tulsa still. We’re still in it.”
UF freshman Erik Corace
“It was tough, but I’ve been through it this year four times where it has come down to my match. The first time it happened was down at Miami. I got a little ahead of myself today in the second set and got down 5-2, but I kept fighting. It was windy and I just thought to myself to just keep balls in play.
On the delays
“The wind was bad at the SEC tournament as well so we’ve seen that before. We’ve been through rain delays before so we knew what to do.”
On the tiebreak
“I felt confident and I felt like he had a lot of pressure on him since I was the one that came back. “
Miami Head Coach Mario Rincon
On the match:
played a great match. They were very solid in singles and in doubles. We played
poorly in the doubles, but came out strong in the singles.
“It was a great team effort to have the season that we had and I’m proud of this team. Florida was just very tough today.”
This was the second meeting between the two teams in 2008, with UM taking the first 4-3 in Coral Gables on Jan. 29. What was the difference today?
“It definitely makes a huge difference to play at home. Coming into Gainesville, we knew that we would have our hands full with Florida. We had some chances to win the match, but Florida played very well in the big points.”
NCAA College Men’s Tennis
Linder Stadium at Ring Tennis Complex
NCAA Second Round
Sunday, May 11, 2008
Final Score: Florida 4, Miami 1
No. 1 (30) Jeff Dadamo-Greg Ouellette (UF) def. (3) Daniel Vallverdu-Carl Sundberg (UM), 8-1
No. 2 Alex Lacroix-Nestor Briceno (UF) def. Vivek Subramanian-David Rosenfeld (UM), 8-4
No. 3 . Geoffrey Barton-Tyler Hochwalt (UF) vs. Hector Nieto-Keith Crowley (UM), 4-4 DNF
No. 1 (2) Greg Ouellette (UF) vs. (5) Daniel Vallverdu (UM), 6-4, 1-6, 1-0 (DNF)
No. 2 (52) Nestor Briceno (UF) def. Vivek Subramanian (UM), 6-1, 6-4
No. 3 David
Rosenfeld (UM) def. (66) Alex Lacroix (UF), 7-5, 6-2
No. 4 vs. Jeff Dadamo (UF) def. Carl Sundberg (UM) 6-0, 6-3
No. 5 Tyler Hochwalt (UF) vs. Keith Crowley (UM), 6-2, 5-5 (DNF)
No. 6 Erik Corace (UF) def. JC Whitner (UM), 6-1, 7-6 (2)
Order of Finish: Doubles – 1, 2 Singles – 4, 2, 3, 6
END OF REPORT