Thursday May 7, 2009Men's Tennis Prepares For 19th-Consecutive NCAA Tournament Appearance
The University of Florida’s No. 10-ranked men’s tennis team will take on Marist College in the first round of NCAA Tournament play at 4 p.m. on Friday at Linder Stadium at Ring Tennis Complex, marking the 19th-consecutive year the Gators have been a part of the championship tournament.
“We’re excited to get underway,” said head coach Andy Jackson. “Marist won their league, and we know they present a good challenge for us. They’re playing with nothing to lose. We’re going to get their best shot, so we have to be ready.”
The Gators enter the weekend with a 17-8 record (8-5 SEC), including 10-1 at home this year.
UF is led by SEC Freshman of the Year Carlos Cueto (Santa Cruz de Tenerife, Spain), who is 10-8 at the No. 1 position in dual match play this season. Cueto and sophomore Alex Lacroix (Paris, France) earned first-team All-SEC honors in 2009. Lacroix compiled an 18-6 mark in dual matches, and Cueto and Lacroix teamed up to go 21-2 in doubles action.
Junior Antoine Benneteau (Boulogne-Billancourt, France), a second-team All-SEC honoree, and freshman Joey Burkhardt (St. Augustine) make up the 16th-ranked doubles pairing in the country, playing in the No. 1 position for the Gators.
Sophomores Jeff Dadamo (Tampa) and Johnny Hamui (Wesley Chapel) round out the expected lineup for the Gators. Dadamo has recorded 20 singles wins in dual matches, while Hamui has gone 6-2 over the past eight contests.
Marist brings a 12-3 record (5-1 MAAC) into Gainesville after scoring a 5-2 victory over Fairfield in the league championship. The Red Foxes’ run through the MAAC Tournament was led by Loic Sessagesimi, who was named the tournament’s Most Outstanding Performer.
The Gators have posted a 34-18 record all-time in NCAA Tournament action, including 17-7 under Jackson. In seven first-round matches with Jackson at the helm, UF has dropped just one point. The Orange and Blue have advanced through regional play every year in that time span, five times as host.
The Florida-Marist showdown will be immediately preceded by No. 22 Miami (Fla.) vs. No. 53 Columbia at 1 p.m. Miami holds a 14-8 record (9-2 ACC) while Ivy League champion Columbia checks in at 16-5 (6-1 Ivy League). The winners from Friday’s action will square off at 4 p.m. on Saturday with a trip to the Round of 16 in College Station, Texas, on May 14 at stake.
For all the latest information, including live scoring, as well as recaps and quotes from the coaches following each match, log on to www.gatorzone.com/tennis/tour/ncaa/2009/.
Tickets are available at the door or for pre-order by visiting www.gatorzone.com/tickets.