Thursday May 12, 2011Men's Tennis Prepares for NCAA Regionals; Lacroix, Bangoura Earn ITA Southeast Region Honors
The Florida men’s tennis team opens NCAA Regional action on Friday at Linder Stadium, facing South Carolina State at 1 p.m. The Gators hold the No. 7 overall seed in the field of 64 and are looking to reach the Round of 16 for the ninth time in 10 seasons under head coach Andy Jackson. The winner of Friday’s match faces Miami (Fla.) or Nebraska on Saturday at 3 p.m. with a trip to this year’s finals site, Stanford University, at stake.
“We’re very excited to host an NCAA Regional,” said Jackson. “It was one of our goals at the beginning of the year, and it’s something we feel like we’ve earned. South Carolina State has an extremely good overall record and won their conference, so I’m sure that they have confidence. The other two teams that are in the regional, Nebraska and Miami, are very feisty teams. We saw a lot of Nebraska in the fall, and we of course know a lot about Miami. We’ve had three weeks to prepare, and we’re eager to play the NCAA Tournament.”
Florida is in the NCAA Tournament for the 21st consecutive season, holding a 37-20 all-time record in the event. The Gators have reached the national semifinals twice, in 2000 and 2005, which marks the team’s best finish. This is the fourth straight year that the Gators have hosted a regional, and they face South Carolina State in the first round for the second year in a row.
In addition, the Intercollegiate Tennis Association recognized senior Alexandre Lacroix (Paris, France) and sophomore Sekou Bangoura Jr. (Bradenton, Fla.) on Thursday with the announcement of the ITA regional awards. Lacroix garnered Southeast Region Senior of the Year honors, while Bangoura was named the Southeast Region Player to Watch.
The awards add to a list of accomplishments for the pair, who have already been named first-team All-SEC and will compete in both the NCAA singles and doubles championships following the team championships. The ITA national rankings currently show Lacroix at No. 7 and Bangoura at No. 40 in singles, and the duo holds the No. 17 position in the doubles rankings.
Lacroix is Florida’s only senior this season and has played every dual match at the No. 1 position in both singles and doubles for the past two seasons, leading UF to a 39-13 record in that time. He helped spearhead the Gators’ run to the SEC Tournament championship in April, earning tournament MVP honors. Lacroix holds a 17-7 record at the No. 1 singles position this spring, and Florida is 15-2 when he wins. The Frenchman is Florida’s career doubles wins record holder (99) and also ranks second in overall wins (206) and fifth in singles victories (107).
Bangoura has compiled a 29-12 record during the 2010-11 season, including 15-8 in dual matches, where he has played primarily at the No. 2 position. He reached a career-best singles ranking this season and has put together a 53-16 record in just three semesters on campus. He has a 16-12 doubles record this season and has played at No. 1 doubles for the majority of UF’s dual matches. He has played in multiple doubles matches with three different partners and scored a win over a currently-ranked pair with all three, including top-10 wins with two of those partners. Bangoura is the second straight Gator to take home this award, as Lacroix claimed it in 2010.
NCAA ticket information is available here: http://www.gatorzone.com/tennis/tour/ncaa/2011/?p=tickets.
A complete listing of ITA regional awards is available here: http://www.itatennis.com/AwardsAndRankings/Archives/2011_Award_Archives/2011_Division_I_ITA_Awards.htm
Men’s Gainesville NCAA Regional Schedule
Friday, May 13
10 a.m. – Miami (Fla.) vs. Nebraska
1 p.m. – Florida vs. South Carolina State
Saturday, May 14
3 p.m. – Second Round Match (Friday’s winners)