Thursday February 16, 2012Men's Tennis Set for ITA National Indoors in Charlottesville
The Florida menís tennis team will continue play in the 2012 ITA National Menís Team Indoor Championship this weekend, taking on No. 12 Pepperdine in the Round of 16 on Friday. The event is hosted by the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, Va.
The event features 14 of the top 16 teams in the latest ITA rankings. In January, 16 schools hosted four-team play-in tournaments to earn a berth in the national tournament.
On the last weekend of January, the Gators hosted Miami (Fla.), New Mexico and Wake Forest as part of the ITA Kickoff Weekend. After beating the Lobos, 7-0, on Saturday, Florida advanced to the ITA National Indoors with a 6-1 win over the Demon Deacons on Sunday.
Pepperdine also hosted the first two rounds of the ITA Kickoff Weekend, beating Cal Poly, 4-0, and Vanderbilt, 7-0, to advance to the Charlottesville.
Florida and Pepperdine have faced each other six times in the past, with the Waves holding a 4-2 series edge. UF has lost three straight against the , including a 4-0 loss in the 2006 NCAA Tournament, the year the Waves went on to win the national title. In their last meeting in 2008, Pepperdine won a close 4-3 decision in Gainesville.
Florida holds a 5-1 record on the season and has won two in a row. Despite playing in several close matches, all six results have been decided by final scores of 6-1 or 7-0. The Gatorsí lone loss was a 6-1 defeat on the road at No. 2 Virginia. UF scored its biggest win of the season to date on the road at then-No. 5 Baylor, 6-1.
Pepperdine is extremely battle tested this season. The Waves have a 3-4 record, but all four losses came on the road against top 10 opponents. After opening the season with three wins, Pepperdine lost consecutive matches at No. 3 Ohio State (4-1 score), at No. 6 Kentucky (4-2), at No. 1 USC (6-1) and at No. 8 UCLA (4-3).
The winner of Fridayís match between Florida and Pepperdine will advance to the Quarterfinals and play the winner between No. 4 Georgia and No. 13 California.