Thursday March 28, 2013Men's Tennis Hosts LSU on Friday; Arkansas on Sunday
The Florida men’s tennis team finally gets to play in the comforts of its home facility this weekend after being on the road for the past three weekends. On Friday, the Gators host LSU at 5 p.m. at Linder Stadium at Ring Tennis Complex, and on Sunday Arkansas will travel to Gainesville to play UF at 1 p.m.
Florida (9-7, 3-3 Southeastern Conference) went 2-3 in its past five matches, all league matches on the road. LSU (8-7, 2-4 SEC) enters the weekend on a two-match win streak, while Arkansas (12-10, 0-7 SEC) is winless in conference play.
“I think LSU is like most of the team’s in this league,” said head coach Bryan Shelton. “They’re a quality team and it’s a quality program. I’ve known Jeff Brown for a long time. We grew up playing together. He was a very good player and he’s a great coach, so I know we’ll face a tough opponent tomorrow.”
The Gators have seen a little bit of everything over the past month. After a rough trip to Seattle for the ITA National Indoors, UF split 4-3 decisions with No. 20 Baylor and No. 11 Texas A&M, losing to the Bears and beating the Aggies at home. In the midst of its five-match road trip, Florida beat a top-10 Tennessee team, but also lost two 4-0 decisions.
“It’s been topsy-turvy a little bit,” said Coach Shelton. “We haven’t seemed to do very well after we accomplished something good. We beat Texas A&M, then followed that up with a loss in our next match at South Carolina on the road. We beat Tennessee and beat Alabama and feel like we’re starting to gain some momentum, then we get punched in the mouth at Auburn.”
This weekend the Gators will look to right the ship and move above .500 in conference play. After winning 4-1 at Alabama last Friday, Florida lost 4-0 at Auburn on Sunday afternoon. In Tuscaloosa, the Gators won the doubles point to get an early lead, then used singles wins from Stephane Piro, Bob van Overbeek and Gordon Watson to win the match.
LSU is coming off a big weekend after taking down No. 7 Ole Miss, 4-3, last Friday and sweeping Nicholls State 7-0 on Sunday. Senior Mark Bowtell came through for LSU with a big win in doubles to secure the doubles point for the Tigers and then battled back in singles after losing his first set to win the final two sets and clinch the 4-3 victory for LSU.
Arkansas continued its tough conference play this weekend hosting No.12 Mississippi State and No.7 Ole Miss. The Razorbacks came out strong in both matches taking the doubles point and the early lead over both Mississippi schools. Senior's Mike Ward and Gregoire Lehmann collected two solid doubles wins this weekend including a win over the #40-ranked doubles in the country. The Razorbacks could just not hold on in singles play against both the Bulldogs and the Rebels and ended up dropping both matches, 4-1.
“We’ve got to recognize that we have to be ready to go every match, or else you’re going to take a loss in this conference,” Coach Shelton said. “Auburn, even though they weren’t ranked as high, played us as tough as anyone else has. We’ve got to be ready to play and we’ve got to be consistent with our intensity and consistent with our preparation and go out there and battle like we’ve got something to prove every single match, because we really do.”
Live scoring for both matches will be available on GatorZone.com and full results will be posted after the completion of each match.