Saturday March 8, 2014Florida Men's Tennis Hosts South Carolina in First SEC Home Match
Looking to even their conference record at home, the Florida men’s tennis team will face SEC-East rival South Carolina Sunday at 1 p.m. at Ring Tennis Complex.
The Gators went 1-1 against the Gamecocks last season. UF dropped the first matchup, 4-3, in Columbia, S.C., but came back with a dominate 4-0 shutout in the 2013 SEC Tournament in Oxford, Miss. Senior Mike Alford played a key role in the SEC-Tournament win and clinched the match at No. 4 singles 6-2, 6-4 over USC’s Kyle Koch.
SEC Showdown: The Gators and the Gamecocks finished 7-5 in the SEC in 2013, sharing the third spot in the conference. Both teams enter Sunday’s match 0-1 in the SEC – UF and USC both suffered their first conference loss this season to Texas A&M.
Shelton Says: “From our guys, I think we’re going to be well prepared. We’ve been getting good practices in this week and we’ve focused in on both singles and doubles. I expect us to come out and play really well on Sunday. South Carolina is a team that we know very well, having played them twice last season, and [USC’s head coach] Josh Goffi does a great job with those guys getting them ready to play. We know each other’s tendencies, so we’ll have a good game plan and the match will come down to us executing ours well.”
Tough Competition: While the Gators currently own a 5-5 record on the year, all five losses have come to teams ranked in the top-10 nationally: No. 1 Ohio State, No. 3 UCLA, No. 5 Southern Cal, No. 8 Texas A&M and No. 9 Notre Dame.
Nationally Ranked Gators: Two Florida singles players are ranked nationally, led by No. 62 freshman Elliott Orkin alongside No. 65 senior Spencer Newman. Orkin and sophomore Gordon Watson represent the Gators in doubles as No. 9 in the nation, senior duo Alford and Piro rank 26th as Diep and Piro are tied for the No. 46 spot in the doubles rankings.
Follow the Gators: Live scoring will be available through GatorZone here.