Thursday March 13, 2014No. 17 Florida Men's Tennis to Host No. 14 Tennessee and No. 16 Georgia
Fresh off an exciting come-from-behind victory over South Carolina on Sunday, the No. 17 Florida men’s tennis team takes on two solid SEC East opponents this weekend at Linder Stadium at the Ring Tennis Complex: No. 14 Tennessee on Friday at 5 p.m. and No. 16 Georgia Sunday at 1 p.m.
The Gators faced the Volunteers twice last year, taking the first matchup in Knoxville, 4-3, but dropping the final one at the SEC Tournament. UF pulled the upset over then-No. 4 UGA earlier this season at the 2014 ITA National Indoors in Houston. Florida sophomore Gordon Watson clinched the match by winning a tiebreaker over Georgia’s Nick Wood at No. 3 singles.
SEC East Showdown: Tennessee and Georgia are the only two conference opponents to finish the 2013 season ahead of Florida. The Bulldogs finished on top with a dominate 11-1 record, followed by the Vols who went 8-4. The Gators ended the SEC tied for third place with a 7-5 record.
Shelton Says: “We know that tomorrow night, Tennessee is a quality opponent. We’re going to have our hands full again. We know them very well and they know us, too. One thing I know about [UT’s head coach] Sam [Winterbotham] over at Tennessee is that he’ll have his guys ready to play hard. They’re a scrappy team and a very opportunistic team, so for our guys, we’re going to have to play aggressive tennis – kind of first-strike tennis. We know we’re going to have to go out there and play to win because they’re not going to give it to us.”
“Georgia is tough any way you slice it. They’ve got a great program. [UGA’s head coach] Manny [Diaz] does a good job of getting those guys ready to compete, as well. We know them and we know what to expect. They’re strong at the top of the lineup and their strong at the bottom of the lineup, so there are no real holes in their offense. But for our guys, it’s us executing, it’s us competing, it’s us doing the things that we can control and doing those things really well out there on the court.”
Tough Competition: While the Gators currently own a 6-5 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. 4 Southern Cal, No. 8 Notre Dame and No. 9 Texas A&M.
Nationally Ranked Gators: Three Florida singles players are ranked nationally: No. 82 freshman Elliott Orkin, No. 85 senior Spencer Newman and newly-ranked No. 106 sophomore Gordon Watson. Orkin and Watson represent the top Gators in duo as No. 11 in the nation, senior pair Mike Alford and Piro rank 14th as Florent Diep and Piro take the No. 54 spot in the doubles rankings.
Follow the Gators: Live scoring will be available through GatorZone. Follow tomorrow’s match vs. Tennessee here.