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The Gators' season came to an end Friday in a tight loss to Ohio State.

Saturday May 17, 2014Gators Give It All But Fall To No. 3 Ohio State In NCAA Round of 16

Athens, Ga.

The Gators' season came to an end Friday in a tight loss to Ohio State.

Although the 2014 season is over for the Florida men’s tennis team, they have much to look forward to.

 

“A lot of positive things are happening to this young group moving forward,” said Bryan Shelton, who made his first appearance in the NCAA Round of 16 as the head of the program. “We’re just going to keep working and keep trying to put ourselves in the position to win matches like this tonight and eventually win championships.”

 

As the true underdog coming into tonight’s NCAA Round of 16 match in Athens, Georgia, the No. 14 Gators gave No. 3 Buckeyes all they could handle. Nearing midnight at Henry Feild Stadium at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex, UF eventually fell to OSU, 4-3, to end the 2013-14 season at 17-10.

 

The Buckeyes came out hot, winning the doubles point convincingly on with victories on courts one and two.

 

The match was far from over as Florida proved themselves quickly, taking three of the first sets in singles play. Maxx Lipman and Diego Hidalgo defeated their respective Ohio State opponents in two sets. A Florida loss at No. 5 singles evened the score at 2. Gordon Watson then lifted the Gators within one point of a NCAA Quarterfinals appearance with a win at No. 2.

 

It all came down to court six, where senior Mike Alford overcame a first-set loss and forced a third set against OSU’s Kevin Metka. Alford led early in the final set, but Metka rebounded to force a tiebreaker. The competition was tight, but Metka eventually clinched the match for OSU and the Buckeyes grabbed the 4-3 victory.

 

Head Coach Bryan Shelton
“It was a great match. Ohio State, you have to give them a lot of credit. They hung in there. We went up 3-2, but we knew it was going to come down to No. 6. Their guy [Ohio State’s Kevin Metka] just kept coming up with one big volley after another throughout that third set. He’s tough and he’s got a big heart. We matched heart against heart tonight, because Mike was just so tough out there. I’m so proud of Mike. What a way to go out in his senior year. In my mind, it’s a positive way to go out. He didn’t get the win, but man, it’ll be an experience he’ll never forget.”

 

“We’re getting better. We’re putting in a lot of hard work. Our guys are committed to taking this program to a higher level and this year we took some positive steps. Mark Merklein, our assistant coach, came in and has done a phenomenal job of getting these guys fit and stronger, both physically and mentally. Coach Perelman has done an amazing job, as well, day-in and day-out of just motivating these guys to the point where they love what they’re doing. A lot of positive things are happening to this young group moving forward. We’re just going to keep working and keep trying to put ourselves in the position to win matches like this tonight and eventually win championships.”

 

No. 3 Ohio State 4, No. 14 Florida 3

DOUBLES

(1) No. 24 Peter Kobelt/Ralf Steinbach (OSU) def. No. 20 Florent Diep/Gordon Watson (UF) 8-3*

(2) Herkko Pollanen/Kevin Metka (OSU) def. Maxx Lipman/Elliott Orkin (UF) 8-4

(3) Mike Alford/Diego Hidalgo (UF) vs. Chris Diaz/Hunter Callahan (OSU) 7-6, unfinished

Ohio State wins doubles point.

Order of finish: 2, 1*

 

SINGLES

(1) No. 11 Peter Kobelt (OSU) def. No. 51 Florent Diep (UF) 6-4, 7-6 (3)

(2) No. 108 Gordon Watson (UF) def. No. 109 Herkko Pollanen (OSU) 7-5, 6-2

(3) Maxx Lipman (UF) def. No. 101 Ralf Steinbach (OSU) 6-4, 7-6 (5)

(4) Diego Hidalgo (UF) def. Chris Diaz (OSU) 6-2, 6-2

(5)Hunter Callahan (OSU) def. No. 98 Elliott Orkin (UF) 6-2, 7-5

(6) Kevin Metka (OSU) def. Mike Alford (UF) 6-3, 5-7, 7-6 (8)*

Order of finish: 3, 5, 4, 2, 1, 6*

 

Records: Florida 17-10, Ohio State 33-3

 

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