With just three regular season matches left before postseason play begins, the Florida Gators men’s tennis team definitely has tournament time on their minds.
The Gators, currently ranked number 11 in the country, are 12-7 overall and 5-3 in conference action. They have matches remaining at Arkansas and LSU, then will come home to play South Carolina for the final match of the regular season.
Even with seven losses on the season, Gators head coach Andy Jackson says he wouldn’t change a thing about the schedule, because playing the best competition in the country has prepared them for the postseason, which was exactly what he wanted.
This season the Gators have gone up against some of the top ranked teams in the country, including number one ranked University of Southern California, along with Virginia, Georgia, Duke, Kentucky, and Pepperdine who are all currently ranked in the top ten.
Junior Tripper Carleton thrives to play against the highest competition, and says he agrees with having the tough schedule and thinks it is beneficial to the team in the long run.
Florida will look to improve upon what they did last season, when they won the SEC Tournament and advanced to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament. The Gators fell to SEC East opponent Kentucky in the round of 16, after beating them weeks earlier to win the SEC title.
Despite the disappointing end to the season, Jackson says the ultimate goal for this season still stays the same, regardless of what happened last year.
However, there is at least one member on the team is going into the end of the season with a different mindset.
Carleton is playing his first season with the Gators, after spending his first two years at Wake Forest. He says he will go into the postseason with a different thought process than in previous years.
After the final three regular season matches the Gators will begin their postseason play, beginning with the SEC Tournament on April 19th in Starkville.