The number one ranked Gator men’s tennis team suffers its first loss of the season 5-2 to the defending national champion and number two ranked Texas Longhorns on Wednesday in Gainesville. This was the Longhorns’ first win of the season. The match up saw one of the largest crowds in Florida men’s tennis history with over 700 in attendance.
On court three, junior Duarte Vale and Josh Goodger brought in the first doubles win for the Gators to give them an early lead. The doubles action was very similar to the match up in the NCAA semifinals. There were tight matches on all three courts. Florida had success in doubles with wins on courts two and three.
As the match shifted to singles, Texas ran away with it. Duarte Vale got off to a 5-2 lead over Siem Woldeab on court three. But, Woldeab came roaring back to win 7-5. Sam Riffice would face off against Christian Sigsgaard in No. 2 singles. Sigsgaard would take straight sets 6-1, 6-4, to help Texas pull further ahead.
Freshman Blaise Bicknell was the only Gator to pick up a singles win in the match. Bicknell fell into a 5-0 deficit but rallied to win 7-5. The Gator men’s tennis Twitter page didn’t resist show off some excitement.
With the score of the match sitting at 3-2, Gators hopes remained alive, but not for long.
Florida’s Andy Andrade took the first set against Eliot Spizzirri 6-4, but Spizzirri took the next two 7-6 and 6-2 to seal the win.
Gator Oliver Crawford played on court one and like many of his teammates won the first set, but dropped the next two giving Texas the win. The Longhorns stormed the court to celebrate the victory.
The Gators fall to 2-1 on the season. Following the match. Florida head coach Bryan Shelton said he saw this a learning experience and knows the Gators will bounce back.
“We just talk about the things we need to talk about so that we make sure that we learn,” Shelton said, “The guys that played the matches that didn’t come through or didn’t have their play as where they wanted to be. Those guys have to learn from it and figure out what they need to do differently next time so you look forward to that next opportunity that you have when you’re up 5-2, or up 5-3, or up 4-2 and you have a different mindset.”
The Gators return to action on Sunday for a home doubleheader against UCF and Stetson.