The Florida Gators men’s tennis team (23-2) will play Texas A&M (19-8) in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Men’s Tennis Tournament. The Gators have already played and defeated the Aggies twice this season and associate head coach Tanner Stump said the Gators are coming into this contest with confidence.
Will history repeat itself against the Aggies?
Their first meeting was in College Station on Feb. 28 with the Gators coming out on top 5-2. Their second victory was 4-3 over TAMU in the semifinals of the SEC Tournament in April in Fayetteville.
But can their past victories provide an edge in Thursday’s contest? Stump says it certainly gives them confidence going in knowing they have already beaten this team.
Throwing out the ideas of advantages or disadvantages, Stump says they plan to treat the Aggies as being just the next opponent.
“It’s nice to have those wins in our back pocket and the confidence, but we’re expecting a new match and we’ll be prepared for it as such,” said Stump.
Stump on facing Illinois
The Gators are coming off a big lead in the tournament. They downed Illinois 4-0 to advance to Thursday night’s match.
Florida has completely dominated in tournament play, winning their total games by a score of 12-1 and earning two sweeps.
- Duarte Vale/Johannes Ingildsen (UF) over Zeke Clark/Alex Brown (ILL) 6-4
- Sam Riffice/Ben Shelton (UF) over Siphosothando Montsi/Noe Khlif (ILL) 6-3
- Hunter Heck/Aleks Kovacevic (ILL) over Brian Berdusco/Will Grant (UF) 6-4
- Duarte Vale (UF) vs Aleks Kovacevic (ILL), 4-6, 6-3, 1-3, unfinished
- Sam Riffice (UF) vs Siphosothando Montsi (ILL), 7-6 (9-7), 2-3, unfinished
- Andy Andrade (UF) won over Alex Brown (ILL) 6-2, 6-3
- Blaise Bicknell (UF) won over Zeke Clark (ILL) 6-3, 6-3
- Ben Shelton (UF) vs Hunter Heck (ILL) 4-6, 6-2, 3-2, unfinished
- Josh Goodger (UF) won over Noe Khlif (ILL) 6-1, 6-3
Stump on keys in NCAA Tournament
He says he believes the team is starting to hit their peak, especially with the maturing in captains Raffice and Dale. Instead of focusing on being the number one team in the country, the Gator captains are paying closer attention to the race to the finish. He says the team has been keeping the confidence within their own locker room.
The No.1 seeded Gators look to earn a spot in the semifinals as they take the court at 7:30 p.m. Thursday to face N0. 8 Texas A&M. According to Stump, the biggest key for the Gators will be keeping their confidence.