Ben Shelton helps Florida gain their 10th sweep of the season over Miami allowing the Gators to advance to the Sweet Sixteen. Photo courtesy of Floridagators.com (UAA Photo/Ashley Ray)

No. 2 Florida Hosts No. 15 North Carolina in Super Regionals

The No. 2 Florida Gators men’s tennis team will host the No. 15 North Carolina Tar Heels in the Super Regional on Friday, May 13 at 5 p.m. at the Ring Tennis Complex. The Tar Heels are 18-8 overall and 9-3 in the ACC, while the Gators are 23-2 and 12-0 SEC. 

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The Gators previously defeated New Orleans and Miami in the first and second rounds of the NCAA Tournament with a 4-0 final score in both matches. After sweeping both the Privateers and Hurricanes, the Gators join Virginia, TCU, Michigan, Ohio State, and Texas as the six seeded teams to manage sweeps of both opponents in the first and second rounds.

A Look at the Gators

During the first two rounds, three Gators remained undefeated. Sam Riffice and Duarte Vale each won two singles and doubles matches for Florida. In addition, Josh Goodger clinched the two matches for the Gators while winning both of his singles matches. 

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However, the talent on Florida’s roster does not stop there. The Gators have five players ranked for singles and three teams ranked for doubles. Sitting at No.2 is Ben Shelton, followed by Riffice at No. 28, Vale at No. 115, Andy Andrade at No. 117, and Goodger at No. 119. For doubles, Riffice and Shelton check in at No.5, Andrade and Mattias Siimar sit at No. 65, and Siimar and Abedallah Shelbayh are at No. 59.

Additionally, Riffice and Shelton qualified for the NCAA Individual Championships. The two Gators will compete in both singles and doubles. Shelton enters as the overall No.1 seed in singles.

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A Look at the Tar Heels

The Gators and Tar Heels have played each other a total of 19 times in program history. Florida leads with a 14-5 record. The teams have not met since 2020 when the Gators fell 4-0. 

In their last 10 matches, North Carolina has gone 8-2. During the ACC Tournament Championship, the Tar Heels gave up losses to No. 8 Wake Forest, 4-1, and No. 7 Virginia, 4-3. 

No.15 UNC hosted the Chapel Hill Regional last weekend where they won 4-1 against both Navy and No. 16 Arizona. The Tar Heels scored wins over South Carolina, Miami, Florida State, Louisville, NC State, and Notre Dame. The Tar Heels have also lost to Virginia, Duke, Wake Forest, Columbia, and Illinois.

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UNC has fewer players ranked than the Gators with just one player ranked in singles and a single pair ranked in doubles. Brian Cernoch sits at No. 33 in the ITA singles rankings, while Cernoch and Mac Kiger are ranked No. 16 in doubles. Cernoch and Kiger also qualify for the NCAA Individual Championships.

North Carolina in the Rankings

  • Singles
    No. 33 Brian Cernoch
  • Doubles
    No. 16 Brian Cernoch/Mac Kiger

Gators in the Rankings

  • Singles
    No. 2 Ben Shelton
    No. 28 Sam Riffice
    No. 115 Duarte Vale
    No. 117 Andy Andrade
    No. 119 Josh Goodger
  • Doubles
    No. 5 Sam Riffice/Ben Shelton
    No. 59 Abedallah Shelbayh/Mattias Siimar
    No. 65 Andy Andrade/Mattias Siimar

About Ellie Shreve

Ellie is a second-year sports and media journalism major at the University of Florida.

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