Florida men’s tennis advances to Sweet 16, Lacroix becomes all-time wins leader
Despite playing his last match at Linder Stadium on Sunday, Alexandre Lacroix was not trying to take a look back on his career.
With wins in doubles and singles, the senior became the all-time overall wins leader in UF history, tying the mark in doubles on Saturday before breaking the record with win No. 209 on Sunday. The former record of 208 was held by Justin O’Neal, who lettered from 1997-2000.
“I knew it was my last match here at Florida so there was a lot of emotion there,” Lacroix said. “I’m not trying to process right now, but obviously I spent four years here at Florida, and we are at the Sweet 16. I think we can go far. These four years have been good for my game.”
The Florida men’s tennis team completed a 4-0 sweep of Miami (FL) in the second-round NCAA Tournament action and will travel to Stanford, Calif., and will face 10th-seeded Kentucky in the Round of 16 on Thursday at 3 p.m.
The Gators and Wildcats split their two previous meetings this season, both in Gainesville. UK defeated Florida, 4-3, in the regular season on April 1, while Florida claimed a 4-0 victory in the SEC Tournament championship on April 24.
“We are really excited to have the big privilege to go to Stanford, making the Sweet 16, beating one of our biggest rivals,” head coach Andy Jackson said. “We are very excited about the way things went today. The same thing that I told my team after the match was over, there’s only one other thing that’s more exciting in college tennis than getting to go to the Sweet 16 in men’s tennis and that’s to be able to go to the Sweet 16 with a team that has a chance. We believe the tournament is wide open. We believe that we have a chance.”
The Gators (20-8) have now advanced to the Round of 16 for the ninth time in 10 seasons under Jackson. Florida also reached 20 wins for the 15th time in program history and the fourth under Jackson. UF has also won 20-plus matches for the second straight season (21-5 in 2010), the fourth time Florida has earned back-to-back 20-win seasons.
Despite the long delay on Saturday thanks to rain delays, Florida looked sharp claiming the doubles point in 47 minutes.
Sophomore Billy Federhofer and junior Nassim Slilam downed Christian Blocker and Waylon Chin on court two, 8-2.
UF’s 17th-ranked duo of Lacroix and sophomore Sekou Bangoura Jr. then defeated Omar Aly and Keith Crowley by an identical 8-2 margin on court one to secure a 1-0 Florida lead.
Lacroix then pushed Florida to a 3-0 lead with his record-setting 6-1, 6-1 court one victory over Keith Crowley. Crowley saved multiple match points before netting Lacroix’s serve to end the match.
Freshman Spencer Newman then scored the clinching point for Florida on court six with a 6-0, 6-4 win against Pedro Ast. Newman now has a career-best four-match winning streak.
“He’s playing better, he’s getting more confidence and I’m not trying to put pressure on him but I do believe that in terms of the level he’s playing at, he’s just scratching the surface of where he can go,” Jackson said of Newman. “But it’s not something that is going to be a light-switch solution. It’s going to take years of which he’s got a very good start, three or four months into it. I’m very excited for him in the future.”
#8 Florida 4, #27 Miami 0
NCAA Second Round
Linder Stadium at Ring Tennis Complex
1 – *#17 Bangoura/Lacroix (UF) def. Aly/Crowley (UM) 8-2 (:47)
2 – Federhofer/Slilam (UF) def. Blocker/Chin (UM) 8-2 (:40)
3 – Ast/Pavia (UM) led Butz/van Overbeek (UF) 7-6 (DNF)
Order of Finish: 2-1
1 – #7 Alexandre Lacroix (UF) def. Keith Crowley (UM) 6-1, 6-1 (1:20)
2 – #89 Nassim Slilam (UF) def. Christian Blocker (UM) 6-2, 6-2 (1:11)
3 – #40 Sekou Bangoura Jr. (UF) vs. Eduardo Pavia (UM) 6-3, 1-6 (DNF)
4 – Gabriel Flores (UM) led #118 Bob van Overbeek (UF) 7-6(3), 3-4 (DNF)
5 – Billy Federhofer (UF) led Diego Soto (UM) 6-3, 4-5 (DNF)
6 – *Spencer Newman (UF) def. Pedro Ast (UM) 6-0, 6-4 (1:28)
Order of Finish: 2-1-6
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