For the seventh-straight season, the ninth-ranked University of Florida men’s tennis team opened the NCAA draw with a win as the Gators defeated Navy, 5-0, Saturday morning at the Ring Tennis Complex in Gainesville. Florida will face the winner of today’s match between No. 19 Miami and No. 42 USF on Sunday at 1 p.m.
Florida, which is hosting the first and second rounds of the event for the first time since 2005, improved to 16-8 overall. Navy finished its season with a 20-9 overall record, capping a year in which the Midshipmen won the Patriot League championship for the second-straight year.
The shutout was the ninth for the Gators under Coach Jackson in an NCAA first or second-round match. The Gators improved to 13-0 combined in the rounds with Jackson at the helm, and have outscored opponents 53-8 over the span – giving up just one point in first round matches.
The doubles point came down to court three after Navy forced the issue with a win on court one. Florida’s Nestor Briceno and Alex Lacroix worked quick to defeat Alex James and Ramsey Lemaich on court two, 8-3. The duo improved to 16-5, winning its six match in the last seven outings in just 33 minutes.
UF’s Geoffrey Barton and Tyler Hochwalt secured the point by edging Jason Hill and Nick Birger, 8-6. The match was even at six before the Gators broke in game 13 and then held with Hochwalt serving for the win.
Singles play started with the Gators winning the first set on each court. Greg Ouellette (No. 2) made it a 2-0 match with a 6-0, 6-0 win over Nate Nelms on court one. With the win, he improved to 16-6 in dual matches this season.
Lacroix (No. 66) brought the Gators to within one of clinching when he took out Ramsey Lemaich on court three, 6-0, 6-3. The victory was his 13th this season in dual play.
The Gators got the point they were looking for and more when Hochwalt’s match finished on court five and the ball was in play on court two with Briceno (No. 52) getting the point to win his match. Hochwalt’s 6-1, 6-2 victory came against Bullard, while Briceno posted a straight set win of his own over Hill (6-2, 6-0). Briceno’s win was the 102nd of his career, which tied him for fifth on Florida’s all-time chart with Damon Henkel.
UF head coach Andy Jackson
On the match:
“All the credit goes to Navy. They really played well in the doubles and we the last couple of years where we’ve won on the road in the NCAA tournament the home team got hurt because they won on the first day easily. Even though the score was 5-0, Navy really helped us get ready for tomorrow, particularly in the doubles. Navy is a better team than some people are playing in the first round and that’s going to benefit us.”
On the play of the freshmen in the lineup:
“We’ve got five guys who had never played in the post season and there were a lot of points today where it showed. We were able to get through the first one and we’ll have to be better tomorrow because it is a huge test for us tomorrow, but we’ll be ready for it.”
On Greg Ouellette’s match:
“You could see after he lost in doubles he not only was trying to win, but he was trying to make a statement. I told the Navy player afterwards that was the most competitive match out there even though the score was lopsided. Greg really went to work in singles.”
UF senior Nestor Briceno
On the final score:
“I just wanted to get the win. That’s all I cared about. I’m sure Tyler wasn’t paying much attention to my match and he was focusing on winning as well.”
“They were extremely tough in doubles. We may have underestimated them in the doubles a little. They’ve had a great year and they need to be proud of that. After we played them in doubles the already high respect we had for them went to another level. We came out fired up in the singles and I think the score showed it”
On tomorrow’s match:
“We lost to Miami early in the season (4-3) and then we beat USF (4-3) so it should be a great match. Both those teams are really good.”
Navy head coach John Officer
On the doubles point:
“Our No. 3 team was 22-4 on the year coming into today and we have a lot of confidence in Nick and Jason. It’s a shame they couldn’t finish things today because they have all season. Our doubles play has been our strength throughout the year, and it was again today.”
“Florida just had too much firepower over us in the singles. Our guys did everything they could and kept fighting until the end.”
On the Navy program:
“I feel we are in very good shape. We only lose Alex and we have three top-100 ranked players in the country coming in. The next step for our program is to keeping winning Patriot League titles and see if we can make a little more inroads in the NCAA Tournament. We feel good about going toe-to-toe with Florida in doubles.”
NCAA College Men’s Tennis
Linder Stadium at Ring Tennis Complex
Saturday, May 10, 2008
Final Score: Florida 5, Navy 0
No. 1 Owen Bullard-Alex James (Navy) def. (30) Jeff Dadamo-Greg Ouellette (UF), 8-5
No. 2 Nestor Briceno-Alex Lacroix (UF) def. Alex James-Ramsey Lemaich (Navy), 8-3
No. 3 Tyler Hochwalt-Geoffrey Barton (UF) def. Jason Hill-Nick Birger (Navy), 8-6
No. 1 (2) Greg Ouellette (UF) def. Nate Nelms (NAVY), 6-0, 6-0
No. 2 (52) Nestor Briceno (UF) def. Jason Hill (NAVY), 6-2, 6-0
No. 3 (66) Alex Lacroix (UF) def. Ramsey Lemaich (NAVY), 6-0, 6-3
No. 4 Jeff Dadamo (UF) vs. Alex James (NAVY), 6-2, 4-1 DNF
No. 5 Tyler Hochwalt (UF) def. Owen Bullard (NAVY), 6-1, 6-2
No. 6 Erik Corace (UF) vs. Joe Wiggins (NAVY), 6-2, 5-2 DNF
Order of Finish: Doubles – 2, 1, 3 Singles – 1, 3, 5, 2
UF Sports Info