The Florida men’s tennis team lost 4-2 on Saturday afternoon in the 2013 Southeastern Conference Tournament semifinals to No. 7-ranked Tennessee. With the loss, the Gators will enter NCAA play with a 15-10 record.
“I thought Tennessee played really well today,” said head coach Bryan Shelton. “They came out in the doubles, and they just executed a lot better than we did. I thought that made a big difference in the match how they came out playing so well from the very start, and got us on our heels. But we did a good job of competing and staying after it. I thought our guys competed until the last ball was struck, but they just played a little bit better than us today. My hat is off to them.”
Tennessee took an early lead after winning the doubles point. Florida actually won the first doubles match on court three, when Mike Alford and Luke Johnson beat Taylor Patrick and Jarryd Chaplin 8-6. The Vols then finished off the other two matches to take a 1-0 lead in the match.
In singles, Tennessee’s Mikelis LIbietis, ranked third in the nation, beat Stephane Piro 6-2, 6-4 to push the advantage to 2-0. Gordon Watson got the Gators on the board with a 7-5, 6-1 win over Patrick on court six. Florida then tied the match when Bob van Overbeek beat Chaplin in three sets at No. 3 singles.
The Vols earned the win after No. 34 Hunter Reese beat Florent Diep 7-6 (5), 6-3 and Ed Jones finished off Billy Federhofer 7-5, 6-4.
Florida will now have a few weeks off while waiting for the 2013 NCAA Tournament to begin May 10-12 with the first and second rounds.
2013 SEC MEN’S TENNIS CHAMPIONSHIP
#4 Florida vs. #2 Tennessee
April 20, 2013 at Oxford, Miss.
(Palmer/Salloum Tennis Center)
#7 Tennessee 4, #14 Florida 2
1. #3 Mikelis Libietis/Hunter Reese (UT) def. #37 Stephane Piro/Bob van Overbeek (UF), 8-4
2. #47 John Collins/Ed Jones (UT) def. #40 Gordon Watson/Billy Federhofer (UF), 8-3
3. Michael Alford/Luke Johnson (UF) def. Taylor Patrick/Jarryd Chaplin (UT), 8-6
1. #3 Mikelis Libietis (UT) def. #68 Stephane Piro (UF), 6-2, 6-4
2. #34 Hunter Reese (UT) def. #88 Florent Diep (UF), 7-6 (7-5), 6-3
3. #113 Bob van Overbeek (UF) def. Jarryd Chaplin (UT), 6-0, 4-6, 6-1
4. John Collins (UT) vs. Michael Alford (UF), 6-3, 3-6, 3-5, unfinished
5. Ed Jones (UT) def. Billy Federhofer (UF), 7-5, 6-4
6. Gordon Watson (UF) def. Taylor Patrick (UT), 7-5, 6-1
Florida 15-10; National ranking #14
Tennessee 23-7; National ranking #7
Order of finish: Doubles (3,2,1); Singles (1,6,3,2,5)
Tennessee advances to Sunday's Championship match.