UF king and queen of SEC courts
Published: Sunday, April 24, 2016 at 6:01 p.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, April 24, 2016 at 6:01 p.m.
Florida's tennis programs captured SEC Tournament titles at two different sites Sunday, but over the same school and by the same score.
The UF men defeated Georgia 4-2 in the final at the Carolina Tennis Complex in Columbia, S.C.
About less than an hour later in Baton Rouge, La., the UF women added the league's tournament title to the regular season one it already owned, beating Georgia 4-2.
Men: The No. 11 Gators (18-6) brought home the program's fifth SEC championship and the first one under coach Bryan Shelton.
"I couldn't be prouder of this group of guys," Shelton said. "We prepared all season long for this moment -- to be in the finals, to fight for a conference championship. With every loss, with every win, with every practice. Our mantra all season long has become 'do what we do and be where we are'. Every day, our guys show up ready to work and ready to get better.
"I'm just really proud of our guys for sticking together this season, for bringing that enthusiasm to practice every day, and just becoming who they are while continuing to believe in themselves."
In outlasting the regular-season champions, the Gators are the first SEC team to take down the No. 6 Bulldogs (20-4) this season.
In doubles, the pairing of juniors Maxx Lipman-Elliot Orkin scored a 6-3 win to get things started. Chase Perez-Blanco-Alfredo Perez followed with a 6-4 win for a 1-0 lead.
In singles, Perez came through to open things up with 6-3 wins in straight sets. Perez-Blanco earned UF's third point with a 6-2, 7-6 win. Senior Gordon Watson brought home the match-clinching win on a three-set victory over Georgia's Nick Wood.
The Gators will return to action at the NCAA Tournament scheduled from May 13-25.
Women: No. 3 UF clinched the program's 20th SEC Tournament title with the win over No. 4 Georgia (20-4). The Gators (21-2) have now won 16 matches in a row.
"I think the key thing for our players is to feel like they are getting better," UF coach Roland Thornqvist said. "We are getting fitter. The little things that we work on week in and week out seem to prevail. That is probably the most important thing. We want to be able to tell our players and have our players feel like they have done all the work necessary all year. There was nothing else they could have done by the time we line up for the NCAA Championships. It is easier to play freely and go for it then when you feel like you have done the work."
The Gators were able to grab the doubles point with wins at one and three: Brooke Austin-Kourtney Keegan and Anna Danilina-Brianna Morgan, respectively.
Singles action would go back and forth. Danilina was again the first off the court with a 6-3, 6-2 win. The Bulldogs got on the board with a win over Belinda Woolcock on court two. In a Top-10 match up on one, No. 7 Austin defeated No. 3 Ellen Perez, 6-3, 7-5 for a 3-1 Florida lead.
Court five saw Josie Kuhlman fall to Mariana Gould in three sets. Morgan clinched the match on court three.
Morgan was named the SEC Tournament MVP, while she and Austin were named to the All-Tournament team.
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