Tulsa Time: UF women's tennis team advances to Round of 16

Florida's Brooke Austin returns a shot Saturday during the second round of the NCAA Women's Tennis Championships against Syracuse at the Ring Tennis Complex.

Matt Stamey/The Gainesville Sun
Published: Saturday, May 14, 2016 at 7:24 p.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, May 14, 2016 at 7:24 p.m.

It's on to the Sweet 16 for the top-ranked Florida Gators.

UF, the No. 2 overall seed for this year's NCAA Championship Tournament, took care of No. 25 Syracuse, 4-0, Saturday at Scott Linder Stadium to move on to the Round of 16 in Tulsa, OK., next week.

“We're pleased to have advanced obviously,” coach Roland Thornqvist said. “We got the kind of weekend we were hoping for, hot and humid with lots of sun. I thought our players handled it really well.”

The Gators improved to 23-2 overall, while Syracuse ends the season at 15-9.

UF claimed the doubles point with wins at No. 1 from Brooke Austin-Kourtney Keegan and at No. 2 from Belinda Woolcock-Josie Kuhlman.

They then closed out the match with wins at No. 6, No. 5 and No. 4 singles, respectively.

Anna Danilina got things started with a 6-2, 6-0 win at No. 6 over Syracuse's Dina Hegab, and Kuhlman followed with a 6-1, 6-2 win over Libi Mesh at No. 5 to put the Gators a point away from victory.

Kourtney Keegan provided the clincher, knocking off the Orange's Maria Tritou 6-2, 6-3 at No. 4.

“Obviously there's a little added pressure having to clinch to be able to go to Tulsa,” Keegan said. “I think just sticking to your strengths and not looking around, just focusing on your match really helps a lot.”

Thornqvist noted the Gators were not as sharp as they could have been.

“We played OK in doubles,” he said. “We played a better doubles match than we did a singles match in my opinion. We were a little in and out at times and made too many unforced errors at times for us to get high grades, but obviously we played well enough to advance.

“Once again, we showed great depth in our singles lineup. Certainly I'm really pleased with advancing, but at the same time, I think we have a few little things that we're going to have to pay attention to in the coming days leading up to the round of 16 on Thursday.”

The Gators will square off against a familiar foe as they will face Stanford, the No. 15 seed, Thursday at 1 p.m.

The Cardinal handed UF one of its two losses earlier this season.

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