By TOM ZEBOLD
USF Senior Writer
TAMPA, May 11, 2014 – No. 24 USF’s incredible season ended in the second round of the NCAA Division I Men’s Tennis Championship with a 4-0 loss to No. 15 Florida on Sunday night in Gainesville.
The Bulls (19-7) defeated No. 33 FSU, 4-2, in Saturday’s first round and endured a rain delay that lasted nearly 3 hours Sunday afternoon before play was moved to the Perry Indoor Tennis Facility on UF’s campus. Head coach Matt Hill’s squad fell one victory short of heading to Athens, Ga., for the NCAA Round of 16 after capturing USF Athletics’ third American championship of the season.
“I was disappointed about the loss today, but when you step back and look from a bigger perspective we’re really, really pleased with what we were able to accomplish,” Hill said. “It’s such a young group. A lot of these guys had their first year in college tennis and I thought they handled it really well. There is a bright future ahead of us and that’s exciting.”
UF (17-9) advanced to the NCAA Round of 16 for the fourth time in five years and set the tone by securing a tough first point in doubles play at Linder Stadium. Maxx Lipman and Elliot Orkin edged USF’s Oliver Pramming and Ignacio Gonzalez-Muniz, 8-7 (2) to clinch the point as Roberto Cid and Sasha Gozun were leading Florida’s Florent Diep and Gordon Watson, 7-6, in the top spot.
The programs were on a break between doubles and singles around 3 p.m., when rain started to fall at Ring Tennis Complex. Play picked back up indoors nearly 3 hours later and UF quickly grabbed a 2-0 lead with Lipman’s 6-4, 6-2 win over Gozun.
Pramming forced a third set in the No. 2 singles spot before Watson pulled out a 6-3, 3-6, 6-2 victory. Florida secured the match win when Diep rallied past Cid, 3-6, 7-6 (5), 6-1, in the top position.
Ranked No. 47 in the nation, Cid (21-5) gets to continue his season at the NCAA Singles Championship beginning May 21 in Athens, Ga. The American Player of the Year needs two more victories to earn All-America status as a sophomore.
“That’s huge for us in more ways than one because it’s really important that somebody on our team goes to Athens and sees what the level is like,” Hill said. “It’s very important next year as we’re training and preparing, and pushing to get in that top 16 group that someone went there and saw with their own eyes how tough, how physical it is and how the atmosphere is. With Roberto being the one going it’s great because he’s one of the leaders of our team and will be next year as well.”
NCAA Championship (second round)
No. 15 Florida 4, No. 24 USF 0
Linder Stadium/Perry Indoor Tennis Facility, Gainesville
Doubles (order of finish: 2, 3)
1. Roberto Cid/Sasha Gozun (USF) vs. Florent Diep/Gordon Watson (UF), DNF, 7-6
2. Maxx Lipman/Elliot Orkin (UF) def. Oliver Pramming/Ignacio Gonzalez-Muniz (USF), 8-7 (2)
3. Mike Alford/Diego Hidalgo (UF) def. Vadym Kalyuzhnyy/Everth Dzib (USF), 8-4
Singles (order of finish: 3, 2, 1)
1. No. 51 Diep (UF) def. No. 47 Cid (USF), 3-6, 7-6 (5), 6-1
2. No. 108 Watson (UF) def. Pramming (USF), 6-3, 3-6, 6-2
3. Lipman (UF) def. Gozun (USF), 6-4, 6-2
4. Hidalgo (UF) vs. Kalyuzhnyy (USF), DNF, 6-2, 3-3
5. No. 98 Orkin (UF) vs. Gonzalez-Muniz (USF), DNF, 6-3, 0-1
6. Alford (UF) vs. Sabogal (USF), DNF, 0-0