No. 7 UGA slips by No. 16 UF
Garrapiz’s three set victory clinches match for Bulldogs
ATHENS, Ga. -- Seventh-ranked Georgia remained unbeaten in SEC play with a 4-3 victory against No. 16 Florida in front of a season-high crowd of 1,146 Friday at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex.
The Bulldogs (18-3, 9-0 SEC) have now won 13 consecutive matches and can clinch a share of the SEC title with a win against South Carolina on Sunday. The streak is the UGA's longest since a 14-match winning streak that began at the end of the 2008 national championship season.
Senior Javier Garrapiz clinched the match for Georgia for the third time in a row, and it was the second consecutive win over Florida in which the Huesca, Spain, native finished off the Gators. He also clinched the Bulldogs' win over UF in the NCAA Tournament last year.
For Garrapiz it was his fifth match clincher of the year, and also the fifth match of the season that Georgia has won by a 4-3 score.
"It was just a very close match for the word go," head coach Manuel Diaz said. "We were down a break at 2 and 3 doubles, but our No. 1 team played great today. In the end we came up really big in the clutch at No. 2.
"Florida did not go away. Wil Spencer did a good job of getting us the lead back, and from there it was nip and tuck. Ultimately, Javi has to be the most clutch player in the nation right now. If there is a more mentally tough player, I don't know him. He has clinched our last three 4-3 matches and I'm very proud of him."
Georgia won two of three doubles matches to claim the first team point. The Bulldogs won the first doubles match at No. 1 where the 11th-ranked tandem of Garrapiz and Hernus Pieters defeated No. 53 Sekou Bangoura and Alex Lacroix, 8-5. It was the team-leading 23rd win and for the UGA tandem and the sixth in a row.
After Florida edged the Bulldogs 9-7 at No. 3 to draw even, the Bulldogs prevailed 9-8(7) at No. 2. The No. 37 team of Sadio Doumbia and Ignacio Taboada held off match point to beat Andrew Butz and Bob van Overbeek and give Georgia a 1-0 lead.
The Gators (13-7, 6-3 SEC) tied the score at 1-1 when Billy Federhofer beat Pieters 6-1, 6-0 at No. 5. Georgia moved back ahead when No. 14 Wil Spencer topped 10th-ranked Lacroix 6-4, 6-3 at No. 1, but Florida evened the score when van Overbeek defeated Drake Bernstein 6-3, 6-3 at No. 4.
Taboada helped Georgia regain the lead at No. 6 where he outlasted Florida's Spencer Newman, 6-4, 4-6, 6-1, but the Gators once again knotted the score as No. 84 Nassim Slilam beat No. 54 Doumbia 7-6(3), 6-3.
That set the stage for Garrapiz, who won his first set 6-2, but No. 43 Sekou Bangoura bounced back to win the second set 6-3. Bangoura led 2-1 in the third set when Garrapiz won three consecutive games to make it 4-2. Leading 5-3, Garrapiz broke to win the match and extend Georgia's home record to a perfect 11-0 this season.