Gators cap regular season with win
Florida rolls past South Carolina in season finale
COLUMBIA, S.C. – No. 16 Florida wrapped up the regular season with a 4-0 victory on the road against South Carolina at the USC Indoor Fieldhouse Saturday afternoon. Once victory was assured, the ongoing matches were suspended as the coaches agreed to that beforehand with the Southeastern Conference Tournament looming in four days. The Gators sit at 14-8 on the season, including 7-4 in the SEC, while the Gamecocks move to 6-17 and 1-10 in league play.
“We are pleased to make a nice recovery from a difficult weekend last weekend,” head coach Andy Jackson said. “I feel like we played a pretty good match and we are very excited about the competition next week.”
Florida opened by taking the doubles point with victories on courts one and three. The 39th-ranked duo of Alexandre Lacroix and Sekou Bangoura Jr. defeated Alexander Kostanov and Chip Cox 8-1 at the No. 1 position while the No. 90 combination of Nassim Slilam and Billy Federhofer clinched doubles with an 8-3 win over South Carolina’s Jake Bowling and Chris Sheehan. Florida improved its doubles record to 15-7 overall. Since Coach Jackson settled on the current doubles pairings at the start of SEC play, Lacroix and Bangoura are 7-5 with wins over four ranked doubles teams while Federhofer and Slilam have gone 9-2, including wins over Southern California, Georgia and Tennessee who all boast top-five programs nationally.
Sophomore Bob van Overbeek earned the Gators’ first singles point with a convincing 6-0, 6-2 court five victory over Johannes Pulsfort to push the advantage to 2-0. Soon after, Lacroix took a 6-2, 6-4 decision over Kostanov to put Florida on the brink of victory and Slilam secured it, recovering from dropping the first set to win 12 of the final 15 games of the match en route to beating Cox 5-7, 6-1, 6-2. The remaining matches were abandoned in progress.