Denver rallies from 3-1 down to upset top-seed Florida in NCAA tourrnament
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- No. 4-seed Denver rallied from a 3-1 deficit to post a 4-3 win against No. 1-seed Florida on Friday and claim the program’s first NCAA postseason win.
The Pioneers posted wins in the final three singles matches of the day to seal the victory, including three-set triumphs by Alex Clinkenbeard and Max Krammer that were completed just seconds apart to lift Denver to victory.
“Our guys just fought their tails off,” Denver head coach Danny Westerman said. “They deserve all the credit. It’s been an unbelievable, roller-coaster year. We have lost nine in a row, at one point, and won nine in a row. Going what we went through got them ready for something like [Friday]. They really earned it. They stuck together when no one probably believed in them and they believed in themselves. It was great.”
The victory also marked the Pioneers' ninth win in their past 10 matches with Denver boasting an outstanding 9-0-1 mark during the stretch.
In earlier completed singles action, No. 59-ranked Enej Bonin set the tone for the Pioneers by defeating No. 52 Stephane Piro 6-4, 6-3 in the No. 1 singles flight. Jens Vorkefeld claimed a 7-6 (4), 6-3 victory against Florida’s No. 72 Florent Diep in No. 2 singles.
Henry Craig dropped a 6-2, 7-5 decision in No. 4 singles, while Fabio Biasion came up short in No. 6 singles 6-2, 6-1.
The Pioneers fell in two of three doubles matches to trail 1-0 going into singles play. The duo of Krammer and Biasion led Florida's Diep and Gordon Watson 5-3 before play was halted. The Gators defeated the Pioneers 8-4 in each of the preceding doubles showdowns.
“Anytime you play the No. 1 seed, they are the host school,” Westerman said. “They are No. 15 in the country. It’s a tournament, this is what it is all about. Wanting to hit that ball under pressure, we swung away. We played our best match of the year in the conference tournament. We took it up another level [Friday]. Hopefully, we can take it up another level [Saturday].”
The Pioneers will look to continue their NCAA run against California on Saturday from Ring Tennis Complex.