The No. 2 Florida Gators finished their season undefeated at home and are heading to the Elite Eight for the fourth straight year after sweeping No. 15 North Carolina, 4-0, on Friday night at the Alfred A. Ring Tennis Complex.
For the 21st match in a row, the Gator men’s tennis team (26-2) prevailed in doubles. North Carolina (18-9) took the slight edge after posting a 6-2 win at court two, but UF would come back to win the next two matches and claim the doubles point.
UF quickly extended the lead after No. 2 Ben Shelton defeated Brian Cernoch in straight sets, 6-0, 6-1. This marks the Gainesville native’s 21st win against a ranked opponent as picked up his 20th dual win of the season.
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The Gators went up 3-0 when Josh Goodger came up big on court six with a straight-set win, 6-1, 6-2. The senior only gave up three games to Henry Lieberman in his fifth-straight singles win. The night ended when Duarte Vale clinched his team-leading seventh match of the year on court three.
“To be able to play in front of our fans, for them to stick around after a couple-hour rain delay, and then to look up and still see so many Gators there supporting us, says a lot about our community here in Gainesville and the University of Florida,” coach Bryan Shelton said of the weather delay Friday night. “I’m just really proud that we can finish out our home campaign with a win tonight which advances us to the final eight. So, I’m really proud of our guys. We had a lot of seniors out there playing their last match with the Gators at home. I’m just really proud of what they’ve done throughout their careers.
This will be Florida’s fifth appearance in the Elite Eight since 2012 when they take on No. 7 Virginia on May 19 in Champaign, Ill.
1. #2 Ben Shelton (UF) def. #33 Brian Cernoch (NC), 6-0, 6-1
2. #28 Sam Riffice (UF) vs. Benjamin Sigouin (NC), 7-5, 5-4, unfinished
3. #115 Duarte Vale (UF) def. MacKiger (NC), 6-4, 7-6 (7-3)
4. #117 Andy Andrade (UF) vs. Logan Zapp (NC), 6-7 (3-7), 4-4, unfinished
5. Mattias Siimar (UF) vs. Chris Li (NC), 6-7 (5-7), 5-4, unfinished
6. #119 Josh Goodger (UF) def. Henry Lieberman (NC), 6-1, 6-2
Order of Finish: 1, 6, 3
1. #5 Sam Riffice/Ben Shelton (UF) def. #16 Brian Cernoch/MacKiger (NC), 6-4
2. Casey Kania/Logan Zapp (NC) def. #65 Andy Andrade/Mattias Siimar (UF), 6-2
3. Nate Bonetto/Duarte Vale (UF) def. Henry Lieberman/Benjamin Sigouin (NC), 7-6 (7-2)