Alabama men's tennis falls to No. 16 FloridaBy Ben Boynton | 03/28/2016 11:39am
CW | Marie Walker
A thrilling comeback in the doubles point had the crowd at the Roberta Alison Baumgardner Tennis Facility buzzing. The Crimson Tide had just stolen the doubles point from the No. 16 Florida Gators and took all the momentum heading into singles play. An upset looked like a possibility for the unranked Crimson Tide.
Then singles play started, and those hopes were dashed.
Florida took five of the six singles matches en route to a 5-2 victory Sunday afternoon, dropping Alabama to 13-9 on the season and 4-4 in the SEC.
“At the end of the day, it’s who executes and who produces fewer unforced errors,” coach George Husack said. “In singles, we didn’t execute enough and they were just more rock solid.”
The doubles portion of the match was tightly contested. Senior Becker O’Shaughnessey and sophomore Grayson Goldin was the first duo to fall, 6-3. At that time, Alabama trailed on court one, 4-2, and was tied, 4-4, on court three. However, the Crimson Tide evened it up when freshman Mazen Osama and sophomore Korey Lovett came back from being down 4-1 to win 7-5. Not long after that, freshman Spencer Richey and sophomore Matthew Rossouw won in a tiebreaker, 7-6 (7-5) to give Alabama the 1-0 lead.
Singles play started out poorly for Alabama, with only O’Shaughnessey winning his first set. Florida evened the score with a 6-4, 6-0 defeat of Goldin. The Gators took the lead with a 6-2, 6-3 victory over a hobbled Osama. O’Shaughnessey was the next to lose, giving Florida a 3-1 lead after a 4-6, 6-0, 6-0 loss. The match was clinched in favor of Florida when Richey lost 6-4, 6-2.
The remaining two matches played out, both ending in three sets. Lovett rallied in the second set to earn a third set, but ultimately fell short 6-3, 4-6, 6-3.
The match ended in a positive for the Crimson Tide, as Rossouw recovered from an early deficit to win 3-6, 7-5, 6-3, putting the final score at 5-2.
Alabama has only four matches left in the regular season.
“We just really need to practice every day we physically can and spend that time working on what each guy individually needs to improve,” Husack said.
The Crimson Tide returns to the courts on Friday, April 1 at 5 p.m. CT when it takes on No. 21 Arkansas at home.