April 15, 2011
COLUMBIA, S.C. – South Carolina men’s tennis plays its final match of the regular season Saturday against No 16 Florida. The match, which will also be the last in Columbia for seniors Johannes Pulsfort and Chris Sheehan, will begin at 1 p.m. at Maxcy Gregg Tennis Center, weather permitting. In the event of inclement weather, the match will move indoors to the USC Fieldhouse.
The Gamecocks have had a difficult time down the stretch, facing four top-16 teams to close out the regular season. The team is looking to send Pulsfort and Sheehan out on a good note. Pulsfort has held a regular position in the singles lineup throughout his Gamecock career, enjoying his best season in 2008-09. In helping the Gamecocks to an NCAA Tournament appearance, he posted a team-high 15 dual-match singles victories that season, including a pair of wins that clinched upset wins over a pair of top-20 SEC opponents. Sheehan has been a regular in the doubles lineup this season and joins Pulsfort as a team captain. One of the most enthusiastic supporters on the roster through his first three seasons, Sheehan has also played singles in six dual matches this season including a pair of SEC outings.
The 16th-ranked Gators come to Columbia looking to shake off a pair of losses last weekend. Florida narrowly missed upsetting Georgia before being swept by Tennessee. The top three players in the Gators’ lineup are nationally ranked in singles, beginning with No. 7 Alexandre Lacroix. The senior from Paris, France, is 30-10 on the season, including a 14-7 mark in the No. 1 spot in the Florida lineup. Playing No. 2 in the order is sophomore Sekou Bangoura Jr., who is ranked No. 45 in the country behind a 27-11 overall record, including a 13-7 slate in dual matches. Junior Nassim Slilam rounds out the trio, holding the No. 80 spot in the nationally rankings and the No. 3 spot in the Florida singles lineup. He is 20-11 on the season, which includes an 8-5 mark playing in the No. 3 position. Two of the Gators’ three doubles teams are also among the nation’s best duos. Bangoura and Lacroix are ranked 39th with their 6-5 record in the top spot in the order. Billy Federhofer and Slilam are 8-2 on the season to earn a No. 90 national ranking.
The Gators have won 23 of the 27 all-time meetings between the two schools. South Carolina last defeated Florida 4-3 on March 11, 2001, in Columbia.
The Gamecocks head to the SEC Tournament next week. Play in Gainesville, Fla., opens on Thu., April 21.