Feb. 28, 2015
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – No. 34 South Carolina dropped a 4-1 decision at No. 17 Florida Saturday afternoon at Ring Tennis Complex, despite a strong showing from sophomore Andrew Schafer in both doubles and singles. The Gamecocks rallied at the top of the doubles lineup to force a tiebreak to decide the point, but the Gators came out on top and carried that momentum into singles action. Schafer’s three-set comeback in the No. 3 match was South Carolina’s lone point of the match, although two other matches were settled in the third set.
“This has been a tough stretch of the season because of illness and injuries,” South Carolina head coach Josh Goffi said. “But, today was a great match for our guys. Even though we lost today to a good Florida team, we took a step forward as a team, and the turn in the season is coming soon.”
The teams traded doubles victories with the Gators taking the No. 2 contest and the Gamecocks’ No. 3 team of Schafer and Andrew Adams powering to a 6-2 win. No. 44 Thomas Mayronne and Harrison O’Keefe shook off a rough start to their No. 1 contest against No. 47 Diego Hidalgo and Gordon Watson, winning three of the last four games to force a tiebreak to decide the point. Florida’s duo capitalized on its experience to deliver the 7-6 (0) win and the early 1-0 lead in the team match.
Adams kept the momentum of his doubles win to jump out to an early lead in his No. 2 singles match with No. 103 Maxx Lipman, closing out a 6-3 win just as the Gators were taking control of the Nos. 1 and 3 matches. As Gordon Watson posted his 6-2 first-set win over Schafer on Court 3, Kyle Koch was relentlessly fighting in his first against No. 46 Diego Hidalgo, who had opened with a 5-2 lead. Koch won the next three games to level the set at 5-5 then forcing a tiebreak, which Hidalgo eventually claimed 7-6 (5).
Schafer used an early service break in his second set to level his No. 3 match against Watson with a 6-2 win, but Adams was also headed to a third set after Lipman scored a 6-3 win in their second set at No. 2. The Gamecocks’ senior was down a break in the third when Florida took a 2-0 lead behind Hidalgo’s 7-6 (5), 6-3 win over Koch at the top of the lineup. The lead moved to 3-0 as Lipman preserved his early third-set advantage or a 3-6, 6-3, 6-3 win.
Neither Schafer or Watson would yield in the third set, but Schafer delivered in the clutch, scoring a late service break to close out his 2-6, 6-2, 7-5 win and narrow South Carolina’s deficit to 3-1. The Nos. 4, 5 and 6 matches were just underway, but they were going the same as the top of the lineup with early service breaks giving the Gators the advantage in two of the three. Sam Swank was working to keep the Gamecocks in the match, opening a 3-1 lead on Jordan Belga and going on to win the set 6-2 in the No. 6 contest. Florida had won first sets on the other two courts, however, and No. 123 Chase Perez-Blanco kept the pressure on Mayronne in the second, delivering a 6-3, 6-1 win in the No. 5 match to seal the team win for the Gators.
After playing seven straight matches on the road, South Carolina finally returns to Carolina Tennis Center next weekend with the home fans getting their first look at SEC action. No. 31 LSU visits on Fri., March 6, for a 5 p.m. start, and the Gamecocks host a doubleheader on Sunday, taking on No. 9 Texas A&M at 11 a.m. and Coastal Carolina at 4 p.m.
#17 Florida 4, #34 South Carolina1
Doubles (Order of Finish: 2, 3, 1)
1. (47) Diego Hidalgo/Gordon Watson (UF) def. (44) Thomas Mayronne / Harrison O’Keefe (SC) 7-6 (0)
2. Maxx Lipman/Elliott Orkin (UF) def. Kyle Koch / Sam Swank (SC) 6-0
3. Andrew Schafer / Andrew Adams (SC) def. Oliver Landert/Chase Perez-Blanco (UF) 6-2
Singles (Order of Finish: 1, 2, 3, 5*)
1. (46) Diego Hidalgo (UF) def. Kyle Koch (SC) 7-6 (5), 6-3
2. (103) Maxx Lipman (UF) def. Andrew Adams (SC) 3-6, 6-3, 6-3
3. (101) Andrew Schafer (SC) def. Gordon Watson (UF) 2-6, 6-2, 7-5
4. Harrison O’Keefe (SC) tied (80) Elliott Orkin (UF) 6-3, 4-6 suspended
5. (123) Chase Perez-Blanco (UF) def. Thomas Mayronne (SC) 6-3, 6-1
6. Sam Swank (SC) led Jordan Belga (UF) 6-2, 1-4 suspended