UT tennis season ends with close loss at Florida in super regional

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GAINESVILLE, Fla. (UT Sports) -- A tight battle down in Gainesville doesn't go 14th-ranked Tennessee's way as No. 4 Florida wins, 4-2, on Saturday afternoon at the Alfred A. Ring Tennis Complex.

"I am proud of my team, my staff and everyone associated with Tennessee tennis," head coach Chris Woodruff said. "We have made Tennessee relevant again in collegiate tennis. We played for an SEC Championship and came very close to making it to the quarterfinal round down in Orlando. I'm proud of our seniors for the effort and hard work that they put in to help get us here and for the guys coming back, they now have a taste of what it takes to compete at this level and I believe they will carry us even further in the future. The expectation level for Tennessee is now very high. I want to thank the fans for their support all year long, we wouldn't be here without them."

Florida (24-3) began the day winning the doubles point with victories on courts three and one. Andy Andrade/Duarte Vale finished first in doubles, 6-3, defeating Andrew Rogers/Adam Walton on court three.

The Vols (22-8) knotted up doubles with a win from Pat Harper/Scott Jones over Alfredo Perez/Sam Riffice, 6-4, on court two.

Johannes Ingildsen/McClain Kessler clinched the doubles point for the Gators at court one, defeating No. 6 Timo Stodder/Preston Touliatos, 6-4. The win gave Florida a, 1-0, lead in the match going into singles.

Walton, ranked 51st nationally in singles, went to work on court two against No. 54 Riffice. The sophomore took the opening set, 6-3, before crushing the Gator in the second, 6-1, tying the overall match at 1-1.

Andrade, No. 59 in the nation, rebounded for Florida by beating Luca Wiedenmann, 6-3, 6-2, on court four before Perez beat Jones on three, 7-5, 6-3, to give the Gators a, 3-1, advantage in the match.

Tennessee went back to work as Rogers bounced back from a first set loss to take down Lukas Greif, 3-6, 7-6 (7-5), 6-2 over on court six. The win brought the Vols to within one point in the match at, 3-2.

On court five, Touliatos and Vale traded the first two sets with Touliatos winning the first, 6-3. Vale took the second, 6-3, setting up a deciding third set. The pair battled to a, 4-4, third set before Vale went up, 5-4, with a chance to serve for the win.

Touliatos fought back, tying the match at, 5-5, and then went up, 6-5, forcing Vale to serve to stay alive. Vale tied the third set up again, forcing a tie break.

Down, 2-4, Touliatos battled back and saved match point as the Birmingham, Ala., native tied it up at 6-6. He fell behind, 7-6, and saved another match point, evening things at 7-7. The fight continued to an 8-8 draw but Vale took the final two points in the tiebreaker to win the third set, 7-6 (10-8), clinching the match for the Gators as they won, 4-2.

With the win, the Gators advance to the quarterfinal round which will be played at the championship site at the USTA National Campus in Lake Nona, Fla., just outside Orlando.

The Vols' season as a team comes to an end but UT's 22 victories are the most since 2013 and its run to the round of 16 is the deepest the Vols have advanced since 2014.

For three individuals, Stodder, Walton and Touliatos, the season will continue as they will compete in the NCAA Individual Championships, May 20-25 at the USTA National Campus. Stodder will compete in both singles and doubles as he is the 23rd-ranked singles player in the nation and earned an at-large bid.

On the doubles side, he partners with Touliatos and they earned All-America status as the nation's sixth-ranked pairing. They enter the doubles bracket as the No. 6 seed. Touliatos will only compete in doubles.

Walton will complete in singles as he too earned an at-large bid into the NCAA Championships as the nation's 51st-ranked singles player.

BOX SCORE
#14 Tennessee 2, #4 Florida 4
Singles
1. #9 Oliver Crawford (UF) vs. #23 Timo Stodder (UT) 6-2, 4-6, 4-4, unfinished
2. #51 Adam Walton (UT) def. #54 Sam Riffice (UF) 6-3, 6-1
3. Alfredo Perez (UF) def. Scott Jones (UT) 7-5, 6-3
4. #59 Andres Andrade (UF) def. Luca Wiedenmann (UT) 6-3, 6-2
5. #90 Duarte Vale (UF) def. Preston Touliatos (UT) 3-6, 6-3, 7-6 (10-8)
6. Andrew Rogers (UT) def. Lukas Greif (UF) 3-6, 7-6 (7-5), 6-2

Doubles
1. Johannes Ingildsen/McClain Kessler (UF) def. #6 Preston Touliatos/Timo Stodder (UT) 6-4
2. Pat Harper/Scott Jones (UT) def. Alfredo Perez/Sam Riffice (UF) 6-4
3. Andres Andrade/Duarte Vale (UF) def. Adam Walton/Andrew Rogers (UT) 6-3

Order of Finish: Doubles (3,2,1); Singles (2,4,3,6,5)

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