Gators claim third straight SEC title with win over No. 27 Auburn

AUBURN, Ala. – For the third consecutive season and 12and times in program history, the No. 3 Florida Gators men’s tennis team won the SEC title with a 6-1 win over the No. 27 Auburn Tigers on Sunday afternoon.

With the victory, the Florida Athletics increases its SEC championship total to a league-high 254 titles. This is Florida’s third SEC championship of the year, as men’s gymnastics, swimming and diving, and men’s tennis have all won back-to-back titles – tennis (3), gymnastics (4) and men’s swimming (10 ).

Florida has also won at least one SEC tag team title for 44 straight years, which is the longest streak in the conference. Only Florida (2019-22) and Georgia (2006-08; 2013-17) have chained three or more straight titles since the conference began awarding an SEC regular-season men’s tennis title in 2000.

The Gators (19-2, 11-0 SEC) picked up where they left off on Friday, winning their 14and double point in a row after winning two games for Auburn (17-7, 5-5 SEC).

At the first court, the duo No. 22 of Sam Riffice and Ben Shelton earned his seventh ranking victory after beating No. 36 Tad Maclean and Finn Murgett, 6-3. It’s their 12and double-season win with a 7-2 conference record.

With two matches to play on the courts, it would be No. 25 Andy Andrade and Mattias Simar which, for the fourth straight game, would clinch the doubles point for Florida. Facing Jan Galka and Tyler Stice on court two, the Gators were on fire as they beat the pair of Tigers 6-3. Andrade and Siimar go a perfect 10-0 in the SEC, while going 12-2 in place of the two doubles.

With a 1-0 singles lead, the Gators would need just three singles wins to win the match and clinch the SEC title.

Lucas Greif made his first appearance in court six since Feb. 19 and made the most of it. Competing against Jackson Ross, Greif wouldn’t give up a single match to his opponent, posting a double bagel, 6-0, 6-0, to claim his first singles win of the season in a doubles match.

Number 117 was next to give the Gators a point Josh Goodger in court five against Murgett. The senior would easily win his first set by a score of 6-2, but the Tiger would fight back in the second set to force a tiebreaker. Down 2-4 in the breaker, Goodger rallied to claim the next five points to win their match in straight sets, 6-2, 7-6(4). It’s Goodger’s 98and career singles victory and seventh consecutive victory.

Number 108 Vale won the game for the sixth time this season. On the second court, Vale took on Maclean and won the match in straight sets, 6-3, 7-5. The win gives the senior an 8-2 conference record and 13 singles doubles wins.

Auburn would recover a point with a victory on the first court.

However, No. 125 Andrade followed that up with a big win on court four against Dobai. The senior won his first set, 6-4, before dropping the next one by a score of 2-6. Andrade flipped the switch in the third set by reversing the score in the second set and winning his match in threes, 6-4, 2-6, 6-2. The victory brings his overall record to 24-8, while he is 16-4 in fourth position in singles.

Senior captain and No. 22-ranked player Riffice closed out the match with a battle on court two against Galka. Going down in the first set, 2-6, the senior never backed down. Riffice will win the next two sets and will count his 12and the singles win in a row with a score of 2-6, 6-2, 7-5. The Orlando native is a perfect 11-0 in conference and has as many as 16 doubles singles wins this season.

Florida moves to 19-2 overall and is undefeated in the SEC with an 11-0 record. With their win today, the Gators are 15-2 against ranked opponents, including nine against top-30 ranked teams, and are on a 14-game winning streak.

NOTABLES

  • Florida claims its 12th SEC title and third in a row (1950, 1961, 1968, 1969, 1975, 1994, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2019, 2021, 2022). Since the league began awarding an SEC regular-season men’s tennis title in 2000, only Florida and Georgia (2006-08; 2013-17) have had three or more consecutive titles.
  • This afternoon’s wins bring Florida Athletics’ SEC total to a league-high 254 titles.
  • This is Florida’s third SEC tag team title of the season. All three SEC title programs have won back-to-back titles – tennis (3 straight), gymnastics (4) and men’s swimming (10).
  • Florida has won at least one SEC tag team title for 44 consecutive seasons – the longest current streak in the league

NEXT: The Gators are hosting a final regular season game against the Texas A&M Aggies on Sunday, April 17 at 12:30 p.m. in Gainesville as Florida’s five seniors will be recognized ahead of the Senior Day contest.

SINGLES RESULTS
1. #46 Tyler Stice (AUB) def. #1 Ben Shelton (UF), 7-6 (7-5), 0-6, 1-0 (10-5)
2. #22 Sam Riffice (UF) def. Jan Galka (AUB), 2-6, 6-2, 7-5
3. #108 Duarte Vale (UF) def. Tad Maclean (AUB), 6-3, 7-5
4. #125 Andy Andrade (UF) def. Raul Dobai (AUB), 6-4, 2-6, 6-2
5. #117 Josh Goodger (UF) def. Finn Murgett (AUB), 6-2, 7-6 (7-4)
6. Lucas Greif (UF) def. Jackson Ross (AUB), 6-0, 6-0

Finishing order: 6, 5, 3, 1, 4, 2

DOUBLE RESULTS
1. #22 Sam Riffice/Ben Shelton (UF) def. #36 Tad Maclean/Finn Murgett (AUB), 6-3
2. #25 Andy Andrade/Mattias Simar (UF) def. Jan Galka/Tyler Stice (AUB), 6-3
3. Raul Dobai/Jackson Ross (AUB) against. Duarte Vale/Nate Bonetto (UF), 6-5, unfinished

Finishing order: 1, 2

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