GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- The No. 11 University of Florida tennis team brought home the program's fifth Southeastern Conference Championship on Sunday afternoon with a 4-2 win over the Georgia Bulldogs. The conference title marks Florida Head Coach Bryan Shelton's first SEC Tournament Championship.
Outlasting the regular season champions, Georgia, the Gators are the first SEC team to take down the Bulldogs in a head-to-head dual match this season.
In doubles action, the pairing of juniors Maxx Lipman and Elliot Orkin scored a 6-3 win over Georgia's Paul Oosterbaan and Jan Zielinski to get things started. Chase Perez-Blanco and Alfredo Perez followed up with a 6-4 win over the UGA's Wayne Montgomery and Emil Reinberg -- sealing the doubles point and a 1-0 lead.
The Gators are now 15-4 when clinching the doubles point. It wasn't easy, but the Gators got it done again in singles play. With the score at 3-2, Florida, senior Gordon Watson brought home the match-clinching win on a three-set victory over Georgia's Nick Wood.
Earlier in singles play, Perez came through to open things up with 6-3 wins in straight sets to take down the Bulldog's Wayne Montgomery. Chase Perez-Blanco earned UF's third point with a 6-2 and 7-6 wins over Georgia's Walker Duncan. Watson's final point sealed the 4-2 victory.
Up Next: The Gators will return to action at the 2016 NCAA Tennis Tournament, scheduled from May 13-25.
Head Coach Bryan Shelton on the win:
"I couldn't be prouder of this group of guys. We prepared all season long for this moment -- to be in the finals, to fight for a conference championship. With every loss, with every win, with every practice. Our mantra all season long has become 'do what we do and be where we are'. Every day, our guys show up ready to work and ready to get better.
"I'm just really proud of our guys for sticking together this season, for bringing that enthusiasm to practice every day, and just becoming who they are while continuing to believe in themselves."
Senior Gordon Watson on the Win:
"We had our goals set on the SEC Title. We weren't able to get it done during the regular season but that's just a testament of this team's resiliency. We were able to bounce back from A&M and Georgia and come in here, reset, and reevaluate ourselves. We took it one step at a time, one match at a time, and got it done today."