Young core leads the way for Florida – The Independent Florida Alligator
Senior Chase Perez-Blanco and his partner freshman Oliver Crawford are on a nine-match win streak in doubles play.
Alligator File Photo
When the Florida men’s tennis team stepped onto the court for the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament, it looked a little younger than its opponents. Where experience trumped all for other teams, talent in the young core prevailed for the Gators.
Of the six positions available in the singles lineup, four of them were filled by underclassmen for most of the season: three freshmen and a sophomore. At a point in the season where experience is seemingly most important, Florida has defied that logic.
Like he’d done all day, junior Alfredo Perez sent a powerful forehand over the net that his …
One reason for this is the immense talent of the Gators’ underclassmen. Florida’s recruiting class in 2017 was ranked second in the nation behind only University of California, Berkeley. Among the new faces was the No. 2 recruit in the nation, Oliver Crawford.
The South Carolina native lived up to the hype with an outstanding spring season that saw a 12-match win streak in singles and a 15-2 record in doubles. It earned him SEC Freshman of the Year honors. Crawford and his doubles partner, senior Chase Perez-Blanco, are currently on a nine-match win streak.
Even though this is his first season, Crawford credits the toughness of the SEC for giving him wisdom early in his career.
“It’s been a good experience to play these top teams in the conference,” Crawford said. “The SEC gets you ready for what is to come.”
Others among the 2017 class are freshmen Duarte Vale and Andy Andrade.