The second-seeded Baylor Men’s Tennis team (34-5) had another historic season for Baylor Athletics this year following in the footsteps of the Men’s Basketball program (who took home the national title at the beginning of April) as they fought their way to the NCAA National Championship match against No. 1 Florida (26-2) in Orlando, Florida on Saturday night. The Bears gave Florida great competition to start the match, but they ultimately fell to the Gators, 4-1. The Gators snagged the first doubles court win as Sam Riffice and Ben Shelton beat No. 75 Matias Soto and Nick Stachowiak, 6-0, on court 2, but the Bears’ Finn Bass and Charlie Broom won 6-1 against Brian Berdusco and Will Grant on court 3 and Baylor’s No. 9 Constantin Frantzen and Sven Lah secured the doubles point with a 6-2 victory over Johannes Ingildsen and Duarte Vale at the No. 1 spot to go up 1-0. Each team notched an opening set on three courts during singles play, but Florida immediately took off and finished three of their matches in straight sets. The Gators’ No. 18 Andy Andrade excelled over Lah on court three 7-6(6), 6-0 before No. 6 Riffice defeated No. 11 Soto 7-5, 6-3 at the second spot, and No. 79 Josh Goodger got the third point with a 6-3, 7-5 win against Baylor’s Spencer Furman on court 6. Shelton clinched the match for the Gators at the No. 5 position after advancing over Broom in a 3-6, 6-1, 6-2 showdown.
The Bears ended their season under Baylor Men’s Tennis interim head coach—and now official head coach—Michael Woodson with a program-high and single-season record 34 victories. Of the team and season, Woodson said, “”I’m so proud of everything they’ve accomplished. It’s not as much about the tennis, obviously the tennis is fantastic – the stats, the records, the titles all speak for themselves. Making it to this point in the season really does speak for itself. It’s the way that these young men carry themselves. We were able to play 39 matches this year, which is truly incredible. A lot of credit needs to go to our athletic department, our administration, our health and safety staff to provide our guys opportunities to train and compete. And the players, they’ve sacrificed so much this year. We didn’t have any stoppages, we barely had any adjustments at all throughout the season. That’s a credit to the sacrifices these young men made through what was a very difficult time. They banded together extremely well and the result was lots and lots of success. It hurts, it hurts more that we don’t get to do it again than it hurts that we lost tonight.”