#9 UCF Wins First NCAA Tournament Match in Sweep of Monmouth

Box Score (PDF) NCAA Tournament Bracket

ORLANDO, Fla. – The No. 9 nationally seeded, 10th ranked UCF men's tennis team advanced in the NCAA Tournament for the first time in the program's 50-year history as they swept Monmouth 4-0 on Saturday afternoon to move on to the second round.

"It was a good start," said Director of Tennis John Roddick. "We played good doubles on all three courts and did what we needed to do. The focus level was high. The singles guys did a nice job of getting good leads and getting that second break to consolidate it. Those days when you have chances to make it a shorter day going into the next day, that's always a nice advantage. Our guys did a good job of taking care of what they needed to today."

The Knights jumped out to big leads on courts two and three early in the doubles segment. Alan Rubio and Kento Yamada cruised to a 6-1 victory over Will Cooke Wharton and Charles Gortzounian on court three to gain the early edge. After being tied at 3-3, UCF's dynamic duo of No. 5 Trey Hilderbrand and Bogdan Pavel powered through to win their next three games, besting Max Benaim and Sergio Martinez 6-3. Court two went unfinished as Gabriel Decamps and Juan Pablo Grassi Mazzuchi were leading Lucca Silva and Victor Castro 5-2 and 30-15 in the game.

All first sets didn't even reach completion by the time the match ended as it was over in a quick hour and 34 minutes.

Hilderbrand was the first to get the Knights on the scoreboard in singles as he won his 11th straight singles match, improving to 18-4 on the campaign. He triumphed over Martinez 6-1, 6-2 on court five to give UCF the 2-0 advantage.

No. 9 Decamps was next to wrap up his contest as he advanced to 17-4 this season with a 6-0, 6-1 victory over Cooke Wharton on court one.

The Knights secured their first NCAA Tournament win in program history on court two where Rubio cruised to a 6-1, 6-1 victory over Benaim.

UCF had gone 0-5 in the NCAA tournament prior to Saturday's victory, getting swept by Florida three times from 2003-05, then falling 4-3 to Louisville in 2017 and Florida State in 2019. In their 50th season, the Knights can say they've added one to the win column.

"I think it's important to get over those hurdles so that at some point it becomes more commonplace," said Roddick. "Those things are always in the back of your mind a little bit. I'd be lying if I said I didn't think about that a couple of times today. Those are really important milestones for a program to break through. We want to compete at a higher level and we don't want to make to big a deal of these things, but those are very important for our program."

The Knights have won 14 straight matches and are winners in 19 of their last 20 matches. Their last three matches have all been shutouts, sweeping No. 33 Wichita State and No. 29 South Florida on their way to hoisting their first conference title as part of The American. Monmouth entered the match with an impressive winning streak of their own as they were victorious in their prior 12 matches before ending their season with a record of 14-3.

The victory improves UCF's record to 22-3 this season, marking just the third time in program history that the team has reached the 22-win mark. The previous two instances came before the Black and Gold were part of Division I, going 30-4 in 1977 before tallying a 22-6 record the next season. The Knights have achieved 20 wins or better six times.

The Knights will take part in their first NCAA Tournament Second Round action as they face the 16th ranked team in the country in Mississippi State at noon on Sunday. The Bulldogs just missed out on a national seed on Selection Monday.

Follow UCF Men's Tennis on social media on Facebook (/UCF.MTennis), Twitter (UCF_MTennis) and Instagram (UCF.MTennis).

Never miss any UCF Knights news from your favorite team by downloading the free UCF Knights app right to your iOS or Android phone! The app provides personalized information for men's and women's teams, scores, schedules, loyalty programs and even breaking news. Click here to download the app now.