Men's Tennis Welcomes North Florida and Georgia Southern for Home-Opening Weekend

by Alex Clough

ORLANDO – A perfect start to its 2024 campaign earlier this week in South Carolina sets the stage for the UCF men’s tennis team’s home opener, as the Knights are slated for a meeting Saturday versus North Florida before capping off the weekend Sunday against Georgia Southern. Both contests are set to start at noon, commencing a five-match homestand that will span nearly a month.

First-year head coach Lloyd Bruce-Burgess, who is familiar with the USTA National Campus during his time as assistant coach for the women’s program, will oversee his first home match. His squad wasted no time jumping out to a strong start, sweeping its season-opening doubleheader against UNC Wilmington and Coastal Carolina in Conway, South Carolina, on Monday.

In singles, the Knights were able to erase two dropped doubles points with dominating displays from the likes of Lleyton Cronje, Mehdi Benchakroun and Santiago Giamichelle, who each went 2-0 to start the season. On court two, Cronje was clinical, securing two straight-set victories along with his first dual-match doubles triumph alongside Giamichelle. The 20th-ranked tandem swept UNCW’s Drew Broadstreet and Trey Mallory, 6-0, as both continued upon a strong fall slate.

Bruce-Burgess deployed four separate doubles pairings in Conway, including Paul Colin and Yassine Dlimi who notched their first win in their first-ever contest together, defeating Coastal Carolina’s Guilherme Toresan and Jesus Garcia, 6-3.

Over the past five seasons, the Knights have accumulated a 39-19 record at home, often matching up against some of the nation’s top programs at the USTA National Campus.


A familiar foe will make the short trip south for Saturday’s home opener, as North Florida and the Knights are set for their 20th meeting. UCF holds the advantage, claiming an 11-8 record versus the Ospreys following a 5-2 triumph in 2023.

North Florida was pinned to finish first in the Atlantic Sun preseason poll, as Matt Lucas and his squad look primed to make another deep run in the conference tournament.

For the second consecutive season, Georgia Southern heads to Orlando for the Knights’ second match of the season. A 5-2 victory last year gave UCF its first win of the season and its ninth against the Eagles all-time.

Georgia Southern opened their campaign last week in South Florida, dropping matches against Miami (5-0) and Florida Atlantic (5-2). Similar to the Knights, the Eagles are led by first-year head coach Andrew Goodwin and return two All-Sun Belt Conference players (Pol del Castillo and Pierre Mouesca).