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Monday May 19, 2008Women's Tennis Ends Season with 4-2 Loss to UCLA in NCAA Semifinals

Tulsa, OK

The University of Florida women’s tennis team had its dual match season come to a close with a 4-2 loss to UCLA in the semifinals of the NCAA Championships on Monday afternoon at the Michael D. Case Tennis Center.


The Gators end the year with a 24-3 overall record after advancing to the final four for the 19th time in the last 22 seasons.


“I’m real proud of our players,” UF head coach Roland Thornqvist said. “We fought really, really hard. It looked like we were able to turn the momentum in our favor about an hour or so in singles after losing the doubles point. What a UCLA team, though, they played great. We gave it all we had. UCLA played tough, smart and they out-played us so you have to tip your hat to them. They did a great job today.”


Florida lost the doubles point for the first time this season, placing the Gators in the unfamiliar position of trailing early. It began when the No. 2 tandem of Whitney Benik (Delray Beach, Fla.) and Csilla Borsanyi (Hungary) fell to 56th-ranked Elizabeth Lumpkin and Stephanie Wetmore, 8-3. The Gators still had a chance to battle and capture the important doubles point, but the nearly-automatic pair of Julia Cohen (Philadelphia, Pa.) and Anastasia Revizna (Russia) couldn’t overcome a 4-0 deficit and lost to 26th-ranked Alex McGoodwin and Yasmin Schnack, 8-5. Florida had been a perfect 25-0 at the No. 3 doubles position this season, including a 21-0 record by Cohen and Revzina prior to Monday’s loss.


If the No. 3 pair could have battled back, the action on court would have continued and given the Gators’ eighth-ranked pair of Megan Alexander (Dallas, Texas) and Marrit Boonstra (The Netherlands) an opportunity to upend top-ranked Tracy Lin and Riza Zalameda. Alexander and Boonstra had triple break-point for a chance to go up 7-5, but play halted as soon as the Bruins captured their second doubles win.


“I thought we handled (losing the doubles point) well,” Thrornqvist said. “We thought we would have the advantage physically if the match went into the fourth hour because of the heat. We made a run, but losing the doubles point is not something we’ve had to deal with this year, but I thought we did the best we could.”


After winning the doubles point, UCLA (23-5) jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead after eighth-ranked senior Riza Zalameda defeated Cohen, a freshman ranked No. 29, 6-2, 6-1.


That’s when Florida began its push.


Megan Alexander (Dallas, Texas) upset 42nd-ranked Yasmin Schnack, 6-4, 6-3 at the No. 3 position. The two traded breaks to open the match and again midway through the first set before the Gator sophomore got hot at the end of frame, holding with a strong service game for a 5-4 lead and then broke Schnack to take the first set. Alexander then earned a break midway through the second and road that the rest of the way, capitalizing on her third match-point opportunity to close the team scoring to 2-1.


“It’s disappointing to lose, but we can hold our heads up high knowing that we prepared and did everything we could have to get ready for this tournament,” Alexander said. “We left everything we had on the courts today.”


Fellow sophomore Anastasia Revzina (Russia) was the next Gator to record a singles decision and posted a 6-4, 6-3 victory over Alex McGoodwin at the No. 6 spot to even the team scoring at 2-all. The first set featured five breaks, but it was Revzina who came out on top with three to claim the early lead. The second set held steady until Revzina collected a break in the fifth game and polished off the match with another in the ninth game to net her 16th consecutive singles victory and end the season with a team-leading 28-4 singles record, including a 20-2 mark in dual matches.


“I am very, very disappointed that we lost today,” said Revzina, shrugging off her individual win. “UCLA is a really good team, but I just wish we could have found a way to win. All the teams at this stage are good and only one can win, it just wasn’t our year to win it. We will keep working hard and get ready to be back next year.”


Near the time when Alexander and Revzina appeared in control of their singles matches, senior Whitney Benik (Delray Beach, Fla.) seemed to swing the momentum Florida’s way after she recovered from losing her first set against Andrea Remynse to go up a break, 3-2, in the second. Remynse, however, broke right back and the rest of the set was on-serve until the Bruin earned one final break in the 10th game to earn the 6-3, 6-4 decision and put UCLA back on top, 3-2.


The loss denied Benik a milestone singles victory, as she ends her career with a 99-31 record, including a 78-14 mark in dual match play.


Florida would need victories on the remaining two singles courts in order to pull off the dual match win and it looked like the Gators were in position on court No. 5, where freshman Marrit Boonstra had impressively forced a third set against Elizabeth Lumpkin. It was during that deciding set where the Bruin senior showed her experience and emerged with the clinching 6-4, 2-6, 6-2 victory that capped UCLA’s win.


“Battling has been a trademark of our team all year so I thought we had a chance when that momentum swung when Whitney (Benik) was leading in her second set,” Thornqvist said. “I thought we really could have made a run, but you have to give them credit because they shut us down. They just out-played us down the stretch.”


The loss to the Bruins (23-5) capped the stellar careers of Florida seniors Whitney Benik and Lolita Frangulyan (Bradenton, Fla.). The two helped the Gators win three Southeastern Conference regular-season titles and a pair of league tournament crowns during their tenure, while guiding Florida log a perfect 53-0 home record during their four-year career. The Gators’ 4-0 win against Auburn in the NCAA Second Round marked their final home appearance and placed them in elite company, joining only the 1998 senior class of Bonnie Bleecker and Dawn Buth as the only other four-year class to go undefeated at home during their careers. Bleecker & Buth helped the Gators to a 44-0 home record from 1995-98.


“What a career they ended today, three NCAA final fours, three SEC championships,” Thornqvist said of Benik and Frangulyan. “I know that they are terribly disappointed here, but they should be very, very proud of what they’ve accomplished. They have represented The University of Florida, their teammates and the coaching staff in a first-class manner and we’re certainly going to miss them.”


Individually, Benik logged a combined 205 singles and doubles victories, the 14th most in UF history. She posted a 99-31 singles record and a 106-50 doubles mark, as she totaled the eighth-most doubles wins in Gator history. Frangulyan ends her singles career on a 20-match singles win streak, tied for the 12th longest run among all Gators. She posted a 75-17 singles record and a 102-28 doubles mark during her four-year career.


“Our seniors did a great job of leading the team all year and that, more than anything else, is something we will take into next year,” Alexander said. “We saw what an impact losing the doubles point can have and we will make sure that our teammates know that it is a focus in our preparation next season.”


Four Gators will remain in Tulsa for the NCAA Singles and Doubles Championships, which begin on Wednesday, May 21. Csilla Borsanyi and Julia Cohen were selected to compete in the 64-player singles event, while the pair of Megan Alexander and Marrit Boonstra earned a spot in the 32-team doubles tournament.


Borsanyi, a sophomore who is ranked No. 33 nationally, will be making her second appearance in the NCAA Singles Championship after advancing to the quarterfinals her rookie season and collecting All-America honors. Cohen is a freshman, who is ranked No. 29 in the country and plays the No. 1 singles position in the dual match lineup this year for the sixth-ranked Gators.


The doubles team of Alexander and Boonstra are the No. 8-ranked pair in the country and earned the 5-8 seeding in the 32-team event. The 64-player Singles Championships begins May 21, while the 32-team Doubles Championships gets underway on May 22 in Tulsa.



NCAA Women’s Tennis Championships, Team Semifinals

Michael D. Case Tennis Center

Tulsa, Okla.


Monday, May 19, 2008


Team Results, Semifinals

(8) California d. (5) Baylor, 4-3

(7) UCLA d. (6) Florida, 4-2


UF Individual Dual Match Results Only


1. (8) Megan Alexander/Marrit Boonstra, UF led (1) Tracy Lin/Riza Zalamdea, UCLA, 6-5 - DNF

2. (56) Elizabeth Lumpkin/Stephanie Wetmore, UCLA d. Whitney Benik/Csilla Borsanyi, UF, 8-3

3. (26) Alex McGoodwin/Yasmin Schnack, UCLA d. Julia Cohen/Anastasia Revzina, UF, 8-5*


1. (8) Riza Zalameda, UCLA d. (29) Julia Cohen, UF, 6-2, 6-1

2. (30) Tracy Lin, UCLA led (33) Csilla Borsanyi, UF, 7-6 (5), 4-2 - DNF

3. (116) Megan Alexander, UF d. (42) Yasmin Schnack, UCLA, 6-4, 6-3

4. (54) Andrea Remynse, UCLA d. Whitney Benik, UF, 6-3, 6-4

5. Elizabeth Lumpkin, UCLA d. Marrit Boonstra, UF, 6-4, 2-6, 6-2*

6. (96) Anastasia Revzina, UF d. Alex McGoodwin, UCLA, 6-4, 6-3


Order of Finish: Doubles-2, 3*; Singles-1, 3, 6, 4, 5*


Records: Florida 24-3; UCLA 23-5



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