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Thursday May 13, 2010Women's Tennis Begins NCAA Action on Friday at Home

Gainesville, Fla.

The third-seeded University of Florida women’s tennis team plays host to one of 16 first and second round NCAA Regionals beginning Friday, May 14 at Linder Stadium at Ring Tennis Complex.


The Gators will face Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) champion South Carolina State (16-5) in their NCAA First Round contest on Friday, May 14, at 2 p.m. The other NCAA Women’s First Round match played in Gainesville features 29th-ranked Washington (11-5) versus 40th-ranked Utah (17-7) on Friday at 11 a.m.


The winning teams from those first-round matches meet in the second round on Saturday, May 15 at 3 p.m.


Florida earned an automatic bid into the NCAA Championships by winning the Southeastern Conference Tournament on April 25, defeating Tennessee, 4-1, at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex, also the site of the NCAA Championships round of 16 and beyond.


“I’m very proud of what the team has accomplished already,” UF head coach Roland Thornqvist said. “They have been a great group to work with and have been improving steadily throughout the year. The exciting part of the season is coming up and we can’t wait to get started. Our home crowd is so knowledgeable about the game and helps us so much. We really want them to come out and support us and watch some very good tennis this weekend.”


Florida at the NCAA Championships

*Florida is making its 28th appearance in the 29-year history of the NCAA Championships, missing only the 1986 event.

*The Gators boast a 77-23 all-time record in the NCAA Championships.

*The Gators won NCAA team titles in 1992, 1996, 1998 and 2003

*Florida has advanced to at least the NCAA Semifinals 19 times in the last 23 years.

*Since the NCAA expanded the field to 64 teams, Florida has been a perfect 11-0 in first-round matches. The Gators are 10-1 in the second round, 23-3 in round of 16 contests, 19-4 in the quarterfinals, 10-9 in the semifinals and 4-6 in the title match.

It will be the second-ever meeting between Florida and the South Carolina State Lady Bulldogs, which met in the first round of the 2006 NCAA Tournament, with the Gators taking the 4-0 victory in Gainesville.


The Gators also are 1-0 all-time against 29th-ranked Washington (11-5), with that match also coming in postseason action, as Florida earned the 4-0 victory in the quarterfinals of the 2001 event held in Stone Mountain, Ga. Washington is coached by Jill (Hetherington) Hultquist, who was one of the all-time great letterwinners in Gator history, playing from 1984-87. She earned All-America honors each of her four years and was inducted into the UF Athletic Hall of Fame in 1999.


Florida is 10-0 against Utah (17-7), with the last meeting an 8-1 Gator decision on April 4, 2000 in Gainesville. The Gators and Utes have never played in the NCAA Tournament.


It will have been 40 days since the last time the Gators played at home and Friday’s NCAA First Round match. The last time Florida played in front of its home fans was back on April 4, when the team polished off Kentucky, 4-0. Since then, the Gators have played six consecutive matches on the road.


“We have had a chance to rest and regroup from a tough regular season,” Thornqvist said of the 19-day break since the Gators last played.


Seniors Marrit Boonstra and Anastasia Revzina have helped Florida post a 53-0 home record during their collegiate career.


“Those two seniors have been the backbone of this team,” Thornqvist praised. “They have made everything so easy for everyone around them, including the coaches.”


Through the end of the regular-season, Florida sports an overall program-record 80-match home win streak, including 13 wins in postseason play (SEC and NCAA Tournament). The Gators set a new standard with their 6-1 victory over Mississippi State on March 29, 2009, passing the previous record of 60.


The last time the Gators fell at home was on May 15, 2004, in the second round of the NCAA Tournament to Miami (Fla.), 4-3.


Florida, which has won 17 consecutive matches entering the NCAA Championship where the Gators are 11-0 all-time in the NCAA Round of 64. The 17-match run is the longest since the Gators also won 17 in a row during the 2008 season, before being tripped up by Georgia, 4-3, in the SEC Tournament final.


Rookies Lauren Embree and Allie Will helped Florida sweep the top two individual SEC postseason awards. Embree is the first freshman in the history of the conference to be named the league’s Player of the Year. It is the seventh different time a Gator has collected the league’s top player honor. Will was recognized as the SEC Freshman of the Year, becoming the third different Gator to receive the award.


“They are so different than typical freshmen,” Thornqvist said. “They brought in a wealth of experience and have shown that they are tough and resilient.”


NCAA Women’s Tennis Regional Information

What: NCAA Team Championships First & Second Rounds

When: First Round: May 14 - Washington vs. Utah, 11 a.m.

      Florida vs. South Carolina St., 1 p.m.

      Second Round: May 15 - First Round winners, 3 p.m.

Where: Gainesville, Fla.

Facility: Linder Stadium at Ring Tennis Complex (1,000)

Web Site (live scoring):

Television Coverage: none; Team Finals only - LIVE on ESPNU, 2 PM ... tape delay on ESPN2 at 10:30 pm

Post-Match Feed: none from Regionals

Ticket Info: ALL-SESSION Pass - $10 for adults & $5 for senior citizens, college students & children under 17. SINGLE DAY tickets for Friday and Saturday - $5 for adults & $3 for senior citizens, college students and children under 17; SINGLE DAY tickets for Sunday are $3.00 for everyone



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