Thursday May 20, 2010Women's Tennis Wins Battle vs. Ole Miss to Reach NCAA Quarterfinals
photos by Steve Colquitt and Kathy Cafazzo
The Gators won their 20th consecutive match and reached the NCAA Quarterfinals for the 24th time in the 29-year history of the event, but the victory didn’t come as easily as the score might seem.
a very, very good Ole Miss. We played them a month and half ago and we knew we
would see a very different Ole Miss team than we did back in
won a tough doubles point, as the No. 1 team of Marrit Boonstra (The Netherlands) and Allie Will (Boca Raton, Fla.) overcame an early break to defeat Ole
Miss’ 12th-ranked pair of Kristi Boxx and Karen Nijssen, 8-6.
“I was happy to see that we performed under pressure,” Thornqvist said. “We lost at No. 2 doubles which is very rare. We haven’t done that a lot this year. That shook us up a little, but the No. 1 court came though under pressure and was able to clinch it for us. No. 3 played well right from the start.”
The Gators jumped out quickly on several of the singles courts and appeared well on their way to a convincing team win. Ole Miss refused to fold and fought until the final point, making the Gator faithful in the stands a bit uncomfortable toward the end of the dual match until freshman Lauren Embree (Marco Island, Fla.) provided the clinching heroics with a 6-4, 7-6 (4) victory over Kristi Boxx at the No. 1 position in just under two hours.
Embree put the finishing touches on
Boonstra, who was named the SEC Tournament MVP a few weeks ago on these same courts, picked up right where she left off during Florida’s last visit to the Magill Tennis Complex. The Gator senior gave the Gators a 2-0 lead when she defeated Connor Vogel, 6-1, 6-2, in one hour on the No. 3 court. Boonstra never lost her serve en route to winning her 16th consecutive singles match and improving to 25-3 this season.
next off the court, as she downed Karen Nijssen, 6-1, 6-2, at the No. 2 spot
three moments later, providing
Freshman Carolina Hitimana (
Sophomore Joanna Mather (
Senior Anastasia Revzina (
Embree and Boxx exchanged breaks midway through the first set, which remained on-serve until the Gator rookie was able to break in the 10th game to take the opening frame, 6-4. Embree then jumped out to a 3-0 lead before Boxx managed a break in the fifth game and held to get things back on-serve. The match remained that way and needed a tiebreaker to determine the second set. Embree held and took a mini-break for a 2-0 lead en route to a 4-1 advantage. Boxx held her next two serves and took one of two from Embree to tighten things at 5-4, with Boxx heading to the baseline for the next two serves. Embree buckled down and won the last two points to win the match 6-4, 7-6 (4) and help the Gators win their 20th consecutive dual match for the first time since a 53-match winning streak that began on Feb. 11, 1998 and ended on April 25, 1999, in the SEC Tournament final by Ole Miss.
“This is the first time a pressure match has come down to Lauren’s court,” Thornqvist said. “Even though there were other matches still being played, in the back of her mind I think she thought that she would be the one to clinch. I was really happy to see her performance at the end. She had a chance to win it before the tiebreak, but Kristi Boxx played a good point on our match-point. It came down to playing good tennis under pressure and Lauren hit a big forehand winner to win it for us.”
and Hurricanes have not played each other since Feb. 18, 2007, when
“I told our team after the match in the locker room that you can’t come to this event and not expect to be pushed. If you’re going to be a champion, you’re going to have to get through tight spots and play your best when nerves come into play,” Thornqvist said. “Sometimes it’s things other than serves, forehands and backhands and will decide a match. Today, I think that we showed that not only are we a good tennis team and we’re young with a lot of freshmen, but we also showed a lot of grit and that’s what it’s going to take to advance.”
NCAA Women’s Tennis Championships Round of 16
Dan Magill Tennis Complex
Thursday, May 20, 2010
2- Connor Vogel/Gabby Rangel, UM d. #29 Lauren Embree/Joanna Mather, UF 9-7
3-Carolina Hitimana/Anastasia Revzina, UF d. Abby Guthrie/Laura van de Stroet, UM 8-4
4- Abby Guthrie, UM d. #102 Anastasia Revzina, UF 6-4, 6-4
5- Laura van de Stroet, UM led Joanna Mather, UF6-2, 3-6, 5-4 DNF
6- Gabby Rangel, UM led #106 Caroline Hitimana, UF, 7-5, 5-7, 1-0 DNF
Order of Finish: Doubles- 3, 2, 1*; Singles-3, 2, 4, 1*
Records: Florida 27-2; Ole Miss 17-6