Monday May 24, 2010W-Tennis Defeats North Carolina to Reach NCAA Final
Senior Marrit Boonstra and the Gators advance to the NCAA final.
Senior Marrit Boonstra
(The Netherlands) and freshmen Allie
The third-seeded Gators (29-2) will play eighth-seeded Stanford (25-1) in the national championship match on Tuesday, May 25 beginning at 2 p.m. The dual match will air live on ESPNU, with a tape-delayed showing that evening on ESPN2 beginning at 10:30 p.m.
GatorVision also is in
“This is my sixth ‘final four’ in nine years at Florida at it never gets old,” said UF head coach Roland Thornqvist, who guided the Gators to the 2003 NCAA title. “Entering the round of 16, we talked about being prepared for the ultimate, so that no matter how everything finished that we could look back this summer and know that we did everything we could to prepare. I think we felt that way coming here, which gives us a bit of inner peace. I think it makes us more confident and be loose. We’re just glad to have this opportunity to play for a national championship tomorrow.”
Embree provided the clinching dual match victory, as the Gator rookie defeated UNC senior Sanaz Marand, 6-2, 1-6, 7-5, in two hours and eight minutes. Embree dominated the first set and Marand the second, leaving the third to decide the match. Neither could hold for the first four games until Embree stopped the trend by holding serve in the fifth. The rest of the match featured great points and skilled shots from every corner of the court, remaining on-serve until the 12th game, where Embree capitalized on her first match-point, as her soft lob found its way over Marand and land in the back of the court. The win was Embree’s 16th consecutive and she provided the clinching point for the sixth time.
“We had a really tight match in the fall I knew that it wasn’t going to be easy today,” Embree said. “She picked up her game in the second set and I started making unforced errors. The third set could have gone either way. I had to fight for every point. I knew I had to hang in there. I’m so excited to be in the final. My teammates cheering for me really helped.”
Boonstra was the first to post a singles result, as she defeated Sophie Grabinski, 6-2, 6-2 in one hour and 25 minutes. The Gator senior emerged on the positive side of three straight breaks midway through the first set and held for a 5-2 lead. She got her third break of the frame in the final game to take the set and carry that momentum into the second, where she jumped out to a 3-0 lead. The rest of the set was on-serve until Boonstra was able to close out of the match on Grabinski’s serve, winning her 17th consecutive match and giving Florida a 2-0 lead.
Will gave the Gators a 3-0 lead in the team scoring, as she won her 26th straight singles match with a 6-3, 6-3 victory against senior Katrina Tsang at court number two in 90 minutes. The Gator rookie found herself down 2-0 to start, but broke right back and held for 2-all. She then captured another break and rode that until getting another in the ninth game to break for the first set. The second set began in a similar fashion to the first, as Will found herself down 2-0. She held and was able to break as part of a three-game run to get the set back on-serve. She was able to get an all-important break in the eighth game and served out for the victory.
“The match was a lot closer than the score,” Will shared. “I was lucky to get the break at 4-3. I couldn’t be more excited to be in the final. We’re all so excited. I’ve never felt so great going into a locker room. We’re really looking forward to tomorrow.”
“We showed some real resilience. There were several courts where we could have rolled over because of our play, but showed character and grit and were able to turn a couple of those matches around,” Thornqvist shared. “Once again, Lauren and Allie, two freshmen, keep proving that they’re not traditional freshmen. They are mature in their play and how they compete. They certainly have shown that in this tournament, that they aren’t overwhelmed.
Hitimana and Revzina remained a perfect 8-0 in their pairing, as they raced out to a 7-0 lead. UNC was able to hold and prevent the bagel, but the Gator rookie closed out the match on her serve.
“We played excellent, excellent doubles,” Thornqvist said. “The fact that we got off the court quickly on three doubles was huge for us.”
Cardinal lead the all-time series 14-11 against the
Gators, including a commanding 8-2 record in NCAA meetings. The last time the
two clubs played was in the 2006 NCAA Semifinals, where Stanford took the 4-0
win on its home courts. The Gators won the match prior to that, downing the
Cardinal 4-3 in the 2003 NCAA Final in
NCAA Women’s Tennis Championships Semifinals
Dan Magill Tennis Complex
Monday, May 24, 2010
Complete Team Results
(8) Stanford d. (5) Notre Dame, 4-1
UF’s Individual Match Breakdown
3-Carolina Hitimana/Anastasia Revzina, UF d. Jelena Durisic/Jocelyn Ffriend, UNC 8-1
5-Joanna Mather, UF led Shinann Featherston, UNC, 6-2, 3-6, 4-3 DNF
6-Zoe De Bruycker, UNC led Claire Bartlett, UF 7-5, 2-2 DNF
Order of Finish: Doubles-3, 2*; Singles-3, 2, 1*