Saturday April 16, 2011Women's Tennis Defeats South Carolina, Claims SEC Regular-Season Title Outright
Allie Will won her 75th career singles match.
The top-ranked University of Florida women’s tennis team blanked South Carolina, 7-0, and secured outright the Southeastern Conference regular-season title at Linder Stadium at Ring Tennis Complex on Saturday afternoon.
The win was the Gators’ 25th consecutive regular-season victory against SEC teams, as Florida (22-1) compiled a perfect 11-0 league record for the second straight year. This is the 19th time in the team’s 25 SEC championships it has posted an undefeated conference ledger.
“Going 11-0 in the SEC, I’m really proud of them,” said head coach Roland Thornqvist, who has guided the Gators to seven SEC titles in his 10 years at UF. “You can’t take winning for granted. It’s very important that we celebrate it and I’m very proud of them. They’ve worked really hard all year long. Every day, these guys come to work and it’s a pleasure to be around them.”
· WATCH postmatch interviews with Lauren Embree and Allie Will – FREE courtesy of GatorVision Online
· WATCH the postmatch interview with Coach Roland Thornqvist – FREE courtesy of GatorVision Online
Saturday’s match capped Florida’s regular-season, as the Gators extended their impressive home regular-season win streak to 102 in a row, while being the team’s 93rd consecutive home victory.
Florida began the match winning the doubles point, thanks to victories on courts one and two. The Gators then came out firing on the singles court, racing out to big leads early at several positions
Sofie Oyen (Leopoldsburg, Belgium) continued her impressive rookie campaign by defeating Katerina Popova, 6-4, 6-0, and winning her 10th consecutive match, as she capped her inaugural SEC season with a 9-0 singles record against league foes. Oyen and Popova traded serves twice during the first set, before the Florida freshman held and earned another break in the 10th game to take the opening frame, then cruising in the second en route to giving the Gators a 2-0 lead.
Allie Will (Boca Raton, Fla.) was the next off the court, as she won her 75th career singles match and downed Anya Morgina, 6-2, 6-1, at the No. 1 position. The victory was Will’s ninth consecutive, as she improved to 20-0 versus in SEC dual match play in her two-year career. The Gator sophomore, who has compiled an impressive 75-8 singles record, broke Morgina in the fourth game after holding at love in the first set, before earning one final break, which she also did at love, in the eighth game to punctuate a strong first set. Will also cruised in her second set, jumping out to a 5-0 lead before serving for the win that gave Florida a 3-0 lead.
Junior Joanna Mather (Duluth, Ga.) provided the clinching dual match victory and defeated Dominika Kanakova, 6-2, 6-2, on court four. There were only two breaks in the first set and Mather claimed both, as she began the match with one and then took the other in the seventh game that helped her serve out for the set. She broke again to start the second and earned another in the fifth game for a 4-1 advantage, as the rest of the match was on-serve and Mather capped the victory from the baseline.
Lauren Embree (Marco Island, Fla.) was the fourth match to play out, as the Gator sophomore defeated Dijana Stojic, 6-0, 6-3, and won the 50th singles match of her career, while improving to 18-0 this season. Her two-year record in SEC regular-season dual matches stands at 19-0 following Saturday’s win where Embree held serve throughout. After blanking Stojic n the first set, the second was much tighter, as the frame remained on-serve through the six games before Embree broke and held for a 5-3 lead. She then broke again to end the match and give the Gators a 5-0 lead.
South Carolina (12-9, 4-7 SEC) elected to default the other two matches still in action, giving victories to Alex Cercone (Seminole, Fla.) and Olivia Janowicz (Palm Bay, Fla.). Cercone led her number five singles match against Jiljana Jocic, 6-4, 3-2, while Janowicz held a 7-6 (2), 0-1 advantage over Madeleine Saari-Bystrom when play was called, as the Gator rookies capped their SEC dual match records at 10-1 and 10-0, respectively.
On the doubles court, the number two team of Embree and Oyen posted an 8-3 victory, before Cercone and Will provided the clinching doubles point win with an 8-4 decision on court one. Janowicz and Mather dropped the other doubles match on court three, 8-4.
“I thought we played very well. We played disciplined,” Thornqvist said. “We lost at [the position] three doubles, but I thought we got out played, frankly, so it’s easier to take. I think we’re still on track at three doubles. South Carolina played a really, really good match there and you have to give them a lot of credit there. One and two doubles were very clean. I thought we were very disciplined and cleaned in singles. It was very windy and I read Buddy Alexander’s quote in the newspaper today from the SEC golf tournament and he said it was really windy and “when you play in weather like that you’re never as bad as you think you are.” That’s the same in tennis. When the winds kick up you’re going to make some mistakes and it’s all about how you handle those mistakes. I thought we did a great job today.”
Florida earned the No. 1 seed and a first-round bye in next week’s SEC Tournament, held April 21-24 in Knoxville, Tenn. The complete 12-team draw will be revealed later Saturday.
#38 South Carolina at #1 Florida
Linder Stadium at Ring Tennis Complex
Sat., April 16, 2011
Final Score: Florida 7, South Carolina 0
1. #8 Allie Will/#8 Alex Cercone, UF d. #32 Anya Morgina/#32 Dominika Kanakova, SC, 8-4*
2. #43 Lauren Embree/#43 Sofie Oyen, UF d. Dijana Stojic/Josefin Andersson, SC, 8-3
3. Miljana Jocic/ Katerina Popova, SC d. Olivia Janowicz/Joanna Mather, UF, 8-4
Order of Finish: 2, 1*, 3
1. #7 Allie Will, UF d. #29 Anya Morgina, SC, 6-1, 6-1
2. #20 Lauren Embree, UF d. #82 Dijana Stojic, SC, 6-0, 6-3
3. #104 Sofie Oyen, UF d. #108 Katerina Popova, SC, 6-4, 6-0
4. #37 Joanna Mather, UF d. Dominika Kanakova, SC, 6-2, 6-2*
5. #51 Alex Cercone, UF d. Miljana Jocic, SC, 6-4, 3-2 default
6. #49 Olivia Janowicz, UF d. Madeleine Saari-Bystrom, SC, 7-6 (2), 0-1 default
Order of Finish: 3, 1, 4*, 2, 5, 6