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Caroline Hitimana won her 14th consecutive singles match, which was the 50th win of her career.

Friday April 6, 2012No. 2 Florida Women's Tennis Sweeps Arkansas, Maintains SEC Lead

Gainesville, Fla.

Caroline Hitimana won her 14th consecutive singles match, which was the 50th win of her career.

The No. 2-ranked Florida women’s tennis team swept Arkansas, 7-0, on what became a windy and chilly Friday evening at Linder Stadium at Ring Tennis Complex, as the Gators maintained their overall lead in the Southeastern Conference standings with two matches remaining.


The Gators next play host to LSU on Sunday at 1 p.m. in their regular-season home finale. With a win against the Tigers, Florida can clinch at least a share of the program’s 26th SEC regular-season championship in the 33 years the league has sponsored the sport. The Gators hold a one-match lead against Alabama, which upset Georgia on Friday and handed the Lady Bulldogs their second SEC loss of the year. The Crimson Tide are 8-1 in SEC play, with their only loss coming to the Gators.


Florida (16-1, 9-0 SEC) won its 11th consecutive match while extending its program-record home winning streak to 104 straight victories. Friday’s win also was the team’s 34th in a row in SEC regular-season action.


“I thought we played well and were really professional in our body language and composure and that was the highlight of the day,” UF head coach Roland Thornqvist said. “We had some really good first sets with them and I was really pleased with the way we handled ourselves.”


The Gators captured the doubles point as the teams of Alexandra Cercone (Seminole, Fla.) and Sofie Oyen (Leopoldsburg, Belgium) won 8-1 on court two in 37 minutes before the veteran pair of Joanna Mather (Duluth, Ga.) and Lauren Embree (Marco Island, Fla.) earned an 8-3 victory on court one to clinch the initial team point for Florida.


Cercone and Oyen needed 37 minutes for the first individual win of the dual match. It was the first dual match pairing for Cercone and Oyen, who compiled a 5-1 record together during the fall season.


For Mather, the doubles victory was the 99th of her four-year career, needing one more to become the 13th Gator to win as many. The win also was the 14th straight of the tandem of Embree and Mather.


Caroline Hitimana (Waterloo, Belgium) and Olivia Janowicz (Palm Bay, Fla.) completed the doubles sweep for Florida, as the pair earned a break in the seventh game, which was the lone break in the 8-game pro set, en route to the 8-6 decision. The Gators captured the match on their fifth match point opportunity, including their fourth one in the 12th and final game.


“It was tough to play in the wind and I thought we handled ourselves well,” Thornqvist said. “Arkansas has good players. Players who are skilled with big weapons and I thought we did well.”


Mather played a season-high No. 2 in the singles lineup and improved to 2-0 in her career at the No. 2 spot when she earned a 6-1, 6-2 victory against Emily Carbone and earned her 10th consecutive singles win. Carbone began the match breaking Mather’s serve, but that would be her only break in the match, as Mather dominated the rest of the contest to give Florida a 2-0 lead in the team scoring.


Oyen was the next Gator off the court, as she produced a 6-4, 6-2 win against Claudine Paulson on court three, where she was playing for just the second time this season. After the two competitors exchanged serves to begin the match, Oyen took another break in the fifth game and the rest of the set was on-serve, as the Gators sophomore served out for the frame. She then jumped out to a two-break, 3-1 lead, before Paulson broke back. Oyen, however, dug deep and won the final three games, capped by breaking Paulson at love to win the match and give Florida a 3-0 lead.


Janowicz and Cercone were playing the final point on their respective singles courts, with Janowicz finished just ahead to produce the clinching dual match victory, 6-4, 6-1 against Cartherine Parenteau on court six. Cercone followed seconds later with a 6-4, 6-3 win against Laurie Gingras on court four that gave Florida a 5-0 lead.


Less than a minute later junior Allie Will (Boca Raton, Fla.) finished off Stephanie Roy, 6-3, 6-1, and improved to 20-1 on the singles court this year, as well as 103-11 in her career.


Hitimana was the last off the court, as she defeated Kate Lukomskaya, 6-4, 6-2, on court five and earned her 50th career singles victory after having won her 49th career doubles match earlier in the contest.



No. 40 Arkansas at No. 2 Florida

Linder Stadium at Ring Tennis Complex

Gainesville, Fla.


Friday, April 06, 2012


Final Score: Florida 7, Arkansas 0


Doubles (order of finish: 2, 1*, 3)

1. Joanna Mather/Lauren Embree (13), UF d. Laurie Gringras/Claudine Paulson, AR, 8-3*

2. Alexandra Cercone/Sofie Oyen, UF d. Emily Carbone/Stephanie Roy, AR, 8-1

3. Caroline Hitimana/Olivia Janowicz, UF d. Kate Lukomskaya/Catherine Parenteau, AR, 8-6


Singles (order of finish: 2, 3, 6*, 4, 1, 5)

1. Allie Will (1), UF d. Stephanie Roy, AR, 6-3, 6-1

2. Joanna Mather (19), UF d. Emily Carbone, AR, 6-1, 6-2

3. Sofie Oyen (42), UF d. Claudine Paulson, AR, 6-4, 6-2

4. Alexandra Cercone (64), UF d. Laurie Gringras, AR, 6-4, 6-3

5. Caroline Hitimana (123), UF d. Kate Lukomskaya, AR 6-4, 6-2

6. Olivia Janowicz, UF d. Catherine Parenteau, AR, 6-4, 6-1*


Records: Florida 16-1, 9-0 SEC; Arkansas 10-10, 2-7 SEC


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