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The Gators play Michigan on Thursday in the NCAA Round of 16.

Wednesday May 16, 2012Women's Tennis Plays Michigan in NCAA Round of 16 on Thursday

Athens, GA

The Gators play Michigan on Thursday in the NCAA Round of 16.

The second-seeded and defending NCAA champion Florida women’s tennis team plays Michigan in the NCAA Championships Round of 16 on Thursday beginning at 7 p.m. ET at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex on the campus of the University of Georgia.

 

The 2012 Championships marks the 29th time in the 31-year history of the event that the Gators will play in the NCAA Round of 16.

 

The NCAA Round of 16 match will be the third all-time meeting and second in NCAA action between Florida and No. 15 Michigan (21-7). Florida is 2-0 all-time against Michigan, taking the 5-2 decision on Feb. 12, 2010 in the ITA National Team Indoor Round of 16 and the 5-0 victory on May 15, 1997, in the NCAA Round of 16.

 

Florida is 25-3 all-time in round of 16 contests.

 

“We’re ready,” said UF head coach Roland Thornqvist, who guided the Gators to the 2003 and 2011 national championships. “We’re hitting the ball really well. We’re moving well. We watched Michigan for a little bit and we’re going to have our hands full with them, clearly. They have three freshmen in the lineup like we did last year and I think during some part of the year they were searching for their identity just like we were. The fact that they are in the Sweet 16 tells you that they are playing awfully well. They have a really big hitter at the number one position and a really big hitter at two. I just hope we can get a lot of balls in play.”

 

The Gators (23-1) defeated South Carolina State, 4-0, and Washington State, 6-0, to advance to Athens, Ga., for the round of 16 and the remainder of the tournament.

 

This is the seventh time since 1987 that the Gators are the No. 2 seed in the NCAA Championships. Florida is 27-3 when playing as the No. 2 seed, winning NCAA titles in 1998, 2003 and 2011, while finishing as runner-up 1990.

 

Lauren Embree (Marco Island, Fla.) and Joanna Mather (Duluth, Ga.) have won a team-leading 22 consecutive doubles matches together. It is a career-best streak as a tandem, passing the 16-match run set last season. The 22-match win streak, which is tied for the third longest in program history, is part of the tandem’s overall record of 51-7, which includes a career 47-1 mark in dual match action that ranks second all-time in program history for a tandem in team competition (Jennifer Magley and Zerene Reyes were 66-8 from 2003-05).

 

Mather, the lone senior on the 2011-12 squad, is having the best year of her collegiate career. Mather enters the NCAA Round of 16 with a team-best 31 singles wins, also the most she has recorded in a season. She also enters the NCAA Round of 16 with 210 combined singles (102) and doubles (108) wins. She is the 16th Gator to reach the 200-victory plateau.

 

Embree has won 15 consecutive matches on the singles court, where she has compiled an overall 26-5 record this year, including a 19-2 mark in dual matches.

 

Junior All-American Allie Will (Boca Raton, Fla.), the No. 1-ranked singles and one-half of the No. 1-ranked doubles team, enters the NCAA Round of 16 with a 22-1 overall record, 17-1 in dual match play and sports a nine-match win streak.

 

Florida has won 18 consecutive matches overall entering Thursday contest against the Wolverines.

 

Live scoring and video will be provided free throughout the NCAA Championships by the University of Georgia at:

http://www.georgiadogs.com/sports/m-tennis/spec-rel/ncaa-2012.html

 

 

 

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