Thursday March 14, 2013No. 4 Florida Women's Tennis Hosts No. 12 Georgia Friday at 5 pm
Florida’s remaining schedule features only teams from the Southeastern Conference and this weekend is another big home weekend of matches, as the Gators play host to No. 12 Georgia (10-1, 3-0 SEC) on Friday and No. 44 Tennessee (4-5, 2-1 SEC) on Sunday at the Ring Tennis Complex where admission is free.
The first 250 fans at the Ring Tennis Complex for Friday’s match receive a Gator Tennis Tumbler, while the first 300 in attendance at Sunday’s match receive a Florida Tennis clover-shaped stress ball.
Florida is coming off a 7-0 sweep against South Carolina on Saturday, when the Gamecocks nearly rallied to win the doubles point, but the Gator pair of Carolina Hitmana and Olivia Janowicz pulled through for the 9-7 win to secure the early team lead.
“Against South Carolina we kind of stared the devil in the eye in doubles a little bit and we came away with the win,” UF head coach Roland Thornqvist said. “I was really pleased with that. It could have easily slipped away from us after we lost the fifth game, but I thought Olivia (Janowicz) and Caroline (Hitimana) really regained their composure and finished it. South Carolina played well down the stretch so we had to win it. In singles we looked really, really good. We finished strong, had high ball tolerance and it was the Florida way of playing tennis. There were long rallies we can away with almost all of them. I was very, very happy with our play on Saturday.”
Georgia is 10-1 overall this season, with its lone loss a 4-1 setback to UCLA at the ITA National Team Indoor Championships on February 10.
“I think Georgia is the team to beat in the league,” Thornqvist said. “The SEC overall is really strong. We have four teams in the top-10 and if you can come away with the league title it’s safe to assume that you’re a national contender. By losing to Texas A&M, we’re sort of behind the eight-ball a little bit and we’re going to have to play well. It’s going to be a fiery match and they know what’s at stake, as well.”
Florida holds a 42-14 all-time record against Georgia, including two Gator wins last year when they earned a thrilling 4-3 victory in Athens, before taking the 4-1 decision in the SEC Tournament Final. Florida’s last loss to the Lady Bulldogs was on May 15, 2009, when Georgia claimed the 4-2 final in the 2009 NCAA Round of 16 held in College Station, Texas. The Gators have won four consecutive meetings against the Lady Bulldogs since that setback.
The Gators also hold a 17-1 edge in the series when played in Gainesville, where Georgia has been the only SEC team in program history to capture a win. The Lady Bulldogs defeated Florida, 4-3, on April 7, 2002. Since that loss, the Gators have won 71 home matches against league opponents (and that includes all postseason competitions).
Florida sports an impressive 179-1 all-time home record against SEC opponents.
Florida boasts a remarkable 448-25 all-time home record when playing in Gainesville, including a 6-0 record this season.
Florida is 6-0 at home this season and has extended its overall program-record home winning streak of 113, which includes 19 wins in postseason play (SEC and NCAA Tournament). The Gators set a new standard with their 6-1 victory over Mississippi State on March 29, 2009, passing the previous record of 60. The last time the Gators fell at home was on May 15, 2004, in the second round of the NCAA Tournament to Miami (Fla.), 4-3.
Florida (6-0 at home this season) has won 118 consecutive regular-season home matches - not including SEC Tournament or NCAA Championship events. The current streak is the longest of its kind in program history, passing the 71 in a row compiled from 1994-2001. The Gators last regular-season setback at Linder Stadium was on April 7, 2002, when Georgia defeated Florida, 4-3.
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