Sunday April 14, 2013Women's Tennis Wins Share of SEC Regular-Season Championship
The Gators won their fourth consecutive SEC title.
The Gators won their fourth consecutive SEC title.
Florida earned a hard-fought 4-1 road win against No. 18 Vanderbilt at the Currey Tennis Center in Nashville and won its fourth consecutive Southeastern Conference regular-season championship.
On the final day of the regular season, the second-ranked Gators (19-2, 11-1 SEC) earned a share of the league title with third-ranked Texas A&M and fourth-ranked Georgia.
This is Florida’s 27th SEC overall championship in the 34-years the league has sponsored the sport, making the Gator women’s tennis team the winningest of any SEC women’s team in any sport.
The title also marks the fourth consecutive SEC championship, as seniors Lauren Embree (Marco Island, Fla.) and Caroline Hitimana (Waterloo, Belgium) the first four-year class to win the title every year under head coach Roland Thornqivst, who recorded his 295th victory in 12 years with the Gators, whom he has guided to a 295-33 record.
“I’m really happy for Caroline and Lauren to win four straight SEC Championships,” Thornqvist said. “It’s something we can’t take for granted. We’ve been blessed to have won quite a few here but we must always keep in mind how difficult it is to win in this league. This year is a great example of that with three teams among the top four in the country. I’ve very proud of them, their hard work and the example they’ve set for many years to come.”
Sunday’s win didn’t come easy for Florida, which lost the doubles point for the seventh time this season, but regrouped on the singles court to secure the victory, with Olivia Janowicz (Palm Bay, Fla.), Alexandra Cercone (Seminole, Fla.), Embree and Sofie Oyen (Leopoldsburg, Belgium) garnishing wins.
“Vanderbilt played really well in doubles. It was really windy and they utilized the wind really well. We struggled a little with our decision making in the win but once singles started we got off to a fast start. That set the tone immediately in singles. Vandy stormed back and forced a couple three-setters. We had to move indoors for the final 10 minutes because of the weather, but we really took command indoors. Brianna got up 3-0 in the third set really quick. Sofie took care of business and Caroline was at match-point when Sofie clinched it. I felt really good about the match.”
Oyen provide the clinching match heroics, as she rallied for a 3-6, 6-3, 6-4 victory over Courtney Colton on court two. The final set was tied at 4-all with the Gator junior winning the final two games to secure the team victory, as well as the 80th win of her singles career and improving to 25-2 all-time in SEC regular-season dual matches.
Embree gave the Gators a 3-1 lead after she defeated Lauren Mira 6-2, 6-1 on court one. The talented Gator senior capped her SEC regular-season career with a perfect 39-0 singles record during her four-year tenure. Embree, who won her 34th consecutive singles dual match and the 16th straight overall, improved to 15-0 in dual matches this season, including a 10-0 mark in league play.
Janowicz tied the team scoring at 1-1 when her 7-5, 6-1 win against Ashleigh Antal. The win was the Gator junior’s ninth consecutive singles victory and her team-leading 30th of the season, as she improved to 30-6 overall, as well as 15-2 in dual matches and 9-1 in the SEC.
Cercone capped her 6-1, 6-3 win against Georgina Sellyn shortly after Janowicz’s victory and gave Florida its first lead of the dual match. The Gator junior also recorded her ninth straight singles win, as she improved to 89-26 in her singles career, including a 14-1 dual match record this year, 9-1 in league play.
Freshman Brianna Morgan (Beverly Hills, Calif.) had a chance to provide the clinching singles win, as she won her first set against Marie Casares and rallied from a 5-2 deficit in the second to force a tiebreaker. But the Gator rookie couldn’t close out the frame and her match moved into the third set where she held a 4-3 lead when play was abandoned.
Hitimana held a 6-3, 5-4 lead in her match against Frances Altick when Oyen ended the dual match.
No. 2 Florida at No. 18 Vanderbilt
Currey Tennis Center
Sunday, April 14, 2013
Final: Florida def. Vanderbilt, 4-1
Doubles (order of finish: 2, 3, 1*)
1. Courtney Colton/Lauren Mira (21), VU d. Lauren Embree/Sofie Oyen (17), UF, 8-4*
2. Alexandra Cercone/Caroline Hitimana, UF d. Ashleigh Antal/Marie Casares, VU, 8-3
3. Frances Altick/Georgina Sellyn, VU d. Danielle Collins/Brianna Morgan, UF, 8-5
Singles (order of finish: 5, 3, 1, 2*)
1. Lauren Embree (1), UF d. Lauren Mira (59), VU 6-2, 6-1
2. Sofie Oyen (13), UF d. Courtney Colton, VU, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4*
3. Alexandra Cercone (57), UF d. Georgina Sellyn (83), VU, 6-1, 6-3
4. Brianna Morgan (104), UF led Marie Casares, VU, 6-1, 6-7, 3-2 DNF
5. Olivia Janowicz (125), UF d. Ashleigh Antal, VU 7-5, 6-1
6. Caroline Hitimana (120), UF led Frances Altick, VU, 6-3, 5-4 DNF
RECORDS: Florida 19-2, 12-1 SEC; Vanderbilt 14-10, 7-6 SEC
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