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Brianna Morgan and the Gators host South Carolina State in the NCAA First Round.

Thursday May 8, 2014Gators Host NCAA First Round on Friday

Gainesville, Fla.

Brianna Morgan and the Gators host South Carolina State in the NCAA First Round.

It has been an unfamiliar and uncomfortable 21 days since Florida last played and when it will take the court on Friday at 3 p.m. against South Carolina State in the first round of the NCAA Women’s tennis Championships held at Linder Stadium at Ring Tennis Complex.

 

April 28 was the last match the Gators played and it was a tough 4-3 loss to then-No. 8 Texas A&M in the quarterfinals of the Southeastern Conference Tournament.

 

Florida has had 21 days to think about that loss. At 3 p.m. on Friday, however, the Gators can finally turn their focus on a different opponent and a different goal.

 

The Gators were selected to play host to the first and second rounds of the NCAA Championships, May 9 and 10. The winner of that second round match advances to the championship site in Athens, Georgia, for the remainder of the tournament.

 

NCAA Opening Rounds at a Glance

What: NCAA First & Second Rounds

Who: No. 33 South Florida (18-3) vs. No. 22 Oklahoma State (15-8)

     >>> Fri., May 9 at 12 Noon

Who: South Carolina State (13-5) vs. No. 8 Florida (19-5)

     >>> Fri., May 9 at 3 p.m.

Where: Linder Stadium at Ring Tennis Complex * Gainesville, Florida

NCAA Second Round: Sat., May 10 at 3 p.m.

Tickets: http://www.gatorzone.com/tennis/tour/ncaa/2014/?p=tickets

NCAA First & Second Round Website: http://www.gatorzone.com/tennis/tour/ncaa/2014/

 

Doubles the Fun

·         Florida changed its doubles lineup for the NCAA Championships.

·         In its official NCAA lineup, two of the three Gator doubles teams have never played a match.

·         Senior Alexandra Cercone and freshman Kourtney Keegan will play the No. 1 spot. Keegan has played at least one match with each of her teammates except for Cercone.

·         Senior Brianna Morgan is paired with freshman Stefani Stojic at the No. 3 position. The NCAAs are the first time these two will have played a match together.

·         Senior Sofie Oyen and freshman Belinda Woolcock are 8-7 in dual matches this year and will assume the No. 2 spot.

 

Quoting UF Head Coach Roland Thornqvist:

On changing the doubles lineup:

“Sometimes you need to (change the doubles pairings), partnerships evolve, players change. In my 13 years here, we’ve changed our doubles lineup every year. We’re excited about these new pairings. We’re hoping to achieve a spark.”

 

On the 21-day break between matches:

“On the back end of a nine month season without competing for three weeks can be really rough. You can only practice so much. We’ve tried to have a theme for every practice to keep them entertained and I do think the doubles switch has helped. It’s given us something different to focus on.”

 

On playing at home:

“We’ve won every match we’ve played here for the last 10 years so we like playing at home. Certainly the fans, the weather, all play a part in our success at home. Generally, our players just play better on our home courts. On Friday, I’m sure we’ll be rusty, that goes without saying after three weeks of not competing. I’m hoping that we can play our way through that, build some confidence and play again on Saturday (in the second round).”

 

Florida at the NCAA Championships

·         Florida is making its 32nd appearance in the 33-year history of the NCAA Championships, missing only the 1986 event.

·         The Gators boast a 98-25 all-time record in the NCAA Championships.

·         They have won six NCAA team titles: 1992, 1996, 1998, 2003, 2011 & 2012.

·         Florida has reached the semifinals of the NCAA Championships 23 times in the last 27 years (including 2013), with 13 trips to the NCAA final.

·         In 1996, Florida became only the second team in NCAA women’s tennis history to sweep the team, singles and doubles titles.

 

Gators vs. South Carolina State

·         Florida is 4-0 all-time against South Carolina State.

·         All meetings have come in NCAA play and all were 4-0 Gator sweeps.

·         Last meeting against SCST was a 4-0 in the 2012 NCAA First Round.

·         Other meetings: 2005, 2010 & 2011 NCAA First Rounds.

 

Gators vs. Oklahoma State

·         Florida is 6-0 all-time against Oklahoma State, including a 3-0 record at home.

·         The Gators won the last meeting, a 4-0 decision on Jan. 31, 2009, in the first round of the ITA National Indoors Championships in Gainesville.

·         The teams have met only once in NCAA play, with Florida holding the lone victory, 5-0.

·         The NCAA meeting was in the 1996 Round of 16 played in Tallahassee, where the Gators went on to their second of six NCAA titles.

 

Gators vs. South Florida

·         Florida is 51-1 all-time against South Florida.

·         Florida has a 30-0 record playing the Bulls at home.

·         Last meeting against South Florida was a 7-0 Gator victory in Gainesville on Jan. 29, 2013.

·         Florida’s lone loss in the series was a 5-3 setback on April 1, 1986, in Tampa. Since that loss, the Gators have won 24 consecutive matches against the Bulls.

·         UF is 2-0 against USF in NCAA play, with the Gators winning 4-0 in the 2006 round of 32 and taking the 4-1 victory in the 2007 round of 32. Both matches were played in Gainesville.

 

First Round Success

·         Since the NCAA expanded the field to 64 teams, Florida has been a perfect 15-0 in first-round matches.

·         The Gators are 14-1 in the round of 32, 27-3 in round of 16 contests, 23-4 in the quarterfinals, 13-10 in the semifinals and 6-7 in the title match.

 

UF as the NCAA No. 8 Seed

·         This is the first time the Gators have been the No. 8 seed.

·         The No. 8 seed is UF’s second-highest since 2009 when the Gators were the No. 15 seed.

·         Seeding for the NCAA began with the 1987 event.

 

Aiming for Perfection at Home!

·         Florida sports a 10-0 home record in 2014 entering the NCAA Championships.

·         The Gators have produced 23 undefeated home seasons in program history.

 

131 and Counting

·         Florida is 10-0 at home this season and has extended its overall program-record home winning streak of 131, which includes 21 wins in postseason play (SEC and NCAA Tournament).

·         The streak is the longest active home win streak of any NCAA Division I women’s team, in any sport

·         The streak is the second-longest active home win streak on any NCAA Division I team, trailing only the run by the Ohio State men’s tennis team

·         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.

 

Oyen Close to 100-Doubles Win Club

·         Senior Sofie Oyen enters the NCAA first round with 99 career doubles wins.

·         Only 15 Gators have won 100 career doubles matches.

·         The last Gator who won reached the doubles milestone was Lauren Embree last year, when she paired with Oyen to earn her 100th career doubles win.

 

Oyen Closing in on Another Milestone

·         Sofie Oyen already boasts 100 career singles victories and enters the NCAA first round with 99 career doubles wins.

·         If she’s able to secure one more doubles win, Oyen would become only the ninth Gator to win 100 singles and 100 doubles matches in a career

·         Gators who have won 100 singles and 100 doubles career matches: Nicole Arendt, Dawn Buth, Lauren Embree, Jessica Lehnhoff, Stephanie Nickitas, Nina Suvak, Joanna Mather and Zerene Reyes.

 

 

For all of the latest information on Florida women’s tennis:

Official Website: http://www.gatorzone.com/tennis/women/

Twitter: @GatorZoneWTN

Facebook: FloridaGatorTennis

 

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