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Whitney Laiho
  • (LAY-ho)
  • Senior, 5-9, Right-handed
  • Newport, R.I. (ESI International Academy (S.C.))

CAREER NOTES: Career-high ITA singles ranking: 3 (Preseason 1999- 00)... Career-high ITA doubles ranking: 1 (Final ranking in 2001 with Jessica Lehnhoff)... Five-time All-American (1999, 2000 & 2001 Singles All-American... 2000 & 2001 Doubles All-American) ... captured the 2001 NCAA Doubles Champion with Lehnhoff ... three-time SEC Academic Honor Roll member ... one of six players in the country named to the 2001 USA Tennis Collegiate Team, which she also was selected to in 1999 and 2000, sponsored by the USTA & ITA.

AS A SENIOR (2000-01)
NCAA Doubles Champion ... Singles All-American ... Doubles All-American ... ITA National Doubles Team of the Month (with Jessica Lehnhoff) for April after going 5-0 ... First Team All-SEC Doubles (No. 1 position) ... Second Team All-SEC Singles ... SEC Academic Honor Roll ... Rheau Stakeley Sportsmanship Award (team award).
Final ITA rank: 7; Season-high ITA rank: 3 (Preseason); Primary dual match position: No. 1; record against ranked opponents: 11-7; record in three-set matches: 3-1
Reached the second round of the NCAA Singles Champi-onships ... became the 16th Gator to win 100 career matches with a 7-5, 4-6, 6-3 upset victory against No. 3 Michelle Dasso of Notre Dame in the third round of the NCAA Team Championships (May 17) ... two of her five losses this season were against Duke’s No. 2- ranked Ansely Cargill, who defeated her the second time in a 7-5, 6-3 decision which clinched the 4-3 dual match win for the Blue Devils (March 28) ... avenged her regular season loss to Georgia’s Aarthi Venkatesan with an impressive 6-3, 6-4 victory in the semifinals of the SEC Tournament (April 21) ... advanced to the finals of the adidas College Invitational - her first event of the year -after defeating a pair of nationally ranked opponents which included No. 3 Michelle Dasso from Notre Dame 6-2, 6-2, and losing to No. 2 Ansley Cargill of Duke 3-6, 6-4, 6-1.
Fall: Did not play.
Doubles: Final & Season-high ITA rank: 1 (Final ranking with Jessica Lehnhoff); Primary dual match position: No. 1 (with Lehnhoff)
Spring: Teammed with Lehnhoff to win the NCAA Doubles Championships with a 4-6, 6-1, 6-3 victory over Stanford’s Laura Granville and Gabriel Lastra in the final ... defeated top-ranked Lauren Barnikow and Lauren Kalvaria from Stanford 6-2, 6-3 in the semifinals of the doubles championships ... brought a perfect 25-0 overall record with Lehnhoff entering the NCAA Championships, including a 20-0 record in dual match action and a 10-0 mark in the SEC ... have been pushed to a pro-set tiebreaker twice, including in the thrilling comeback against Georgia’s Agata Cioroch and Tina Hojnik when Laiho and Lehnhoff were trailing 5-1 and receiving: The next four games in the match featured service breaks, with the Lady Bulldog duo taking a 6-3 lead. Laiho then held serve before the Gators earned another service break to close to 6-5. But on the next game, UF couldn’t hold and Cioroch was serving for the match at 7-5. Florida broke right back and the teams held serve over the next three games to force a tiebreak, where the Gators jumped out to a 4-1 lead and never looked back en route to the 9-8 (2) victory.
Fall: Played with Lehnhoff in her only tournament and was declared co-champion at the ITA South Regional Championships after rain soaked the final day of competition, when the duo reached the final.

AS A JUNIOR (1999-00)
Honors: Singles All-American... Doubles All-American... Rheau Stakeley Sportsmanship Award (team award)... Second-Team All-SEC (singles)... Second-Team All-SEC (doubles)... SEC Player of the Week (March 13-19)... SEC Academic Honor Roll.
Singles: Season-high ITA rank: 3 (Preseason 1999-00); Final rank: 7; Primary dual match position: No. 1... earned a bid to compete in the NCAA Singles Championships, where she reached the third round losing to VCU’s Andrea Ondrisova 0-6, 7-5, 7-5 ... clinched UF’s NCAA first round win with a 6-1, 6-4 victory over BCC’s Dorota Galowacka... played the No. 1 singles position in every dual match this season... ended the regular season with a 6-4, 4-6, 6-0 upset win over Georgia’s sixth-ranked Aarthi Venkatesan in the SEC Tournament final, helping UF upend the second-ranked Bulldogs for the title... rallied for remarkable comeback against Vanderbilt’s Julie Ditty in the SEC Tournament semifinals: Laiho was ripped 6-1 in the first set and was receiving down 5-4 in the second, but she broke Ditty’s serve twice to take the second set 7-5. In the decisive third set, Laiho jumped out to a 5-2 lead behind her serve. Ditty held and then broke Laiho and was serving, down 5-4. But Laiho dug deep and broke Ditty in the next game to secure the grueling 1-6, 7-5, 6-4 victory which gave UF a 4-2 lead after singles and avenged her only SEC singles loss of the year... posted an easy 6-3, 6-1 upset win over 19 th -ranked Chin Bee Khoo of Arkansas... provided the clinching team point in Florida’s 9-0 shutout over North Carolina... upset 29th-ranked Janet Walker 6-1, 6-2 in the UF’s 5-1 win over Texas... only fall tournament played was the ITA South Regional, where she reached the third round... rested most of the fall due to mononucleosis... versus nationally ranked opponents: 14-7... in three-set matches: 7-3.
Doubles: Season-high ITA rank: 9 (April 12 with Jessica Lehnhoff); Final rank: 15 (with Lehnhoff); Primary dual match position: No. 1 (with Jessica Lehnhoff)... earned a bid to compete in the NCAA Doubles Championships (with Lehnhoff), where the pair lost to sixth-ranked Ipek Senoglu and Paola Palencia of Pepperdine 7-6 (3), 6-3 in the first round... only seen dual match doubles action... played No. 1 position every dual match this season... provided the team’s clinching dual match point with an 8-5 win over Vanderbilt’s 11 th -ranked Blumberg & Burson.

AS A SOPHOMORE (1998-99)
Honors: Singles All-American... ITA South Region Player to Watch... Evelyn Puckett Most Improved Player (team award)... second team All-SEC in singles... second team All-SEC in doubles (with Hazlett)... SEC Academic Honor Roll... represented the U.S. team versus Great Britain Oct. 27-31 in the Maureen Connolly Challenge.
Singles: Season-high ITA rank: 6 (final); Final rank: 6; Primary dual match position: No. 1... earned her first bid into NCAA Singles Championships and reached the round of 16 before falling to Arkansas’ Maria Pavlidou 0-6, 6-4, 7-6 (4)... provided the clinching team point during UF’s NCAA first round win, when she defeated Klara Miklikova 6-3, 6-0... played at the No. 1 dual match position for all except the three, when she played the No. 2 spot... 1-3 record against top-10 ranked opponents, with two of those losses coming after a three-set battle against players ranked No. 2 and No. 4... versus nationally ranked opponents: 21-9... in three-set matches: 5- 4.
Doubles: Season-high ITA rank: 27 (May 4 with Stephanie Hazlett); Final rank: 30; Primary dual match position: No. 2... earned a spot into the NCAA Doubles Championships (with Hazlett) and reached the round of 16 before losing to seventh-ranked Lawrence & Senoglu from Pepperdine 6-1, 6-4... defeated Wisconsin’s Gable & Urbanska 6-2, 6-3 in the first round... dropped the clinching NCAA final dual match point, losing to Stanford’s Irvin & Tokuda 8-4... upset 10 th -ranked Michelle Eberle and Celeste Frey from Mississippi 8-5 in the finals of the SEC Tournament... reached the finals of the Gator Fall Classic, before losing 8-2 to teammates Jessica Lehnhoff and Stephanie Nickitas...

SUMMER OF 1998 Competed in the Junior French Open and Junior Wimbledon among other tournaments.

AS A FRESHMAN (1997-98)
Honors: First team All-SEC at No. 4 singles... Rheua Stakeley Sportsmanship Award (team award).
Singles: Final ITA rank: 76; Primary dual match positions: Nos. 3 & 4... finished the season on an 18-match winning streak... won all four of her matches at the NCAA Team Championship... provided the clinching team point in UF’s 5-1 victory over Georgia in the NCAA Semifinals, defeating Christa Grey 6-3, 6-7 (4), 6-4 at the no. 4 position... joined the Gator squad in January, earning her high school diploma one semester early... her lone loss of the year was a 6-3, 1-6, 6-2 defeat to Notre Dame’s nationally-ranked Marissa Velasco on March 11... was the only Gator to compete in singles in every dual match... won the first eight singles matches of her collegiate career, including a 6-2, 6-0 pasting of Florida State’s Helena Karlsson in her debut... boasts a career 14-0 record against SEC opponents in dual match action... 6-1 in three-set matches.
Doubles: Final ITA rank: none; Primary dual match position: No. 2 with Stephanie Hazlett... filled in for the injured Traci Green at the No. 2 position, where she & Hazlett posted a 7-1 record, all in dual match play.

PRIOR TO FLORIDA Whitney Laiho trained at the Van Der Meer Tennis Academy in Hilton Head, S.C. steadily since her junior year in 1996...played tennis at Middletown High school in Middletown, R.I., her freshman and sophomore years, winning the individual state championship her freshman season...won the U.S. Hard Courts in Baltimore, Md., August of 1997...advanced to the finals of the Junior Nationals and Indoors... reached the quarterfinals of the Junior U.S. Open... also considered Duke before choosing Florida.

PERSONAL Full name is Whitney Catherine Laiho... daughter of John and Kit Laiho... born in Newport, R.I., on May 8, 1980... a 1997 graduate of Educational Services Incorporated International Academy in Hilton Head, S.C.... earned her high school diploma one semester early and joined the Gators in January of 1998... joins 1996 NCAA Singles Title winner Jill Craybas as the only other Gator tennis player from Rhode Island... her mother and grandfather, Bud Turano, were very instrumental in teaching her the game as a child at the Casino Indoor Racquet Club in New Port, R.I. Mario Llano was another who helped develop her game, as well as Yuri Stetsenko, along with a number of others who devoted their time her along the way... recipient of the Sportsmanship Award from the National 16’s (Hard courts), National 18’s (Indoor) and National 18’s (Hard court)... introduced to tennis by mother whose tennis roots can be traced back to the Pop Flack Courts in New Port, R.I... started hitting a tennis ball at the age of 3, tagging along behind her older brother Jack and sister Shannon, both of whom played tennis in high school... major is Sociology.

1998 26-1 26-1 14-0 4-0 7-1 7-1 4-1 0-0
1999 30-9 25-7 11-2 6-3 20-7 15-4 9-1 1-2
2000 24-9 20-7 10-1 5-2 12-5 12-4 6-1 1-2
2001 21-7 17-5 7-3 3-2 34-1 24-1 10-0 9-1
Totals 101-26 88-20 42-6 18-7 73-14 58-10 29-3 11-5
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