Florida Washes Out Washington With Second-Round Sweep
May 15, 2010
Courtesy of Florida
The University of Florida women's tennis team advanced to the NCAA Championships Round of 16 after battling past Washington, 4-0, on Saturday afternoon at Linder Stadium at Ring Tennis Complex.
The Gators (26-2) won their 19th consecutive match by claiming the doubles point in impressive fashion and getting singles victories from freshman Carolina Hitimana (Waterloo, Belgium), sophomore Joanna Mather (Duluth, Ga.) and senior Marrit Boonstra (The Netherlands).
Third-seeded Florida will be making its sixth consecutive and 27th overall trip to the NCAA Round of 16 and plays Ole Miss (17-5) on Thu., May 20 at 9 a.m. at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex on the campus of the University of Georgia in Athens, Ga. The 17th-ranked Lady Rebels upset 13th-ranked and 14th-seeded Georgia Tech, 4-0, in their second round match.
The Gators were impressive from the get-go in doubles, as the No. 2 pair of Lauren Embree (Marco Island, Fla.) and Mather improved to 7-0 with their 8-0 blanking of Venise Chan and Lina Xu. Embree held at love to begin the match en route to winning the first seven points in the 30-minute victory to give the Gators their first win of the dual match.
UF's fifth-ranked team of Boonstra and Allie Will (Boca Raton, Fla.) started almost as quickly as their teammates, as Boonstra held to open the match over 21st-ranked Dennise Dy and Joyce Ardies on the showcase court. The Gators broke and Will held for a 3-0 lead, before UF's tandem really turned up the heat, breaking at love, Boonstra serving a love game for a 5-0 lead and never looking back en route to the 8-1 victory that clinched the doubles point in 40 minutes.
"I was absolutely ecstatic about the doubles we played because this was some of the best doubles we played all year," UF head coach Roland Thornqvist said. "We've been trying to be more aggressive and that clearly showed through the work they put in the last three weeks of practice. We beat very good doubles teams."
Washington (12-7) refused to go down without a fight, and came back with a strong showing to start singles action and made Florida work for each outcome.
"I told my girls that when it comes to teams like Florida, teams who are ranked so highly, sometimes they expect for their opponents to kind of roll over and die," said UW head coach Jill (Hetherington) Hultquist, who was a four-year All-American at Florida during her collegiate career from 1984-87). "I thought it was very important for our team to come out confident and never quit fighting. That's really what they did. I couldn't ask for more than that from them."
Hitimana was the first to post a result, as she defeated Aleksandra Malovic, 6-3, 6-3, in one hour and 12 minutes on court No. 6. The Gator rookie jumped out to leads of 4-0 and 5-1 in the first set, but Malovic battled back, breaking Hitimana and holding to inch within 5-3. Hitimana, however, refocused and served out the set and raced out to a 4-0 lead to start the second. Malovic finally held in the fifth game and broke to get the score at 4-2, but Hitimana broke right back for 5-2. Malovic broke against, but Hitimana returned the favor and closed out the match to give Florida a 2-0 lead.
Mather was next to clock in her result, defeating Samantha Smith, 6-2, 6-3, at the No. 5 position in 89 minutes. Mather opened with a break and held for a quick lead. The two traded breaks midway through the set, before the Gator sophomore broke again in the seventh game and served out for the first frame. The first seven games of the second set mirrored the first, but Smith ended the trend by breaking in the eighth game, fighting off a pair of match points. It wasn't enough to discourage Mather, who refocused and broke in the next game, capitalizing on her third match-point to give the Gators a 3-0 lead.
Fittingly, it was one of UF's two seniors who provided the clinching dual match victory. Boonstra, along with Anastasia Revzina (Moscow, Russia), helped the Gators compile a 55-0 home record during their tenure and extend the program-record home winning streak to 82 with Saturday's victory. Boonstra collected the 7-5, 6-4 victory against Joyce Ardies on court No. 3 in one hour and 47 minutes, just finishing moments before Revzina and Embree could punch their respective match-point opportunities. After a couple of early breaks, the first set was on-serve when Boonstra broke at love in the seventh game. Ardies, however, broke right back and set was even until Boonstra took Ardies serve in the 11th game and held at love to take the first frame. The Gator senior jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the second. There were three consecutive breaks midway through the set, with Boonstra coming out on top with a 5-3. Ardies held and forced Boonstra to serve out for her 75th career singles victory and her 15th consecutive win, which she did to send Florida into the NCAA Round of 16.
Florida won the first set in the three remaining singles matches that were abandoned once Boonsta clinched. Embree was locked at 7-all in a second-set tiebreaker against 15th-ranked Venise Chan, Will was on-serve returning at 5-4 against No. 10 Denise Dy and Revzina had rallied from a 5-2 deficit and evened the set at 6-all.
With the win, Florida ends its 2010 home season with a 16-0 record, the 20th undefeated home ledger in program history.
Florida Head Coach Roland Thornqvist
Thoughts on the match:
"I was absolutely ecstatic about the doubles we played because this was one of the best doubles we played all year. We've been trying to be more aggressive and that clearly showed through the work they put in the last three weeks of practice. We beat a very good doubles team."
UF made two appearances in Athens, Ga., this season - regular season versus Georgia and for 2010 SEC Tournament:
"Having experience in Georgia is not going to give us a 1-0 start in the match so we are going to go to work and make sure we're prepared for our next match."
UF's play today:
"Overall I was very happy with our results because we played a very good team. For us not to lose a match today, we've got to be very excited about that."
"If you look at the draw across the country then I think this match-up was one of the toughest matches to advance to the Sweet 16. I was very happy to see we got off the court with a 4-0 win."
UF freshman Lauren Embree
On rallying from a 3-0 deficit in the second set:
"The crowd really helped me when I was down for the second set and I just kept fighting for the team. I wasn't trying to scoreboard-watch but I kept fighting because I may have been the one to clinch. I think I just lost a little focus but I soon started playing a little bit better. I was just trying to play smart and focus on not making mistakes."
On her win at No. 2 doubles with Joanna Mather:
"Jo and I have really good chemistry and I think we really compliment each other well."
Washington Head Coach Jill Hultquist
On the team's performance versus Florida:
"I told my girls that when it comes to teams like Florida, teams who are ranked so highly, sometimes they expect for their opponents to kind of roll over and die. I thought it was very important for our team to come out confident and never quit fighting. That's really what they did. I couldn't ask for more than that from them."
On Florida and their chances at the NCAA Championship:
"They're a great team. Anytime you have a squad where most of their players haven't lost more than three or so matches all season, it's impressive. They're a tough team, physically and mentally, and I think they have a great shot of going all the way. I wish them the best of luck in Athens."
NCAA Women's Tennis Championships Second Round
Linder Stadium at Ring Tennis Complex
Saturday, May 15, 2010
Final Score: Florida 4, Washington 0
1- (5) Marrit Boonstra/Allie Will, UF d. (21) Denise Dy/Joyce Ardies, UW 8-1*
2- (29) Lauren Embree/Joanna Mather, UF d. Lina Xu/Venise Chan, UW 8-0
3- Caroline Hitimana/Anastasia Revzina, UF led Samantha Smith/Aleksandra Malovic, UW 3-2 DNF
1- (9) Lauren Embree, UF led (15) Venise Chan, UW 6-1, 6-6 (7-7) DNF
2- (8) Allie Will, UF d. (10) Denise Dy, UW 6-3, 5-4 DNF
3- (65) Marrit Boonstra, UF d. Joyce Ardies, UW 7-5, 6-4*
4- (102) Anastasia Revzina, UF d. Lina Xu, UW 6-4, 6-6 DNF
5- Joanna Mather, UF d. Samantha Smith, UW 6-2, 6-3
6- (102) Caroline Hitimana, UF d. Aleksandrar Malovic, UW 6-3, 6-3
Order of Finish: Doubles- 2, 1; Singles-6, 5, 3*
Records: Florida 26-2; Washington 12-7
NCAA Seeding: No. 3 Florida; No. 17-32 Washington
ITA Ranking: No. 3 Florida; No. 29 Washington
*indicates clinching doubles point/dual match