Florida 4, Florida International
Florida 4, Florida International 0May 14, 2005
GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- University of Florida senior Zerene Reyes recorded her 100th career singles victory, leading the Gators to a 4-0 victory over Florida International in the second round of the NCAA Women's Tennis Championships. Florida advances to the NCAA Round of 16 for the 22nd time in the 24-year history of the event and will play Baylor on Thursday, May 19 at 6 p.m. in Athens, Ga.
In contrast to its dominating first-round performance, the Gators (20-2) came out slow and in a heated battle in doubles action, but did pull out the closely contested point en route to the dual match sweep.
"The second round ghost showed up there for the first 20 minutes of doubles again," said UF head coach Roland Thornqvist, referring to last year's stunning 4-3 NCAA second round loss to Miami. "I thought we looked a little tentative on all three courts at the beginning. At the same time, I thought FIU played without fear and played loose, swinging from the hip. I thought our skills took over after 20 minutes and from then on we controlled things pretty well. In singles we looked really well again on every court. We're fitter than we've ever been and we're moving better right now than we have all year."
"I think we played extremely well in doubles, we had a shot to maybe pull out the point and it could have been a little different in singles, you never know," FIU head coach Ronnie Bernstein said. "(Florida) played extremely well in singles. They were just a little better at each position. We had a couple of chances to hold on, but we couldn't."
FIU ends its season with a 19-6 overall record after advancing to the second round of the NCAA Championships for the second time in school history.
"I'm extremely pleased with this season," Bernstein said. "When we started the season I think we were ranked 70-something in the country. Now we're hoping to get into the top-30. We made it to the second round of the NCAA Tournament and we lost here today against a team that could potentially win the whole thing, so we're excited with what we did."
Freshman Whitney Benik continued to show no signs of jitters in her first NCAA Championships, earning her second impressive singles victory with Saturday's 6-1, 6-1 victory on court No. 4 against Shilla D'Armas. Benik won her NCAA debut 6-0, 6-0 on Friday in the win over South Carolina State. Benik captured the first 16 games of her NCAA singles dual match career before allowing her opponent a game, as D'Armas was able to hold serve in the fifth game of the match. Benik fought off five break points in the seventh game of the second set, as she held to clinch the victory.
"The last two days I've been playing the worst doubles of my life, but it made me want to come out and play even harder in singles and show that I was better than that," Benik said.
Reyes, the lone senior on the Gator squad, became just the 20th player in the illustrious history of the program to reach the 100-singles win plateau, as she downed Egle Petrauskaite 6-1, 6-2 at the No. 2 position to reach the milestone in the final home appearance of her career. The victory gave the Gators a 3-0 lead in the dual match.
"I was real glad to see that Zerene could finish today to get her 100th win which is something very special," Thornqvist said. "If anyone deserved to finish the day it was 'Z'. I was really happy she was able to finish her match. Zerene has so meant to much to our program and this was a great accomplishment for her to be able to get this milestone in front of our fans."
While the milestone victory came as a surprise to Reyes, the thought of playing at Linder Stadium at Ring Tennis Complex for the final time was clearly on her mind.
"I was thinking about it before I went onto the court today, that this would be my last home match," Reyes said. "I'm happy and sad. I was just out there having fun, trying to enjoy my last home match."
For the second consecutive day, freshman Lolita Frangulyan provided the clinching dual match victory, as she topped Bruna Discordia 6-2, 6-3 in one hour and 12 minutes to cap the Gator's second round win. After dominating the first set, Frangulyan found herself in a more competitive second set, as Discordia opened with a break. But the Gator rookie broke right back and then again in the fourth game to take a 4-1 lead after holding. Discordia then held and broke Frangulyan in the seventh game, but again couldn't hold and Frangulyan broke Discordia again and then held to polish off the win.
Florida won the first set on the other three singles courts, where play was abandoned once the Gators clinched the dual match.
The Gators claimed the closely contested doubles point, earning victories on courts No. 1 and 3. UF's veteran tandem of Jennifer Magley and Zerene Reyes posted their 82nd career doubles win with an 8-3 decision over Nikkita Fountain and Paula Zabala to give the Gators their first victory of the match. The contest began with four straight breaks before Magley jumped out to a 40-0 on her serve and then held on to take the game. Fountain then held, as did Reyes before the Gator pair broke Zabala and Magley held at love to take a 6-3 lead en route to the win.
FIU's No. 2 team of Shilla D'Armas and Egle Petrauskaite then topped Whitney Benik and Alex Liles 8-3 to even the doubles score.
It was the No. 3 team of Lolita Frangulyan and Nina Suvak that provided the clinching doubles win, earning an 8-5 win over Bruna Discordia and Courtney Jonson. There was just one break in the match and the Gators took advantage in the eighth game and road that to the victory.
NCAA Women's Tennis Championships Second Round
No. 2 Florida vs. No. 33 Florida International
Linder Stadium at Ring Tennis Complex
Saturday, May 14, 2005
Final Score: Florida 4, Florida International 0
No. 1 Jennifer Magley/Zerene Reyes (9), UF def. Nikkita Fountain/Paula Zabala, FIU 8-3
No. 2 Shilla D'Armas/Egle Petrauskaite, FIU def. Whitney Benik/Alex Liles, UF 8-3
No. 3 Lolita Franguylan/Nina Suvak, UF def. Bruna Discordia/Courtney Jonson, FIU 8-5*
No. 1 Jennifer Magley (5), UF led Paula Zabala (60), FIU 6-1, 4-5 DNF
No. 2 Zerene Reyes (13), UF def. Egle Petrauskaite, FIU 6-1, 6-2
No. 3 Nina Suvak (108), UF led Nikkita Fountain, FIU 6-4, 3-2 DNF
No. 4 Whitney Benik, UF def. Shilla D'Armas, FIU 6-1, 6-1
No. 5 Alex Liles, UF led Marijana Cutuk, FIU 6-1, 3-1 DNF
No. 6 Lolita Frangulyan (113), UF def. Bruna Discordia, FIU 6-2, 6-3
Order of Finish: doubles-1, 2, 3; singles-4, 2, 6
*clinched doubles point/dual match
-- Courtesy Florida