Gators Post Second Straight Shutout; 7-0 Over UCF
With its second match in as many days, the top-ranked University of Florida women’s tennis team looked as fresh as ever, posting its second-straight shutout victory to open the season, defeating Central Florida 7-0 at the Ring Tennis Complex on Wednesday.
The win also extends UF’s consecutive dual match win streak to 24 matches and its 109th consecutive win at home, which is the longest active home win streak by any NCAA Division I women’s team in any sport.
Much like Tuesday against USF, the Gators were able to win the doubles point over UCF, but not until being taken to the final doubles court to see how the first point of the day would be decided. The team then followed up the doubles win with an extra strong showing in singles, winning on all six courts in straight sets, even without All-American Lauren Embree (Marco Island, Fla.).
“It was a difficult day to play with the wind,” Florida head coach Roland Thornqvist said. “We struggled a little bit in doubles at the beginning, but once we figured out that it wasn’t going to be a perfect day to play, then we settled down. I thought we did a good job in singles, really. We talked about that in between doubles and singles to be able to compete; play hard and tough and do whatever it takes. It’s one of those do whatever it takes days.”
“I thought we did a good job, our freshmen in particular,” Thornqvist said. “I was worried that our freshmen were not used to it, maybe a little nervous that they would go off on a walkabout perhaps because of the weather, but it turned out they were, perhaps, the two best players today, so that was nice to see.”
As quickly as the doubles point was won on Tuesday, things started out much differently for the Gators in the battle for the opening point on Wednesday as UCF took 4-1 and 3-1 leads at courts one and three.
With a slightly different lineup from its season opener, Thornqvist went with the duo of freshman Danielle Collins (St. Petersburg, Fla.) and senior Olivia Janowicz (Palm Bay, Fla.) at the top spot. However, the Gators were only able to hold serve once through the first six games. UF started to turn things after winning two straight to make it 5-3, but then the Knights went on a roll to win the final three games for the 8-3 top court victory.
At court two, it was different start from the others in favor of the Orange and Blue. Senior Caroline Hitimana (Waterloo, Belgium) and junior Sofie Oyen (Leopoldsburg, Belgium) held serve with their counterparts through the first five games to take a 3-2 lead. From there it was all Florida as the junior and senior tandem rolled off wins in five of the last seven games to take the 8-4 win, the second doubles match to go final.
That left the first team point of the afternoon to be decided at court three. What looked to be a close match early on as both doubles teams held serve on three straight occasions to make the match a 3-3 tie, Brianna Morgan (Beverly Hills, Calif.) and Alexandra Cercone (Seminole, Fla.) rolled off five straight game winners for the 8-3 point clinching victory. The win not only gave UF its second straight doubles point to open the spring season, but it was also Morgan and Cercone's second straight doubles win this spring.
“I don’t think we played that great at number one doubles,” Thornqvist said. “They really took it to us and we weren’t ready for it, but number two did a good job. At number three, we were down 3-1 and it looked like it was going to be tight on all courts, and I thought our players at number three doubles did a good job.”
Moving into singles, UF seemed to take its game to another level as all six first sets went the Gators' way. With the exception of court one, all first sets were won by at least three games. Morgan seemed to make the quickest work of her opponent at court five as she dropped only one game in the first set for a 6-1 win over Sofia Baptista. She then followed that with a nice 6-1 second set victory to give Florida its second team point for the 2-0 lead over UCF.
Following suit to Morgan was Collins just five minutes later at court three. After opening with a 6-0 first set win over Josephine Haraldson, a second bagel was in order as she did it again with the 6-0 second set victory. The win marked the second for Collins this season and was the second straight set victory for the afternoon for the Gators to give them a 3-0 team point lead.
From there, it was only a matter of minutes before the clinching point was won by the Gators. Hitimana had another solid day on the singles court to take the easy 6-3, 6-2 victory over UCF’s Clare Mendell, giving Florida the overall match win. It’s Hitimana’s second singles win of the year and like the rest of her teammates, moves to 2-0.
The remaining courts were all won in straight sets as well as Janowicz, Cercone and Oyen all moved to 2-0 as well and will take their perfect record into Sunday’s match with Baylor. Thornqvist said he was pleased with the overall performance across the board in singles from his players and thought today was a good test for his team heading into Saturday.
“I was very pleased,” Thornqvist said. “I really was. We were tough and we stuck to our game plan. Olivia (Janowicz), for example, had to come to the net, and she was relentless. She kept coming, she kept coming and it was very good. Sofie (Oyen) played a player who I think is one of the most improved players in college tennis. It was high-level tennis. The pace was good. That kid’s slice bothered us a bit. Sofie did a good job after a rough start to settle down and play well. After these two days of play, I’ve been very pleased. We’re at a very good spot now and I think we’ll be definitely ready for Baylor on Saturday.”
The Gators return to action on Sat., Feb. 2 when they play host to Baylor beginning at 1 p.m. Admission is free, as is parking in the UF Law School lot located next to Ring Tennis Complex, as restrictions have been waived.
Women’s College Tennis
Central Florida at No. 1 Florida
Linder Stadium at Ring Tennis Complex
Wednesday, January 30, 2013
FINAL SCORE: Florida 7, Central Florida 0
Doubles (order of finish: 1, 2, 3*)
1. Genevieve Lorbergs/Josephine Haraldson, UCF d. Danielle Collins/Olivia Janowicz, UF, 8-3 (:45)
2. Sofie Oyen/Caroline Hitimana,UF d. Caroline Eberhart/Courtney Griffith, UCF, 8-4 (:46)
3. Alexandra Cercone/Brianna Morgan, UF d. Sofie Baptista/Jenna Doerfler, UCF, 8-3* (:48)
Singles (order of finish: 5, 3, 6*, 4, 2, 1)
1. Sofie Oyen (1), UF d. Genevieve Lorbergs, UCF, 7-5, 6-3 (1:27)
2. Alexandra Cercone, UF d. Jenna Doerfler, UCF, 6-2, 6-2 (1:20)
3. Danielle Collins (22), UF d. Josephine Haraldson, UCF, 6-0, 6-0 (1:10)
4. Olivia Janowicz (114), UF d. Caroline Eberhart, UCF, 6-3, 6-2 (1:20)
5. Brianna Morgan (66), UF d. Sofia Baptista, UCF, 6-1, 6-1 (1:05)
6. Caroline Hitimana (t-82), UF d. Clare Mendell, UCF, 6-3, 6-2* (1:19)
RECORDS: Florida 2-0; Central Florida 2-1
*indicates clinching doubles point/dual match victory