Special to GC
DALLAS, Texas – Freshman Josie Kuhlman continued to be lights out in NCAA action and clinched a 4-0 victory for the No. 5 Florida Gators over No. 12 Oklahoma State in the NCAA Round of 16 on Friday evening. The match was moved from its originally schedule time and location to the Brookshire Family Pavilion at SMU in Dallas, Texas.
The Gators’ victory set up a NCAA Quarterfinals match-up with No. 4 Vanderbilt (4).
With the doubles point in tow, the Gators shined in singles from the start. Five of six first sets went to Florida, and Brianna Morgan started a wave of wins with a 6-1, 6-1 victory at No. 3. Kourtney Keegan rolled to a 6-2, 6-1 win over No. 99-ranked Vladica Babic to grow the Gators’ lead to 3-0.
Oklahoma State did not take it easy on Florida, however, as the Cowgirls forced two of the remaining four matches into a third set. Even Kuhlman trailed in her second set, 5-2. But the rookie, down a break and unfazed, strung together five-straight games and completed the comeback in set two to clinch the match and help her squad advance to the NCAA Quarterfinals.
Florida won a heated race to a crucial doubles point to start the match. Holding a comfortable 4-2 lead to start, Spencer Liang and Peggy Porter were forced into a tiebreak and jumped to a 3-2 lead. Oklahoma State’s Maria Alvarez and Carla Tur Mari tied it at four-all, but the Gators rattled off four-straight points and earned the 8-7 (4) win on a Cowgirls double fault.
Kuhlman and Belinda Woolcock led 5-3 and traded games back and forth with OSU’s Katarina Adamovic and Vladica Babic before the match was tied, 6-6. The Gators broke the tie and took the next two games to clinch the doubles point, 8-6, as Kuhlman and Woolcock improved to 3-0 in NCAA doubles. No. 6-ranked duo Brooke Austin and Keegan held off multiple OSU match points, trailing 7-4, and captured two-straight games to keep Florida in the hunt for the early advantage.
2015 NCAA Women’s Tennis Championship – Round of 16
Ann and Brad Brookshire Family Pavilion
Friday, May 15, 2015
Brooke Austin (6)
Viktoriya Lushkova (12)
No. 1 -
Kourtney Keegan (6)
Kelsey Laurente (12)
No. 2 -
Carla Tur Mari
No. 3 -
No. 1 -
Brooke Austin (3)
Viktoriya Lushkova (17)
6-4, 3-6, 1-3
No. 2 -
Josie Kuhlman (13)
No. 3 -
Brianna Morgan (28)
No. 4 -
Kourtney Keegan (56)
Vladica Babic (99)
No. 5 -
Belinda Woolcock (58)
Carla Tur Mari
4-6, 6-1, 1-4
No. 6 -
7-6 (1), 3-5
Florida – 4
Oklahoma State – 0
* Clinched victory
Oklahoma State 23-6
Order of Finish:
Doubles: 3, 2*
Singles: 3, 4, 2*
Quotes from the Match
Thornqvist’s Thoughts – Head Coach Roland Thornqvist
“I thought we played really well in doubles. We lost to this team in doubles when we played them in the Second Round of the NCAA tournament last year, so we knew they have big hitters and they like to move a lot. We knew we had to play aggressive tennis to come out with the doubles point. We got off to a good start, so obviously we’re looking at winning five first sets in singles. But this Oklahoma State team is looking really good and [they] weren’t going to go away.”
On moving forward in the tournament…
“We’re going to take care of our bodies. We’ve played both of those teams [Clemson and Vanderbilt], so we know them fairly well. Honestly, coming in here, including this match, this is some of the best tennis we’ve played all year. We want to stay loose. We’ve got a little game plan going and we’ll try to unleash it once it’s game time on Sunday.”
Oklahoma State Head Coach Chris Young
On the outcome of the match…
“It was an excellent match. I think the score 4-0 doesn’t indicate the type of match that it was. We’re here for four hours and both teams just laid it all on the line. They were able to really step up and have a good comeback there. I think if we split there, and then split on number six, we had four matches in the third set. So, obviously, we would need to win all of them, but we were in control at five and up at one. I was just really proud of the girls for the way they competed and gave us a chance. I think both teams laid it all out on the line, that’s what college tennis is about. My hat’s off to Florida because they played an excellent match and deserved to win today.”
On how close doubles point was…
“The doubles point, I believe, was the match. Honestly, it felt like we needed to win the doubles point to win the match, and I think that probably holds true. We had a good advantage to start at No. 2 doubles and we weren’t able to finish it off, and I think No. 1 was obviously playing well. When all three matches are 8-6 or 8-7, that means there’s a good level of tennis being played. I was just happy that the doubles point was played at such a high level.”
Florida at the NCAA Championship:
Florida is making its 33rd appearance in the 34-year history of the NCAA Championship, missing only the 1986 event. UF is 105-26 all-time in NCAA Championship matches. The Gators have won six NCAA team titles: 1992, ’96, ’98, 2003, ’11 & ’12. They have reached the semifinals of the NCAA Championship 24 times in the last 28 years (including 2014), with 13 trips to the NCAA Final.
Florida vs. Oklahoma State:
The Gators improved to 8-0 all-time versus the Cowgirls. This is the second consecutive year that a Florida win against Oklahoma State helped UF advance in the NCAA Championship.
The Gators improved to 29-3 in NCAA Round of 16 matches. They improved to 17-0 in the First Round and 16-1 in the Second Round with wins in both rounds this season.
Florida has advanced to the NCAA Quarterfinals 29 times in the 34-year history of the event.
UF as the NCAA No. 5 Seed:
This is the third time the Gators enter the NCAA Championship as the No. 5 seed. UF has been a top-five seed in 27 of its 33 overall NCAA appearances. Seeding for the NCAA began with the 1987 event.
Freshman Josie Kuhlman has won all six of her combined singles and doubles matches through three rounds of 2015 NCAA competition.
Going the Distance in Doubles:
The Gators are 19-0 this season when winning the doubles point.
Sharing the Wealth:
All seven Gators who have competed in a 2015 NCAA match have contributed at least one singles or doubles win to the team’s postseason run.
Brianna Morgan is riding a current team-best six-match singles win streak.
For the sixth consecutive season, the Gators have advanced to the NCAA Quarterfinals. They are 24-4 in NCAA Quarterfinal matches.
Florida will take on No. 4 Vanderbilt (4) in the NCAA Quarterfinals. The Gators are 0-2 versus Vanderbilt this season, but they lead the all-time series with the Commodores, 47-4. UF is 4-0 versus VU in NCAA matches.
Interactive Bracket: http://www.ncaa.com/interactive-bracket/tennis-women/d1
Printable Bracket: http://i.turner.ncaa.com/sites/default/files/external/gametool/brackets/tennis-women_d1_2014.pdf
#5 Florida (24-3) vs. #4 Vanderbilt (22-6)
Sunday, May 17 at 5 p.m.
Hurd Tennis Center
Live Video: http://www.baylorbears.com/sports/w-tennis/live-stats-video.html
Live Stats: http://www.baylorbears.com/sports/w-tennis/live-stats.html