Alex Cercone joins 100-win club

The No. 2-ranked University of Florida women’s tennis team earned a hard-fought 7-0 sweep against Auburn on Friday afternoon at the Yarbrough Tennis Center.

“This was a greatly improved Auburn team and they gave us a real battle,” UF head coach Roland Thornqvist said. “It was a four hour and 15 minute, 7-0 sweep. I’ve never been involved with a match like that before today. I thought we played well and were resilient. Overall, I thought it was a really good tennis match and performance.”

The Gators next travel to Tuscaloosa, where the team faces Southeastern Conference Western Division Leader and 13th-ranked Alabama (13-2, 7-0 SEC) on Sunday beginning at 2 p.m. ET. The Gators (14-1, 7-0 SEC) and Crimson Tide are the only two remaining undefeated teams in conference play.

Florida halted Auburn’s run of having won the doubles point in its last three matches, as well as in five of its last six entering Friday’s match against the Gators, who jumped out on court No. 1 where the 13th-ranked pair of Lauren Embree (Marco Island, Fla.) and Joanna Mather (Duluth, Ga.) earned an 8-2 win in the first decision of the afternoon.

The Gator tandem of juniors Caroline Hitimana (Waterloo, Belgium) and Allie Will (Boca Raton, Fla.), playing together for the first time ever, captured the decisive doubles victory with an 8-2 win against the 36th-ranked pair of Jen Pfeifler and Paulina Schippers.

Florida then secured the sweep of all three doubles matches when Alexandra Cercone (Seminole, Fla.) and Olivia Janowicz (Palm Bay, Fla.) defeated Plamena Kurteva and Taylor Schreimann, 9-8 (7-3).

In singles action against the Tigers (8-8, 3-4 SEC), Florida posted a handful of individual milestone victories en route to winning its 32nd consecutive SEC regular-season match.

Will looked every bit like the nation’s top-ranked singles player and posted a dominate 6-0, 6-1 victory against No. 118-ranked Jen Pfeifler on court one that gave Florida a 2-0 lead. Will improved to 101-11 in her career, including an 18-1 record this season.

Janowicz followed with the 50th singles win of her career, defeating Schreimann, 7-6 (0), 6-0. The victory was the 49th of her career, as well as her 30th in dual match action.

Embree, ranked No. 11 in the country, downed Emily Flickinger, 7-5, 6-2 for the clinching dual match victory as well as her 80th career singles win, after earning her 79th career doubles triumph earlier in the match which was her 12th consecutive win with Mather, who won her 97th career doubles match.

Hitimana gave the Gators a 5-0 lead with her 6-2, 6-4 decision against Schippers on court five, where the Gator junior won her team-leading 12th straight overall singles match, as well as her 19th consecutive dual match singles victory.

Sophomore Sofie Oyen (Leopoldsburg, Belgium), playing on a season-high court three, battled hard for her 6-4, 7-5 win against Kurteva that helped Florida take a 6-0 advantage in the team scoring. The win was Oyen’s 20th this year.

Cercone provided the finishes touches on the 7-0 victory, as she rallied for a 4-6, 7-6 (1), 1-0 (10-6) over Jackie Kasler and earned her 100th combined singles and doubles victory. The Gator sophomore, who became the 43rd member of the Gator’s 100-victory club, won her 57th match on the singles court, shortly after winning her 43rd on the doubles court.

No. 2 Florida at No. 62 Auburn

Yarbrough Tennis Center * Auburn, Ala.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Final Score: Florida 7, Auburn 0

Doubles (order of finish: 1, 2, 3)

1. Lauren Embree/Joanna Mather (13), UF d. Emily Flickinger/Jackie Kasler, AU 8-2

2. Caroline Hitimana/AllieWill, UF d. Jen Pfeifler/Paulina Schippers (36), AU 8-2*

3. Alexandra Cercone/Olivia Janowicz (57), UF d. Plamena Kurteva/Taylor Schreimann, AU, 9-8 (7-3)

Singles (order of finish: 1, 6, 2, 5, 3, 4)

1. Allie Will (1), UF d. Jen Pfeifler (118), AU, 6-0, 6-1

2. Lauren Embree (11), UF d. Emily Flickinger, AU, 7-5, 6-2*

3. Sofie Oyen (42), UF d. Plamena Kurteva, AU, 6-4, 7-5

4. Alexandra Cercone (64), UF d. Jackie Kasler, AU, 4-6, 7-6 (1), 1-0 (10-6)

5. Caroline Hitimana (123), UF d. Paulina Schippers, AU, 6-2, 6-4

6. Olivia Janowicz, UF d. Taylor Schreimann, AU, 7-6 (0), 6-0

Records: Florida 14-1, 7-0 SEC; Auburn 8-8, 3-4 SEC

Courtesy UF Communications