Tennis teams begin NCAA individual play
With the emotions of a thrilling, come-from-behind national championship still flying high, five Florida Gators women’s tennis players began play in the NCAA Singles Championships Wednesday.
Three Gators advanced to the Round of 32, while two fell in the first round of action.
Junior Joanna Mather and sophomores Allie Will and Lauren Embree all advanced past the first round with wins in their opening singles matches.
Freshmen Alex Cercone and Olivia Janowicz both lost their opening-round singles matches and were eliminated from the singles tournament.
No. 42 Mather, beat Marshall’s No. 52 Michaela Kissell in straight sets 6-2, 6-1 in her first-ever appearance in the NCAA Singles Draw. With the win, she improved to 30-8 in singles action this season, becoming the fourth player on the team to surpass the 30-win mark for the year.
“I am excited to be I the singles draw for the first time in my career,” Mather said. “I feel like I played pretty well today. It was good to be back out there after I lost my singles match (Tuesday) and feel the ball as well as I did.”
Will, the No. 6 seed in the event and seventh-ranked player in the country, improved her singles record this season to 34-4 after winning in straight sets 6-3, 6-0 against Virginia’s No. 60 Emily Fraser.
“I played very aggressive today and had a lot of fun today,” Will said. “That’s why I was successful. I’m looking forward to another match tomorrow, as well as playing doubles with Alex.”
Will and Cercone are the No. 2 seed in the NCAA Doubles field. They are set to take on and drew Virginia’s 32nd-ranked duo of Lindsey Hardenbergh and Erin Vierra in the first round.
Embree, who earned her second-straight appearance in the NCAA Singles Championships, extended her perfect singles record to 25-0 with a straight-sets win 7-5, 6-4 over Miami’s No. 6 Bianca Eichkorn.
Cercone lost a 6-2, 7-6 decision to Virginia’s No. 27 Hardenbergh in the first round. The No. 54 Florida rookie had won 14 consecutive singles matches and finished the season with a 37-11 record.
No. 53 Janowciz lost a 3-6, 6-1, 6-0 match to Arizona State’s No. 12 Jacqueline Cako. Janowicz, who posted a three-set singles win during Tuesday’s team championship, ended her freshman campaign with a 34-8 singles record.
NCAA Women’s Tennis Singles & Doubles Championships
Taube Family Tennis Center * Stanford, Calif.
Singles, May 25-30
Doubles, May 26-30
Singles, First Round Results
No. 42 Joanna Mather, UF d. No. 52 Michaela Kissell, Marshall, 6-2, 6-1
No. 7 Allie Will, UF d. No. 60 Emily Fraser, Virginia, 6-3, 6-0
No. 12 Jacqueline Cako, Arizona State d. No. 53 Olivia Janowicz, UF, 3-6, 6-1, 6-0
No. 27 Lindsey Hardenbergh, Virginia d. No. 54 Alex Cercone, UF, 6-2, 7-6
No. 17 Lauren Embree, UF d. No.Doubles, First Round (UF only) – begins May 26
No. 2 Alex Cercone/Allie Will, UF vs. No. 32 Lindsey Hardenbergh/Erin Vierra, Virginia
Second Round Singles Matchups
No. 42 Joanna Mather, UF vs. No. 1 Jana Juricova, California
No. 7 Allie Will, UF vs. No. 34 Kristi Boxx, Ole Miss
No. 17 Lauren Embree, UF vs. No. 31 Katie Rybakov, Florida State OR No. 41 Noelle Hickey, UCLA
Lacroix advances, Bangoura, Jr. eliminated
On the men’s side of the tennis court, Florida senior Alexandre Lacroix advanced to the second round of the NCAA Singles Championships with a tough 6-4, 4-6, 6-4 win over Tulsa’s Japie De Klerk on Wednesday.
No. 6 Lacroix had a late change of opponent after USC’s Jaak Poldma withdrew from the tournament and was replaced by De Klerk.
“I was a little nervous because I got the first set and was up, but he got a break and won the second set,” Lacroix said. “I went up a break again in the third and he came back and made it a close match, but I got another break late. I’m excited and am just going to take it one match a time now.”
Lacroix improved to 36-10 (.783) in singles to advance to the second round for the second-straight year and move into a tie for fourth in the school history with his 110 career singles wins (Greg Ouellette, 2005-08).
Sophomore Sekou Bangoura Jr., playing in his first national singles championship, fell to Duke’s No. 8 Henrique Cunha in straight sets 6-2, 6-4. The 40th-ranked Florida player finished the season with a 31-13 (.705) singles record and reached a career-best No. 28 ranking on Jan. 4.
Bangoura and Lacroix open doubles play Thursday against California’s Nick Andrews and Christoffer Konigsfeldt.
NCAA Individual Championships
Taube Tennis Center
Wednesday, May 25 – Singles first round
Alexandre Lacroix (UF) vs. Japie De Klerk (Tulsa) 6-4, 4-6, 6-4
(8) Henrique Cunha (Duke) def. Sekou Bangoura Jr. (UF) 6-2, 6-4
Thursday, May 26 – Singles second round; doubles first round
Time TBD – Alexandre Lacroix (UF) vs. Jose Hernandez (UNC)
Time TBD – Bangoura/Lacroix (UF) vs. Andrews/Konigsfeldt (Cal)
Ashley Bruns, Kitty Cullen named All-Americans
After completing a historic season in just its second year of existence, the Florida Gators lacrosse team had two players recognized Thursday for their outstanding seasons.
Sophomores Ashley Bruns and Kitty Cullen were both selected as WomensLax.com All-Americans. This is the first All-American honor for either player, though Bruns was selected as the WomensLax.com Rookie of the Year in 2010.
Cullen, who was the American Lacrosse Conference Player of the Year, had 77 goals, averaging 3.85 goals per game to lead the ALC, while also averaging 4.3 points per game, a .501 shooting percentage and a .755 shot on goal percentage.
She scored six goals or more four times during the season and scored at least a hat trick in nearly every game (16 of 20). The sophomore attacker was honored by WomensLax.com earlier in the year, when she won National Player of the Week honors following Florida’s upset of No. 2 Northwestern.
Bruns led the Gators in assists (28), while also ranking second in points (74) and goals (46) and ranking third on the team in caused turnovers (17). She averaged 3.7 points per game, placing her among the top 50 scorers in the country.
She scored at least five points in nine game during the season, including tying her career highs in goals with six, assists with four and setting a new high in draw controls with three. She was honored by WomensLax.com earlier in the season, when she won National Player of the Week honors for her performances against Colgate and then-No. 11 Syracuse, as she scored six goals on seven shots. Bruns was also named First-Team All-ALC.
Four Academic All-Americans on softball team
Four Florida softball players were named 2011 Capitol One Academic All-Americans Thursday, giving the Gators the most in the country.
Seniors Kelsey Bruder and Stephanie Brombacher were both named to the Academic All-American first team, while senior Megan Bush was named to the second team and junior Michelle Moultrie was named to the third team.
The school-record-tying four Academic All-Americans now give the Gators 11 total under head coach Tim Walton. Prior to Walton’s tenure as head coach, Florida had just three total Academic All-Americans.
Brombacher became UF’s first three-time Academic All-American after improving from the third team her sophomore season to second team her junior campaign.
After earning Academic All-District 3 honors her sophomore year, Bruder was an Academic All-American second-team selection in 2010 before picking up first-team honors this year. Both Bush and Moultrie received their first Academic All-America honors, as Bush was named to the Academic All-District 3 Second Team her sophomore and junior years in 2009 and 2010.
Also this year, sophomore utility player Kelsy Horton was named a Capitol One Academic All-District 3 First Team selection, becoming the fifth Florida player to earn academic honors in the 2011 season.
To be eligible for Academic All-America status, players must have been named to the Academic All-District First Team and have at least a 3.30 GPA with at least sophomore standing, both academically and athletically, and completed at least two semesters at their current institution. Student-athletes must have played in at least 50 percent of the team’s games in the season.