University of Florida junior Allie Will (Boca Raton, Fla.) advanced to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Women’s Tennis Singles Championships on Friday with a hard-fought, straight-set victory against Georgia State’s Abigail Trer-Apisha at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex in Athens, Ga.
Later in the day the Gator doubles team of Lauren Embree (Marco Island, Fla.) and Joanna Mather (Duluth, Ga.) earned a three-set win and marched in the quarterfinals of the NCAA Doubles Championships.
Will reached the round of eight for the first time in her career after bowing out in the NCAA Round of 16 the two previous years. The top-seeded Gator plays Texas A&M’s No. 7-seeded Cristina Sanchez-Quintanar on Saturday at 1:30 p.m.
Embree and Mather, ranked No. 22, upset California’s No. 5-ranked Annie Goransson and Anett Schutting, 3-6, 6-3, 6-3, in their NCAA Round of 16 contest and will play Tennessee’s No. 10 Natalie Pluskota and Kata Szekely in the quarterfinals on Saturday at 2 p.m.
There were several long games in the first set of Will’s match against Trer-Apisha, who was the first-ever player from Georgia State selected to compete in the NCAA Singles Championships. Will came up with the big points to win six straight games after Trer-Apisha held to begin the match, including during her last serve in the first frame, where she fought off one break point and capitalized on her fourth game-point to take a 5-1 lead.
Will held and earned another break to begin the second set. That was the first of eight consecutive breaks, as Will managed to halt the run by turning away one match-point and taking advantage of her first match point. Will improved to 108-12 in her career, including 25-2 this year.
“I’ve been getting better mentally every single day,” Will said. “Today, I hit the ball a lot deeper and I went through some rough patches with my serve and she made me pay for that. I really had to think thoroughly for every serve and where I placed it. I’m just really happy I was able to close it out in two sets today. She made we work for every point today and she’s a great player.”
The Gator doubles team lost their serve in the third game of the match and that’s all Cal would need to take the opening frame after breaking again the ninth game to take the set. Florida quickly regrouped and opened the second with the break and Mather held for the 2-0 lead, as the Gators didn’t lose their serve again in the frame and forced a deciding third set. The first break of the third game in the fourth game and Mather followed that by holding and giving the Gators a 4-2 lead. Cal held and managed to break in the seventh game, but the Gators won the first three points off the Bear’s serve en route to the important break and they 5-3 lead. Mather again stepped up and lost just one point on her serve to close out the victory.
“We started off a little slow in the first set, I think we were flat on our feet when we were poaching,” Mather shared. “In the second set we were trying to be a little bit more aggressive and be more positive and keep the match going.”
“We knew we needed to stay more positive and have more energy in the second set, especially in the beginning,” Embree said. “That kind of turned things around for us.”
As a team, Embree and Mather improve to 55-8 all-time, with a 29-3 record this year. Their 55 wins rank as the fourth-most by a Gator tandem in program history. Individually, Embree sports a career 95-15 doubles record, as well as a 29-4 mark this year. Mather is 112-31 in her doubles career – the seventh most wins in UF history, with a 30-4 record this season.
Embree came up on the short end of her NCAA Round of 16 singles match against Duke’s No. 2-ranked Beatrice Capra, 6-1, 6-3, and her magnificent singles season closed with a 31-6 record this year and a 91-13 career mark.
Embree ran into the event’s No. 2-seed Capra, who made the Gator All-American work for every point, which seemed to average 15 rallies. Embree earned her first break in the match to take a 3-2 in the second set, but Capra broke right back and held for a 4-3 lead. The then broke Embree again and served out for the win.
NCAA Women’s Singles & Doubles Championships
Dan Magill Tennis Complex * Athens, Ga.
Friday, May 25, 2012
NCAA Singles Third Round (16)
#1 Allie Will (1), FLORIDA def. #37 Abigail Tere-Apisah, GEORGIA STATE, 6-1, 6-4
#6 Cristina Sanchez-Quintanar (7), TEXAS A&M def. #29 Petra Niedermayerova, KANSAS
STATE, 6-4, 6-3
#3 Nicole Gibbs (3), STANFORD def. #35 Natalie Pluskota, TENNESSEE, 7-6(1), 7-6(6)
#8 Jana Juricova (6), CALIFORNIA def. #40 Aeriel Ellis, TEXAS, 7-6(4), 6-2
#26 Sabrina Santamaria, SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA def. #23 Nina Secerbegovic, BAYLOR, 6-4,
#13 Zsofi Susanyi (9-16), CALIFORNIA def. #4 Robin Anderson (4), UCLA, 7-5, 6-4
#5 Mallory Burdette (5), STANFORD def. #14 Zoe Scandalis (9-16), SOUTHERN
CALIFORNIA, 6-0, 6-3
#2 Beatrice Capra (2), DUKE def. #9 Lauren Embree (9-16), FLORIDA, 6-1, 6-3
NCAA Doubles Second Round (16)
#13 Ema Burgic-Nina Secerbegovic, BAYLOR def. Alexa Guarachi-Courtney McLane,
ALABAMA, 6-3, 6-3
#9 Courtney Dolehide-Pamela Montez, UCLA def. #8 Kristy Frilling-Shannon Mathews
(5-8), NOTRE DAME, 6-3, 4-6, 6-3
#27 Nadja Gilchrist-Chelsey Gullickson, GEORGIA def. #11 Emina Bektas-Brooke
Bolender, MICHIGAN, 4-6, 7-6(0), 6-1
#15 Jana Juricova-Zsofi Susanyi, CALIFORNIA def. #30 Lauren Mira-Jackie Wu,
VANDERBILT, 6-0, 7-5
#22 Lauren Embree-Joanna Mather, FLORIDA def. #5 Annie Goransson-Anett Schutting
(5-8), CALIFORNIA, 3-6, 6-3, 6-3
#10 Natalie Pluskota-Kata Szekely, TENNESSEE def. #18 Emily Fraser-Lindsey
Hardenbergh, VIRGINIA, 7-6(3), 7-6(2)
#32 Lorraine Guillermo-Khunpak Issara, PEPPERDINE def. #23 Alex Anghelescu-Jillian
O’Neill, GEORGIA TECH, 6-1, 6-2
#2 Mallory Burdette-Nicole Gibbs (2), STANFORD def. #26 Natalie Beazant-Dominique
Harmath, RICE, 6-2, 6-2
Courtesy UF Communications