Special to GC
GAINESVILLE, Fla. - On what would typically be celebrated as Senior Day at the Alfred A. Ring Tennis Complex, a senior-less No. 6 Florida Gator squad made their regular season home finale memorable nonetheless, as they clinched the 2015 Southeastern Conference regular-season crown with a 4-0 victory over No. 66 Tennessee on Sunday afternoon. The 2015 Southeastern Conference Champions are the 28th Florida Gators team to win the regular season title out of a possible 35, and the 10th to do so under head coach Roland Thornqvist. Once the Gators clinched the doubles point, the singles wins came rolling in for the Orange and Blue. No. 5 Brooke Austin allowed Tennessee's No. 96 Joanna Henderson just two games en route to her 6-1, 6-1 victory, which put the home team ahead, 2-0. From there, Florida raced to the title as No. 42 Kourtney Keegan defeated Victoria Olivarez, 6-3, 6-0, just one minute later. Sophomore No. 43 Belinda Woolcock clinched the match at No. 5 singles with a straight-set victory over Laurence Guevrement, 6-1, 6-0. It was a special win for the sophomore and Australia native, as she had not won a singles match since Florida's 7-0 victory at Missouri on March 15. Florida was tested in doubles at Nos. 1 and 2 after Spencer Liang and Peggy Porter worked their way to an 8-4 win on Court 3, improving their SEC record to 2-0. Both remaining UF doubles tandems trailed at the time of the win on Court 3, but No. 12-ranked Austin and Keegan held off UT's No. 38 Henderson and Caitlyn Williams, and forced a tiebreaker. Meanwhile, Josie Kuhlman and Woolcock went up, 7-6, on Court 2, and just as Austin and Keegan took a 5-3 lead in the tiebreaker, Kuhlman and Woolcock clinched the doubles point for the Gators with an 8-6 win. The Gators begin their postseason journey at the SEC Tournament, with action opening on Wednesday, April 15 in Columbia, S.C. 2015 University of Florida Women's Tennis Scott Linder Stadium at Alfred A. Ring Tennis Complex Gainesville, Florida Sunday, April 12, 2015 Doubles FLORIDA vs TENNESSEE Winner Score/match length Brooke Austin (12) Joanna Henderson (38) No. 1 - Kourtney Keegan (12) Caitlyn Williams (38) DNF 7-7 (5-3), DNF Josie Kuhlman Eve Repic No. 2 - Belinda Woolcock Laurence Guevrement UF* 8-6 (1:19) Spencer Liang Victoria Olivarez No. 3 - Peggy Porter Tiffany Tavares UF 8-4 (:50) Singles FLORIDA vs TENNESSEE Winner Score/match length No. 1 - Brooke Austin (5) Joanna Henderson (96) UF 6-1, 6-1 (1:06) No. 2 - Josie Kuhlman (10) Eve Repic DNF 5-5, DNF No. 3 - Brianna Morgan (21) Caitlyn Williams DNF 6-4, 2-1, DNF No. 4 - Kourtney Keegan (42) Victoria Olivarez UF 6-3, 6-0 (1:07) No. 5 - Belinda Woolcock (43) Laurence Guevrement UF 6-1, 6-0 (1:08) No. 6 - Spencer Liang Tiffany Tavares DNF 7-6 (2), DNF FINAL SCORE: Florida - 4 Tennessee - 0 * Clinched victory Records: Florida 20-2, 12-1 Tennessee 11-14, 7-9 Order of Finish: Doubles: 3, 2* Singles: 1, 4, 5* Attendance: 208 Quotes from the Match Thornqvist's Thoughts - Head Coach Roland Thornqvist On the three freshmen being major contributors to the SEC title ... They're fantastic players and they're great teammates. That part of it has been really, really fun to be around. This team genuinely really enjoys one another and you can sense that when they play and you certainly can sense that when we travel too. It's an easy group to travel with. They're low maintenance. Everyone is keen on helping one another. I think these freshmen have fit in immediately, and Spencer [Liang] as a sophomore. The four new players have fit in like a glove right away and it's been a lot of fun to be around. Now it's a new season. We have new roles now and the way they've conducted themselves and the way we've improved throughout the regular season gives us great hope now for postseason play. On Belinda Woolcock clinching the match after struggling as of late... She took a tough loss last week, but had a great week of practice. And even yesterday, a great day of practice. So she's been doing the right things, it's just nice to see that she was rewarded today for all her hard work and her great attitude. And that confidence is coming back because we certainly need Belinda if we're going to reach our peak. Sophomore Belinda Woolcock On clinching the match and securing the SEC title... It was really exciting. I think this week we've trained really, really hard and ever since we lost against Vanderbilt last weekend we've just been extra competitive and hungry. It was really exciting for me to be able to win it for the team today. On the significance of today's win... It's a big confidence boost. I think everyone has losses sometimes, and so it's about making sure you learn about them and making sure that you move on from them. It's very easy to dwell. And I think I've just been training really hard and I feel like I really deserved that win today. I think it's really going to help the momentum for the SEC Tournament. I think the girls are all playing really well and we're playing with heart which is the main thing. Freshman Brooke Austin On the journey to the SEC title over the entire regular season... It's not just physically grueling, it's emotionally grueling. It's definitely a grind. When we played Vanderbilt I think the whole team was feeling it a little bit but we got that spark back and got back into it this weekend so I think we recovered well. On the youth of the team... Obviously we don't have any seniors, and in a sense we don't have anything to lose, so it's good for us. Obviously we have a shot of winning the SEC Tournament and NCAAs, so it's going to come down to everyone staying healthy and competing as hard as they can. On winning a title for a team... It's crazy because in the juniors you're all by yourself. Everything you do is for yourself. Here, even in the fall, even though that's the individual part of the tennis season, everything you do, training, practice, fitness is all as a team. So it's nice whenever you're out there and you're winning. It's better to win as a team. I like winning as a team. It's cool. SEC Title History: Today's victory secured Florida's 28th SEC regular-season title in the 35 years the league has sponsored the sport. In his 14th year at the helm, head coach Roland Thornqvist led the Gators to their 10th SEC Championship of his tenure. Florida vs. Tennessee: Florida improved to 42-0 all-time versus Tennessee with today's win. Florida vs. SEC Teams: Florida holds a 439-30 all-time record against Southeastern Conference opponents including postseason matchups, and a 372-20 mark in regular-season matches (12-1 this season). 145 and Counting: Florida boasts an overall program-record home winning streak of 145 matches. The streak is the longest active home winning streak of any NCAA DI team. Home Sweet Home: Florida owns a remarkable 480-25 all-time home record. Additionally, they are 199-1 all-time versus SEC opponents at the Ring Tennis Complex. Going the Distance in Doubles: The Gators are 15-0 in dual matches when winning the doubles point. Winning at the Right Time: Sophomore Belinda Woolcock's match-clinching victory over Tennessee's Laurence Guevrement marked her first singles victory since UF's 7-0 win at Missouri on March 15. Freshman Phenom: Today's win boosted Brooke Austin's SEC singles record to 10-2. She is now tied with Brianna Morgan for the team lead in SEC singles victories. Austin, the first freshman to play No. 1 singles since Gator Great Lauren Embree, has posted a singles point for UF in six of its last seven wins and has defeated eight ranked players in dual match action.