Softball squad sweeps

Published: Monday, March 1, 2004 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Monday, March 1, 2004 at 12:00 a.m.
The Florida softball team won the Cox Communications Classic with a 1-0 win over Gardener-Webb in the final game of the round robin tournament. In going undefeated in their five tournament games, the Gators gave up one run.
Jenilee Garner led off the third inning with a double to center field. She advanced to third on a wild pitch and scored as Bulldog catcher Christie Barlow threw the ball to first on a dropped third strike to Melissa Zick.
Starter Amanda Moore (2-0) earned the win for Florida. Reliever Amanda Knowles entered in the sixth inning for her second save of the season. She struck out four of the six batters she faced.
Florida (17-2) begins conference play Saturday against Kentucky at 1 p.m. at the Florida Softball Stadium
  • WOMEN'S TENNIS: The second-ranked women's tennis team (6-0, 2-0 Southeastern Conference) shut out No. 75 Arkansas (7-3, 0-3) with a 7-0 victory in Gainesville. The Gators won their 23rd straight dual match. Florida hosts Vanderbilt on Friday at 5 p.m.
    Arkansas, which is under first year coach Michael Hegarty, who was an assistant coach with the UF men's team prior to moving to Fayetteville, dropped to 7-3 overall and 0-3 in the league.
    "I'm really happy with our doubles play right now," said UF head coach Roland Thornqvist. "If we continue to improve there the sky is the limit. We are way ahead of where we were a season ago. The key is not to get stagnant mentally."
    Florida's went to work quickly in the doubles matches and had the point in 44 minutes. UF's 11th-ranked Alexis Gordon and Julie Rotondi had the Gators within a match of clinching the point when they defeated Arkansas' Megan Ferreira and Anna Dybicz, 8-1. Gordon and Rotondi led 4-0 before the Arkansas duo got on the board. On court three, UF's Boglarka Berecz and Nina Suvak needed one more minute than did Gordon and Rotondi as the pair put away Iliana Pacherco and Christina Kincannon, 8-2.
    UF swept the doubles matches when 22nd-ranked Jennifer Magley and Zerene Reyes took an 8-1 decision over Whitney Morton and Melissa Cornett after roaring out to a 7-0 lead.
    In singles play, Arkansas' Megan Ferriera was forced to retire on court two after an injury. UF's 22nd-ranked Jennifer Magley had won the first set, 6-1. Nina Suvak gave the Gators a 3-0 lead when she defeated Arkansas' Christian Kincannon without giving up a game (6-0, 6-0) in 38 minutes. Boglarka Berecz (No. 71) came away with the match clincher for the Gators when she also took a straight set (6-0, 6-1) win over Arkansas' Melissa Cornett on court four.
    UF would come away with wins on the remaining three courts as well for the shutout. On court three, UF's 48th-ranked Julie Rotondi used scores of 6-3 to defeat Iliana Pacheco. On court five, UF's Lindsay Dawaf defeated Arkansas' Whitney Morton in straight sets (6-2, 6-2). At the top of the lineup, eighth-ranked Alexis Gordon took control of things in the second set against No. 31 Anna Dybica for a 6-3, 6-3 victory to round out the list of UF winners.
  • GYMNASTICS: The No. 5 Gators (12-5) placed second (196.35 points) behind No. 7 Nebraska (8-2, 196.525 points), which claimed its 53rd consecutive regular season home victory at the 2004 Master's Classic.
    No. 26 Arizona State (8-6) took third at 195.625 while Illinois (7-6) posted a 194.025.
    The balance beam was the great equalizer Sunday as each team was forced to count a fall toward its event team total Sunday. Florida moved into a slender .15 lead over the Cornhuskers heading into the last rotation after the final two UN beam workers recorded a fall. But Florida also had trouble on the beam, with two of the final three competitors recording falls, forcing the Gators to their second-lowest beam total of the season of 48.80.
    The Gator coaching staff planned to have junior All-American Orley Szmuch return to the Florida all-around lineup after competing on vault and bars only in the last two meets due to an ankle injury. But Szmuch remained back at the hotel due to the flu. while the Gators competed Sunday afternoon.
    "This is the one instance where I can say, unfortunately, we beat ourselves. We were doing really, really well keeping the energy level up and the confidence level up considering all the difficulties we had because it was a long weekend of travel, Orley was out with the flu and Savannah (Evans) was also ill. The alternates that were put into the lineup due to Orley's illness did an unbelievable job - they really performed well and had a great showing," UF Head Coach Rhonda Faehn said. "I told the athletes at the end of the meet that especially when you are on the road, it is very difficult to win when you have to count a miss. I know that the athletes were very disappointed, especially since we set the school beam record on Friday (49.525). To finish on a note like that is really tough for them; but then again it is a learning experience. They need to learn how to stay strong to the very end through a two-day competition so that we are prepared for NCAAs and Super Six. It will be nice to go back home, though. We will rest a little bit and get our athletes healthy."
    A Gator stepped up on the Master's Classic awards stand for every event Sunday. Junior Erinn Dooley matched her collegiate-best mark to share the day's balance beam title with UN's Tammi Harris at 9.925. She also was among a five-way tie for first on floor exercise with a mark of 9.875. In the all-around competition, Dooley finished third with a 39.45. For the third consecutive meet, freshman Katie Rue led the Gators on the vault. She shared second in the final vault standings with UN's Libby Landgraf at 9.875. Erin Pendleton was runner-up on the uneven bars with a 9.90, while Dooley shared third on the event with UN's Kristi Esposito at 9.875.
    "It was tight meet all the way through. You've got to stay focused and know what you need to do," Dooley said. "What happened on beam happens. It isn't always what you want, but it happens. We'll go back home and work on our mistakes to make sure that we are ready for the University of Arizona this Friday. We will work extra hard because our goal is to be the No. 1 team."
    Other event winners Sunday included Harris and ASU's Ashley Kelly sharing the all-around crown at 39.55. Harris also claimed the vault title at 9.925 and shared the floor title with teammate Jamie Saas, UF's Dooley and ASU's Kelly. Kelly also won the uneven bars with a 9.95.
    The Gators host the final two meets of the regular season. No. 11 Arizona will compete in the Mardi Gras Madness dual meet on Friday at 7 p.m. in the Stephen C. O'Connell Center.
    Tickets are $4.00 for adults, while children 17 and under plus UF students with identification are admitted free. The first 500 fans at Friday's meet will receive alligator beads and feather masks.
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