Roundup: Men’s tennis earns spot in tourney


Published: Saturday, January 29, 2011 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, January 30, 2011 at 12:15 a.m.

The seventh-ranked Florida men’s tennis team punched its ticket to the ITA National Team Indoor Championships with a 6-1 victory over North Carolina State at Linder Stadium at Ring Tennis Complex on Saturday.

The Gators will be one of 16 teams in the national tournament, held Feb. 18-21 in Seattle, Wash.

Florida posted a dominant doubles performance, led by an 8-0 whitewash on court three by Bob van Overbeek and Billy Federhofer that lasted 38 minutes. Eleventh-ranked Alexandre Lacroix and Nassim Slilam provided the clincher with an 8-4 court one victory. With the doubles point clinched, the match on court two was abandoned with Sekou Bangoura Jr. and Andrew Butz leading, 7-2.

Slilam was hardly touched in his singles match, winning 6-1, 6-0 against Rafael Paez. Slilam took the first five games and the final seven games to bring the first singles point to the Gators in just 43 minutes.

van Overbeek then posted his 10th straight singles win dating back to the fall season with a straight-sets victory over No. 82 Dave Thomson on court three, highlighted by strong serving from the sophomore.

The clincher came from Lacroix on court one, as he won eight of the final 10 games on the way to a 6-4, 6-2 victory over No. 61 Jaime Pulgar.

WOMEN’S TENNIS: The second-ranked Gators downed College of Charleston, 6-0, Saturday in the first round of the ITA Kick-Off Classic played at Linder Stadium at Ring Tennis Complex.

Florida (2-0) earned its first point against College of Charleston (0-1) with wins at the No. 2 and 3 doubles spots. Lauren Embree and Joanna Mather won the first doubles match with an 8-1 victory and Alex Cercone and Olivia Janowicz clinched the doubles point with their 8-0 win.

In singles play, Janowicz earned the first singles point with her 6-0, 6-2 defeat of Kelly Kambourelis at the No. 5 position. Caroline Hitimana was not far behind in her victory over Irene Viana, 6-1, 6-0.

Freshman Sofie Oyen clinched the match with her 6-1, 6-3 win over Charleston’s Kinsey Casey at the No. 3 spot, but Allie Will and Embree still had time to record wins at the No. 1 and 2 spots, respectively.

Florida will play Winthrop, a 4-3 winner over William & Mary, in today’s second-round championship match at 1 p.m.

The winner of the second-round advances to the round of 16 for the ITA National Team Indoor Championships held in Madison, Wis., Feb. 18-21.

SWIMMING: The No. 5/8 Florida men’s and women’s teams sent 12 seniors out in style Saturday, sweeping SEC rival Tennessee on Senior Day at the O’Connell Center. The No. 5 men’s team defeated the No. 7 Vols, 198-101, while the No. 8 Gator women triumphed over the No. 10 Lady Vols by a 180-120 margin.

On a day recognizing him and 10 other seniors, captain Conor Dwyer won three separate events, including swimming the fastest NCAA time this year in the 400-yard individual medley. Dwyer clocked in at a personal best and NCAA “B” cut time of 3:44.73, the eighth-fastest mark in school history. Earlier in the meet, Dwyer won the 200-yard freestyle with a NCAA provisional mark and UF season-best time of 1:34.33, the fastest time in the SEC (fourth nationally). In the first swimming event of the day, Dwyer teamed up with redshirt sophomore Marco Loughran, freshman Marcin Cieslak and fellow senior Brett Fraser to capture the 200-yard medley relay with a UF season-best tying NCAA “B” cut of 1:28.84.

On the women’s side, freshman Hilda Luthersdottir had her best meet as a Gator with three NCAA qualifying times, including a sweep of the breaststroke events and a win as a member of the Gator 200 medley relay squad. Luthersdottir swam the fastest time by an SEC freshman this season (fifth overall) in the 100 breast, with her NCAA qualifying time of 1.02.29 being the third-quickest mark in Florida history. Ten events later, the Iceland native swam the sixth-fastest 200 breast in school history, finishing in a UF season-best 2:13.64 (sixth fastest in the SEC in 2010-11).

TRACK & FIELD: At College Station, Texas, UF’s Will Claye and Gray Horn each turned in NCAA automatic-qualifying marks on Saturday to highlight the Gators’ participation in the Texas A&M Challenge presented by Mondo America at the Gilliam Indoor Track Stadium.

The Gators won five events on the weekend and totaled two NCAA automatic marks. Florida has now automatically qualified three athletes for the upcoming NCAA Indoor Championships, as the pair of Claye and Horn join sophomore triple jumper Omar Craddock as athletes who have punched their tickets back to College Station in March.

Claye, jumping in his first meet in a Gator uniform after transferring from Oklahoma this summer, turned in the best mark in the nation this season in the men’s triple jump with an NCAA automatic-qualifying leap of 16.86m/55-3.25.

Horn won the men’s heptathlon with a personal best and an NCAA automatic-qualifying score of 5,747.

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