UF women's tennis perfect in SEC

Published: Saturday, April 14, 2012 at 8:52 p.m.
Last Modified: Saturday, April 14, 2012 at 8:52 p.m.

COLUMBIA, S.C. – The Florida women's tennis team captured the Southeastern Conference overall championship outright with a 4-1 win Saturday against South Carolina in the regular-season finale for both teams.

The second-ranked Gators improved to 18-1 overall and a perfect 11-0 in SEC action, extending their regular-season win streak against league foes to 35 and carry their 13-match win streak into the SEC Tournament which gets under way Thursday in Oxford, Miss. Florida earned the No. 1 seed and a first-round bye in the 12-team event.

Florida, last year's NCAA champions, actually trailed early in the match against the Gamecocks (14-7, 5-6 SEC), who took the doubles point by winning on courts one and three.

The Gators, however, stormed back and won the first four singles matches to claim the team victory before the rest of the matches were abandoned once the dual match outcome had been decided.

The Gators have won the SEC regular-season title 26 times in the 33 years the league has sponsored women's tennis. Florida marched through the regular-season with an undefeated league record (11-0) for the third consecutive season and the 21st time in program history. The Gators have won more SEC women's tennis crowns than any other women's team at any school in any sport.

Lauren Embree and Joanna Mather won their doubles match on court two, 8-5, and extended their streak to 16 in a row. South Carolina captured the decision on the other two courts, halting UF's run on court one where Sofie Oyen and Allie Will were upset, 8-3, and saw their 14-match run come to an end. SC claimed the doubles point with a 9-8 (7-2) decision on court three against Olivia Janowicz and Caroline Hitimana.

On the singles court, Embree won her 12th straight match with a 6-1, 6-1 victory against Jaklin Alawi and tied the team scoring at 1-all. Mather followed with a similar score on court three and gave UF a 2-1 lead, before Alexandra Cercone posted a 6-2, 6-1 victory on court five for a 3-1 advantage. Will provided the clinching dual match win as she polished off 6-0, 6-3 decision against Anya Morgina on court one and secure the Gator victory.

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