Notebook: Women's tennis begins


Published: Monday, January 28, 2013 at 11:45 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, January 28, 2013 at 11:45 p.m.

It seems no one is more anxious for the two-time defending NCAA champion Florida women's tennis team to get its dual match season started than head coach Roland Thornqvist.

Facts

Tuesday

Women's tennis
Who: South Florida at Florida
Where: Linder Stadium
When: 3 p.m.

“It seems like the whole country has played except the Gators, so I'm excited to see them play,” he said. “Everybody is striking the ball great, I think we're pretty fit and we've done some doubles work, so I think we've got a pretty good idea of what we're going to do. I kind of like where we are right now.”

UF, which is ranked No. 1 heading into its spring season, will make up for its late start by playing three home matches in the next five days, beginning with Tuesday's opener against No. 43 USF at Linder Stadium at 3 p.m.

UF will host UCF tomorrow at 3 p.m. and will cap the week with a match against No. 15 Baylor Saturday at 1 p.m.

“It's going to be great,” Thornqvist said. “With these matches this week, we're going to find out a lot about our team.”

The 2013 Gators have a nice mix of experience and youth.

“This year has a little bit different feel to it,” Thornqvist said. “Last year, we played almost with a heavy burden with the same team coming back. We feel lighter, you know, like there's no pressure really, which is kind of nice.”

Track & Field: After a strong effort against a tough field at the 2013 Razorback Invitational in Fayetteville, Ark., head coach Mike Holloway sees a lot of positives.

“I was actually very, very pleased with the results across the board,” he said. “We had five season-bests and a lot of personal-bests, and the thing I was really most pleased with was our focus and our attention to detail, especially with a young team.”

The UF women, ranked No. 7 nationally, edged No. 6 LSU by one point, 101-100, to win the title, defeating a field that also included No. 5 Arkansas, No. 12 Arizona, No. 13 Texas, No. 16 Georgia, No. 17 Baylor and No. 23 Nebraska.

On the men's side, No. 3 Florida, the three-time defending NCAA indoor champion, picked up 79.5 points to finish second to No. 1 Arkansas (124) while defeating No. 6 LSU, No. 11 Texas, No. 13 Arizona and No. 21 Florida State.

Next up is a split weekend of competition. Some Gators will compete at the Frank Sevigne Husker Invitational in Lincoln, Neb., while others will travel to the New Balance Collegiate Invitational in New York City.

Gymnastics: Coming off a season-high score of 197.650 that is the best in the nation this year, UF holds the No. 1 spot in the latest GymInfo poll released Monday with an average score of 197.025.

Led by sophomore sensation Kytra Hunter, who won three of the four individual events as well as the meet's all-around title in a decisive win over No. 18 Auburn Friday in its annual Link to Pink event in front of the sixth-largest O'Connell Center crowd (8,159) in program history, UF (3-1, 2-1) hits the road for this Friday's SEC meet at No. 22 Arkansas (1-2, 0-2) at 8 p.m.

“Friday night's competition was incredible, starting from the attendance and the crowd of over 8,000 people,” head coach Rhonda Faehn said. “I think the energy was just electric inside the O-Dome and our athletes really fed off of that. It was amazing having all the cancer survivors out on the floor when the athletes ran through the tunnel, and it was really an inspirational evening.”

Swimming & Diving: Coming off a split with homestanding Auburn, UF closes out its regular season this Friday on Senior Day with a home meet against another tough SEC opponent, Tennessee, at 7 p.m.

The Florida and Auburn men were tied for the No. 5 spot nationally coming into the weekend, but the Gators won 167-133, improving to 6-0, 5-0 and spoiling Senior Day for the Tigers (5-1, 4-1), while the No. 9 UF women (2-4, 1-3) fell to the No. 4 Tigers (7-0, 5-0) 161-138.

“Saturday was a typical SEC dual meet between Auburn and Florida,” associate women's head coach Martin Wilby said. “The men swam outstanding and showed our depth and I think raced really well.

“The women weren't quite as fortunate. It came down to the last relay and we lost there, but they raced really well, too, especially the front half of the meet.”

Women's basketball: The Gators (13-8, 2-5), mired in a four-game SEC losing streak, will try and right the ship when they go on the road to take on league newcomer Missouri (13-8, 2-5) Thursday at 8 p.m.

Three of Florida's four straight losses have come to ranked teams, most recently a 69-52 road loss to No. 14 Georgia Sunday in which no Florida player scored in double figures for the first time all season.

“The next one is always important,” head coach Amanda Butler said. “We're playing a great shooting team in Missouri and have to rebound from a disappointing loss to Georgia. We played, I thought, one of our worst halves of the year.”

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