Notebook: UF gymnastics to face UGA


Florida Gator head coach Rhonda Faehn congratulates gymnast Mackenzie Caquatto after she competed on the vault against the Alabama Crimson Tide on Friday Feb. 8, 2013 in Gainesville, Fla. Florida defeated Alabama 198.100 to 196.850, the second highest score in Florida's history.

Matt Stamey/Staff photographer
Published: Monday, February 11, 2013 at 9:44 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, February 11, 2013 at 11:58 p.m.

If you hear loud barking coming from the north end of the O'Connell Center this week, don't be alarmed.

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Florida Gator head coach Rhonda Faehn congratulates gymnast Mackenzie Caquatto after she competed on the vault against the Alabama Crimson Tide on Friday Feb. 8, 2013 in Gainesville, Fla. Florida defeated Alabama 198.100 to 196.850, the second highest score in Florida's history.

Matt Stamey/Staff photographer

Coming off the second-highest team score in program history of 198.100 in an impressive dual-meet win over two-time defending NCAA champion Alabama Friday, the No. 1 Florida gymnastics team will face a stern road test when the Gators (5-1, 4-1) travel to face No. 9 Georgia (5-4-1, 3-0-1) in a sold-out Stegeman Coliseum Saturday at 4 p.m.

Head coach Rhonda Faehn and her staff will be doing their best to prepare the Gators for what is sure to be a rowdy welcome.

“(Assistant coach ) Robert (Ladanyi) is pretty funny about that,” Faehn said. “He will do some things. I know before Alabama was coming, he would yell ‘Roll Tide.' It's funny, but the girls, they don't like to hear that, so it does help them.




“I'm not sure who will be barking, but our athletes, they will know what to expect.”

Faehn added that she is anxious to see how the Gators respond Saturday.

“I love it when our athletes get in situations like that because that's the best test they could have, the best preparation that our team can have, heading into what the pressure will be like at the end of the season,” she said.

LACROSSE: The No. 3 Gators opened their season on a strong note with a come-from-behind, 5-3 road win over No. 5 North Carolina Saturday.

“For us to go on the road and secure this win was a super accomplishment for our program,” head coach Amanda O'Leary said. “That's a team that we hadn't beaten in the three previous meetings, so I'm just really proud of our players.”

After North Carolina started strong with three goals in the game's first eight minutes, UF senior goalkeeper Mikey Meagher shut out the Tar Heels the rest of the way, recording 20 saves and earning the first WomensLax.com Player of the Week national honor of 2013.

“I thought Mikey played a great game,” O'Leary said. “She was composed and made some critical saves and did a great job directing our defense.”

The Gators (1-0) face Jacksonville Wednesday at 7 p.m. and High Point (N.C.) Sunday at 1 p.m. before hosting Stony Brook in their home opener Feb. 20.

WOMEN'S TENNIS: The top-ranked and two-time defending national champion Gators opened their dual-match spring season with a trio of shutouts, downing South Florida, UCF and No. 15 Baylor all by 7-0 scores last week at Linder Stadium.

UF hits the road for the first time in 2013 when the Gators (3-0) head north to play a pair of top-10 opponents in No. 3 Duke and No. 8 North Carolina Sunday and Monday.

“I thought we played really well our first three matches, “ head coach Roland Thornqvist said. “We got better and better through each match.”

Thornqvist is anxious to see how the Gators answer their upcoming challenge.

“It's a tremendously tough weekend up there,” he said. “We've got our hands full clearly, but we'll find out a lot about our team.”

WOMEN'S BASKETBALL: The Gators are trending upward after getting their first back-to-back wins in a month, most recently picking up a come-from-behind SEC road win Sunday against Auburn, a team UF had not beaten on its home court since 2004.

With the victory, Florida improved to 15-9 overall and 4-6 in league play, staying alive in the middle of the pack in the always tough SEC race.

“It was a great road win coming off a bye week,” assistant coach David Lowery said. “We had a tough week of practice getting ready to play Auburn, a team that had been playing very well.”

The Gators face a big road challenge this week when they take on No. 11 Texas A&M (19-5, 9-1) Thursday night at 9 p.m. The Aggies are the hottest team in the SEC, having won seven straight.

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