No. 2 Florida women's tennis defeats No. 1 UNC

UF's Embree wins 100th career singles match


Published: Monday, February 18, 2013 at 11:22 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, February 18, 2013 at 11:22 p.m.

Less than 24 hours after suffering its first loss of the season, the second-ranked University of Florida women's tennis team returned to the court and knocked off top-ranked North Carolina, 4-2, at the Cone-Kenfield Tennis Center on Monday afternoon.

The Gators (4-1) didn't have much time to regroup after Sunday's 4-0 loss at No. 4 Duke, but Florida stepped up and handed the talent-laden Tar Heels (9-1) their first defeat of the season.

After freshman Brianna Morgan posted a 6-1, 6-1 win against Lauren McHale that evened the team scoring at 2-all, Lauren Embree rallied on court No. 1, where she was facing seventh-ranked Gina Suarez-Malaguti. The fourth-ranked Gator won a tough opening set 6-4, but dropped the second 6-1. She then closed out the match 6-4, 1-6, 6-2 that gave Florida the 3-2 lead.

The three-set victory was the 100th career singles win for Embree, who became the 24th Gator to reach the 100-singles win plateau and just the eighth player in program history to record 100 wins in both singles and doubles. Embree's career singles stands at 100-14, while her doubles record is a remarkable 102-18.

“Today was the day we found out that our team had heart,” UF head coach Roland Thornqvist said. “If you want to achieve anything, that's the No. 1 ingredient. I told them after the match that I was more proud of this achievement, to play away at North Carolina, after losing the doubles point, after losing to Duke, and comeback from behind to do what we did today shows what we have to work with."

Courts two and three were the final matches and both were in a third set, tight early until Alexandra Cercone started to break away with a 4-1 lead against No. 212 Whitney Kay. Sofie Oyen was battling on court two against Zoe De Bruycker and was even at 2-all before the Gator junior started to make her move, as she overcame losing the first set and provided the clinching dual match victory, 3-6, 6-1, 6-3. Cercone was serving up 5-4 when play was abandoned.

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