UF roundup: Briggs, Merritt collect SEC honors for women's basketball team

Special to Gatorsports.com

Florida women's basketball players Lavender Briggs and Jordyn Merritt won SEC postseason honors Tuesday, the league announced.

Briggs earned a spot on the All-SEC Second Team and Merritt a place on the All-Freshman squad.

Before it was announced that Briggs would miss the remainder of the season due to a foot injury on Feb. 15, the Utah native put together one of the best seasons in program history and she will finish with the fourth-highest points per game average by a Gator (19.4). In conference play, Briggs increased her scoring average to 21.8 points per game, which trailed only Arkansas senior Chelsea Dungee in the talent-rich SEC. Briggs' scoring average in SEC play is the highest by a Florida player since the 1982-83 season when former All-American and 1992 Olympian Tammy Jackson averaged 22.

Merritt put together a strong debut campaign by averaging 5.5 points and 3.7 rebounds. 

The SEC Tournament in Greenville, South Carolina, will have a smaller field with Vanderbilt having opted out of the season in January due to the pandemic. The 13-team field means only one first-round game, between 12th-seeded Florida (10-12, 3-11 SEC) and 13th-seeded Auburn (5-18, 0-15) at 4 p.m. on SEC Network, instead of two Wednesday.

Baseball

Florida moved up a spot to No. 6 in the latest D1Baseball Top 25.

After opening the first weekend of the season 1-2 against Miami, the Gators are on a five-game winning streak.

Florida (6-2) continues its 13-game home stand Wednesday against Florida Atlantic (6-1). First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m.

Softball

The contest between the No. 5 Gators and South Dakota originally schedule for Monday was canceled due to health and safety protocols within the South Dakota program. The contest will not be rescheduled.

Florida (12-0) is scheduled to continue its homestand Wednesday against New Mexico State (3-9) at 6 p.m.

Volleyball

After picking up two sweeps over Tennessee last week, two Gators earned SEC Player of the Week honors. Junior Lauren Dooley was named Defensive Player of the Week — her first such honor this season — and junior Marlie Monserez picked up her second SEC Setter of the Week honor.

Dooley was a defensive force at the net for the Gators last week, averaging 2.17 blocks per set over the two matches. She leads the league in blocks per set with 1.49.

Monserez averaged 11.67 assists per set over the course of the two Tennessee sweeps. She sits second in the league in assists per set with 10.53.

Dooley, Monserez and the rest of the Gators will be back in action for a two-match series with Arkansas, beginning Friday in Gainesville.

The Florida-Missouri series, originally scheduled for Feb. 6/7, has been rescheduled to March 12/13 in Gainesville. First serve for March 12 is slated for 1 p.m., while the match on March 13 will begin at 4 p.m. in Exactech Arena.

Men's golf

Ricky Castillo has been selected as a member of the 10-man roster for the 2021 United States Walker Cup Team, the United States Golf Association announced Monday.

The Walker Cup will be held from May 8-9 at the Seminole Golf Club in Juno Beach.

Castillo has posted four top-25 finishes during his sophomore campaign. As a freshman, Castillo was named the 2020 SEC Freshman of the Year while also earning the NCAA DI Phil Mickelson Outstanding Freshman Award. He held the lowest scoring average in program history (70.08) and finished inside the top-25 in every event. Castillo joined Matt Every as the only Gators to be named a Ben Hogan Award finalist.

Established in 1922, the Walker Cup is a biennial tournament that pits 10 male amateurs from the United States against a squad from Great Britain and Ireland. The USGA is responsible for the United States selections, while the R&A chooses the Great Britain and Ireland side. The two competition days feature alternating-shot foursomes in the morning followed by singles matches in the afternoon.

Gymnastics

 The duo of Ellie Lazzari and Trinity Thomas collected SEC weekly honors after No. 1 Florida's win vs. No. 18 Auburn.

Lazzari claimed her first SEC Freshman of the Week honor. She is the second Gator to receive SEC Freshman of the Week, as Gabrielle Gallentine was recognized for Week 4.

Thomas claimed her fourth SEC Gymnast of the Week honor and this extends her SEC all-time leading total to 15. This is the fifth such honor for the Gators in 2021 as senior Megan Skaggs earned it for the final week of January.

Florida travels to No. 6 Alabama for the regular-season finale starting at 8:30 p.m. Friday. UF is looking for a win for its second consecutive undefeated SEC regular-season title. An Alabama win would give the Tide a share of the 2021 SEC regular-season title with Florida.

Lacrosse

No. 6 Florida (1-1) will hit the field Wednesday for the first time since Feb. 19. The Gators will take on the Kennesaw State Owls (0-1) in Kennesaw, Ga., with opening draw set for 11 a.m. Florida’s last contest was an 11-5 loss against the top-ranked North Carolina Tar Heels, while the Owls are coming off a 15-7 loss to Coastal Carolina on Feb. 27.