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UF Women's Tennis 2012 Preseason No. 1

January 5, 2012 11:13 AM
UF thornqvist_001On the strength of returning all seven letter-winners who drove the Gators to the 2011 NCAA Championship match, the University of Florida women's tennis team is ranked first in the 2012 Intercollegiate Tennis Association Preseason Rankings. Florida, the defending NCAA champion, is ranked No. 1 to start the year for the eighth time since the ranking system began. It is UF's first preseason No. 1 ranking since the 2003-04 campaign.

Florida is one of only four schools (with Duke, UCLA and Virginia) with five or more players ranked in the Top 125 singles rankings.

The Gators capped their 2011 NCAA Title run with a 31-1 overall record, defeating Stanford 4-3 in the season championship held in Stanford, Calif. The Cardinals open the 2011-12 season ranked No. 2, followed by Duke, North Carolina, UCLA, Baylor, Georgia, California, Virginia and Michigan rounding out the Top 10.

Florida is scheduled to meet five Top 7-ranked teams during the regular season, playing at Stanford on Feb. 12, hosting Duke on March 14, hosting North Carolina on Feb. 26, traveling to Baylor on Feb. 4, and at Georgia on March 4. Georgia also plays host to the 2012 NCAA Championships on May 17-28.

Junior Allie Will (Boca Raton, Fla.) is ranked No. 3 and senior Joanna Mather (Duluth, Ga.) No. 4 in the preseason singles rankings, while junior Lauren Embree (Marco Island, Fla.) is No. 25.

The Gator trio had a strong fall season, with Will posting a 5-0 record highlighted by winning the Riviera/ITA All-American Singles Championships, one of the collegiate Grand Slam events. Mather, who was 12-4 during the fall, reached the finals of the USTA/ITA National Indoor Championships, while reaching the finals of the Riviera/ITA All-American consolation draw where she fell to Stanford's Mallory Burdette, the top-ranked player in the country. Embree logged a 7-3 singles record during the 2011 fall, reaching the round of 16 at the Riviera/ITA All-American Singles Championships and the USTA/ITA National Indoor Championships, where she bowed out in three sets to the eventual champion.

Gator sophomores Sofie Oyen (Leopoldsburg, Belgium) and Alex Cercone (Seminole, Fla.) earned the No. 34 and No. 41 spots in the national singles rankings.

Florida's Oyen and Will were ranked No. 10 in the January doubles rankings, while the team of Embree and Mather were No. 15.

Florida will send players to compete in the Freeman Memorial, which is the last individual singles and doubles event prior to the NCAA Championships, on Jan. 13-15 in Las Vegas, before opening its 2012 dual match season on Jan. 25, playing host to Troy at Linder Stadium at Ring Tennis Complex beginning at 3 p.m. Admission to all regular-season home matches is free.

For complete team, singles and doubles rankings visit www.ITAtennis.com






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