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Florida Women Edged by Stanford 4-3 in NCAA Women's Tennis Final

May 25, 2010 07:00 PM

Florida's Lauren Embree

The University of Florida women's tennis team took the early lead with the doubles point, but could not maintain the advantage in a 4-3 loss to Stanford in the final of the NCAA Women's Tennis Championships on Tuesday at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex in Athens, Ga.

"That was probably one of the better matches I've been involved with in a match of this magnitude," UF Head Coach Roland Thornqvist said. "I thought we played terrific in doubles all year and today was no different. For some reason, we got off to a slow start in singles. It looked really grim there for a while, but just like we talked about all year long, we were resilient. I really thought our team showed tremendous courage, heart and pride."

Only freshman No. 1 singles player Lauren Embree (Marco Island, Fla.) was able to win her first set en route to an impressive singles victory on the showcase court. Florida found itself trailing in the team scoring 3-2 and was down in the two remaining singles matches. The Gators battled their way back into the dual match and evened the score when sophomore Joanna Mather
(Duluth, Ga.) won a three setter on court five in two hours and 42 minutes.

That set the stage for the championship to be decide on court three, where senior Marrit Boonstra (The Netherlands) had rallied to force a third set against freshman Mallory Burdette. Boonstra lost her serve at love in the seventh game, but came right back to break Burdette and held to get the match back on-serve at 5-4. Burdette held and jumped on Boonstra, whose double-fault set up double-break point, which the Cardinal took before serving out the match for the championship.

"My heart just aches for Marrit," Thornqvist said. "She has given this program everything she has. It's just not fair for it to come down to a result like this for her. She's going to be hurting for a long time. Our players will echo when I say that they love her for all she has done for them and how she gives them her heart."

Embree, who earlier in the day was named the ITA National Rookie Player of the Year, looked every bit the country's top collegiate newcomer as she upset fourth-ranked Hilary Barte, 6-4, 6-4 at the No. 1 position. The victory, which was Embree's 17th consecutive, marked the highest-ranked opponent the youngster has defeated.

Boonstra had her 17-match singles winning streak end and she capped her collegiate career with a 77-16 record, as well as remarkable 60-9 dual match mark.

Four Gators won't have much time to recuperate, as they will begin play in the NCAA Singles and Doubles Championships that get underway beginning Wed., May 26 in Athens. Embree and Will were selected for the 64-player singles draw, while the pairings of Embree and Revzina, and Will and Boonstra will compete in the 32-team doubles draw.






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