Monday, May 23, 2011
Gators set date with Stanford for title
STANFORD, Calif. -- Florida will be the next team to get a chance to stop Stanford's remarkable home winning streak.
Allie Will clinched the top-ranked and second-seeded Gators' 4-0 victory over UCLA in the NCAA women's national team semifinals Monday, sending the Gators to their second straight final and 12th overall.
Will beat McCall Jones 7-5, 6-2 as the Gators (30-1) extended their winning streak to 20. Florida's lone loss came to top-seeded and second-ranked Stanford on Feb. 21 in the championship match of the National Team Indoor Championship.
"I thought I played well," Will said. "I hadn't played her in a long time. She made me battle and grind out every point. We're playing great at every position and mentally we are better than ever. I'm looking forward to playing again and I hope we play our best tennis."
The Cardinal (28-0) reached the final with a 4-1 victory over Baylor. Mallory Burdette clinched the match for a 7-5, 6-4 win over Nina Secerbegovic at No. 2 singles.
Burdette clinched last year's championship and said it would be hard to compare but this semifinal win "was a good feeling."
Stanford extended its NCAA record home winning streak to 184 matches, a streak that began in February 1999.
"It doesn't obsess us at all," Stanford coach Lele Forood said. "It is what it is and we know that someday it will end. We enjoy it but it is not a motivating factor."
Florida has its own home winning streak at 95 matches heading into next season. The Gators lost the 1999 national championship at home against Stanford and would like to return the favor. The Cardinal ended a then-NCAA-record 60-match home winning streak.
"This is what we work for from the start," Gators coach Roland Thornqvist said. "We had been playing with a heavy burden but once we let that go, we've played better. Tomorrow we'll swing freely."
Stanford could be without freshman Kristie Ahn, who retired from her match after three games with an ankle injury. She had a 24-match winning streak entering play and won the Pac-10 singles title.
"We certainly feel bad for Kristie but we will be taking care of the Florida Gators," Thornqvist said.
Ahn, who was playing in her second match in three weeks, missed the first three rounds of the tournament with the same injury.
"All I saw was that her score wasn't changing," Burdette said. "I wasn't really paying that much attention because I had my own match to take care of. We weren't really expecting much from her."
Baylor had a 19-match winning streak end, although Jelena Stanivuk won for the 26th time in 28 matches. She won her 100th career match during the Bears' quarterfinal victory over North Carolina.
"Stanford is better than us," Baylor coach Joey Scrivano said. "There's not much else to say. We are miles away from them. It isn't close. We need to get better for us to beat them."
UCLA won 15 of its previous 16 matches, with the only loss coming to Stanford. Jones suffered her first loss in the NCAA tournament. Maya Johansson lost for just the second time all season.
"Florida did a great job of staying in every match," Bruins coach Stella Sampras Webster said.