Both Gator Tennis Teams to Host NCAA

Linder Stadium in Gainesville will be a busy place next weekend when both Gator tennis teams host NCAA first and second round matches. The second round winners will advance to the NCAA Championship field of 16, which will take place in Athens, Georgia. The Gator women enter the NCAA Tournament ranked No.3, while the men's team is No. 6 in the nation.

The women will open play on Friday, May 14 with Utah (17-7) taking on Washington (11-5) at 11:00 a.m. followed by the Gators (24-2) against South Carolina State (16-5). The winners will meet Saturday at 3:00 for the spot in the round of 16.

"We're very pleased to be hosting and have the opportunity to play in front of our terrific fans on our home courts again," UF women's head coach Roland Thornqvist said in a UF news release. "I was very surprised when I saw the draw because we've never had two teams from so far away have to travel to Gainesville for a regional. We're excited to see new teams in Gainesville. We don't know much about any of the three other teams in our regional so we'll spend the next few days doing as much research as we can on them. It's exciting to finally know who you're going to be playing and I think our energy level will go to another level in practice."

An interesting side not to the women's draw is that Washington is coached by former Gator great Jill (Heatherington) Hultquist. She was an all-American at Florida in the mid-80's and helped the Gators reach the NCAA semifinals for the first time in school history in 1987. She was one of the best doubles players in school history, posting a 113-11 career record to go with 98 singles wins. Heatherington-Hultquist was inducted into the UF Athletic Hall of Fame in 1999.


Prior to the women's second round match on Saturday the men will take to the court with Auburn (11-12) facing Troy (20-4) at 9:00 in an in-state battle while the Gators (19-4) face South Carolina State (11-10) at noon. The winners will meet up on Sunday at 2:00 in second round action.

"Hosting is something that was a goal and it's hard-earned, so we're excited about that," men's head coach Andy Jackson said in a UF news release. "I don't know much about South Carolina State, so I'm going to have to find out. I know a lot about Auburn. Auburn is extremely good. We played two very close matches against them, so if we get through it's going to be a very quick, early challenge."

Florida beat Auburn in both of those matches. The Gators won 5-2 in the regular season and then took out the Tigers 4-1 in the SEC Tournament.

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