Women's tennis tops Mississippi State, advances to SEC semifinals

Published: Friday, April 21, 2017 at 11:05 p.m.
Last Modified: Friday, April 21, 2017 at 11:05 p.m.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — For the last two seasons, it seems when Florida has needed a clinching win in the SEC Tournament, it looked to Spencer Liang.

The Gator senior was again called upon to provide heroics during Friday's battle against No. 20 Mississippi State (15-8) and Liang came through as she helped Florida earn a tough 4-2 win in the quarterfinal round held at the Currey Tennis Center at Vanderbilt.

Florida (22-2) will face No. 10-seed and 12th-ranked Auburn in the semifinals at 11 a.m. ET today. The Tigers stunned No. 2-seed and fourth-ranked Georgia, 4-1, in their quarterfinal match Friday.

Liang wasn't in Florida's original singles lineup Friday, but after doubles play, UF coach Roland Thornqvist made a change and inserted Liang at the number six position where she polished off the dual match with a 7-5, 6-1 win in just under two hours.

Getting the doubles point for UF with wins were Kourtney Keegan-Brooke Austin and Belinda Woolcock-Josie Kuhlman.

Joining Liang with singles wins for the Gators were Brooke Austin, Anna Danilina.

"I thought we were spectacular in doubles - some of the best doubles we've played all year," Thornqvist said. "The best thing for us all day was Spencer (Liang) coming in here and clinching it for us. She was really, really good. She handled herself great at the end of the first set and was really tough in the second."

Women's golf: At Birmingham, Alabama, Maria Torres paced Florida in the first round of the SEC Women's Golf Championship. The senior used a bogey-free back nine to finish the day in a tie for seventh at two-under (70). Overall as a team, UF ended the day in third place at four-under (284).

Karolina Vlckova and Kelly Grassel both sit inside the top-15, as they are tied for 12th (one-under, 71). Taylor Tomlinson is tied for 19th after carding an even-par (72).

Texas A&M is leading the tournament at six-under (282), and South Carolina's Katelyn Dambaugh, Vanderbilt's Alexandra Farnsworth and Arkansas' Alana Uriell are tied at the top of the leaderboard at four-under (68).

Men's golf: At St. Simons Island, Georgia, Florida had an up-and-down day during the first two rounds of the SEC Championship at the Sea Island Golf Club.

After taking a four-stroke lead following an 11-under 269 in the first round, the Gators shot a nine-over 289 in the second round to fall to third place, three strokes behind the leaders, Texas A&M.

Alejandro Tosti had a solid day on the course, shooting the team's best round of the year with a 64 (-6) in round one. The junior followed it up with a second round 69, putting him in the lead by one stroke after the first day of competition at seven-under overall. Tosti's first round was remarkable, carding a bogey-free front nine and seven birdies overall.

"I'm starting to call him 'el mago,' which is 'the magician' in Spanish," UF coach J.C. Deacon said. "He's really starting to grasp the mental game and it's amazing what his talent can do when his mind is focused like it was today.

"He was the most focused player in the tournament and he was determined. Every single time that he made a bogey or worse, he followed it with a birdie. That kind of discipline and resilience is exactly what a championship golfer needs and he displayed it today."

Sophomore Gordon Neale had a great first round, too, also notching seven birdies, including four in a row to finish the round with a 65.

Texas A&M leads after a -5 (555) after rounds of 273-282—555.

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