Top-ranked Florida rolls to Round of 16, cruises past Miami

Josie Kuhlman helped the Gators advance to the third round of the NCAA Championships with the 4-1 win over Miami on Sunday.

Brad McClenny/Staff Photographer/file
Published: Sunday, May 14, 2017 at 6:54 p.m.
Last Modified: Sunday, May 14, 2017 at 6:54 p.m.

The Florida women's tennis team played up to its No. 1 national ranking with a solid 4-1 win over Miami in second-round NCAA Championship Tournament action Sunday at Linder Stadium at the Ring Tennis Complex.


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What: Third round of the NCAA Championships
Who: No. 1 Florida (25-3) vs. No. 20 Texas A&M (18-12)
When: 7 p.m. Friday
Where: Dan Magill Tennis Complex, Athens, Ga.

“I thought we were ready today,” UF coach Roland Thornqvist said. “We were really good in doubles.

"I think playing UMass Saturday and the pace they brought in doubles prepared us for today. We knew it was going to be a little bit different style and tactically different when we played Miami because they played two back a lot. They liked to slow it down and roll and prevent us from moving, whereas UMass really pressed us and tried to move first. Tactically there were two completely different challenges for us, but I thought our team was really good.”

UF (25-3) won the doubles point with wins of 6-0 at No. 1 from Anna Danilina-Ingrid Neel and 6-2 at No. 3 from Josie Kuhlman-Belinda Woolcock, then took control of the singles competition with back-to-back wins from Neel at No. 3 and Brooke Austin at No. 5 to take a commanding 3-0 lead.

Estela Perez- Somarriba put Miami's' first point on the board 10 minutes later at No. 2, but that would be the highlight for the Hurricanes as Danilina clinched it for UF with a big win not long afterward at No. 4 with a 6-0, 6-3 victory that propelled the Gators to the Round of 16 in Athens, Georgia.

UF led the remaining two singles matches as well in a dominating performance.

“I think we all played really well today, doubles especially,” said Danilina, who leads UF with 31 singles wins and has now won a team-high10 consecutive matches.

“We came out strong and did what we had to do to win against this team. They're not really easy to play because they have a lot of good players that are going to fight to the end, so you have to win it yourself or otherwise they're not going to give it to you. Especially in this hot weather, I thought we did a great job competing and doing what we had to do to advance to the Sweet 16.”

Neel, who just joined UF in January, noted the duo has become a formidable force.

“Playing with Anna starting out the first couple of days when I first saw the weapons she had and stuff, it took points playing with each other,” she said. “But it really has come, and we've just gotten better. Playing at number one, we realized the competition is better, but we welcomed it and I think we elevate our games when the competition is tougher. That's another good thing we have going for us.”

Miami, ranked No. 28, finished the season at 13-12.

Next up, UF will face off against SEC foe Texas A&M (18-12) Friday at 7 p.m. in the Round of 16. The Aggies upset No. 16 seed Baylor, 4-3, Sunday. During the regular season, Florida defeated A&M 4-0 in College Station on March 5.

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