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Gator women easily sweep B-CC, face Arkansas today

By DEBI JONES

© St. Petersburg Times, published May 13, 2001


GAINESVILLE -- Several of the Florida women's players did not have a chance to make their impact Saturday afternoon. They didn't have to.

One doubles match and three singles matches went unfinished as the Gators swept Bethune-Cookman College in the first round of the NCAA Championships and advanced to play Arkansas at noon today. The Razorbacks defeated Miami 4-1 in the early match.

Florida defeated the Razorbacks 6-1 on March 6 in Fayetteville, Ark.

"Because you know you are in control, you can lose your focus, they didn't do that," Gators coach Andy Brandi said. "Our practices are much more physically demanding, but they were all business from the first ball hit."

Florida took the doubles point in 36 minutes with wins from the No. 1 team of Whitney Laiho and Jessica Lehnhoff, and the No. 3 team of Annika Bengtsson and Lindsay Dawaf.

Bengtsson did not get much more action than her doubles match as Wildcat Monika Spackova defaulted after the first game with a shoulder injury for the Gators' second point.

Spackova was playing in her first collegiate match as the Wildcats played most the season with five players. NCAA rules state that a team must have six players.

"It's fine that she didn't have to play that match," Brandi said. "It is better for Annika to not have to play that match."

While Bengtsson played one game of her match before taking the forfeit win, Stephanie Hazlett was fighting to make sure she would finish her match before Florida clinched the win.

The senior's 6-1, 6-0 win against Natalia Kostova was her 100th career victory.

"It seems months ago that someone was like you are at 95, 96," Hazlett said. "I told the girls, "If I am close, you better let me finish.' "

Hazlett said her left knee, which has been gimpy since arthroscopic surgery in 1998, didn't bother her.

"In this (warm) weather, it's a little rougher because it (a knee brace) gets a little sweaty and starts to slide up and down," she said. "But my knee didn't feel much different than normal."

Lehnhoff clinched the match with a 6-1, 6-1 win against Martina Tekalova.

"It wasn't easy at all, we had to come out the same way we always come out," Lehnoff said. "If we did have any ease, it was because we came out the same way we always do."

Laiho, Dawaf and Julia Scaringe won their first sets and led in their second sets when the match was clinched.

Against Arkansas, the Hurricanes led in five singles matches, but couldn't hold those advantages. Miami's win came from Marcy Hora at No. 3 singles.

FSU WOMEN LOSE: The Seminoles lost 4-2 against South Carolina in the first round of the region tournament in Tempe, Ariz. FSU winners were Samantha Schoeffel at No. 2 singles and Nanette Duxin at No. 4.

USF MEN ADVANCE: Jorge Escallon won the deciding match at No. 5 singles and the Bulls won 4-3 against South Carolina in a first-round match at UCLA.

MIAMI MEN ADVANCE: The host Hurricanes defeated Charleston Southern 4-0 and advanced to the second round of the NCAA region for the first time since 1997. It's their first 20-win season since 1994. Miami plays Minnesota at noon today. The Gophers defeated Alabama 4-1.

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