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Florida women's tennis rallies against Stanford, wins national title

Florida’s Alex Cercone, a former Seminole High standout, looks to return the ball during her doubles match against Stanford.

University of Florida

Florida’s Alex Cercone, a former Seminole High standout, looks to return the ball during her doubles match against Stanford.

STANFORD, Calif. — Lauren Embree survived a third-set tiebreaker to beat Stanford's Mallory Burdette 5-7, 6-3, 7-6 (8-6) and help Florida rally to clinch the national title Tuesday night.

The Gators claimed their fifth national title with the 4-3 victory and snapped the Cardinal's 184-match home winning streak that dated to 1999.

Florida grabbed a 1-0 lead after taking the doubles point before Stanford claimed the first three completed matches in singles. The Gators then won the final three matches for their first national title since 2003 (also a 4-3 win over Stanford).

Hilary Barte gave Stanford (28-1) its first point at No. 1 singles, beating Allie Will 6-2, 6-4. Nicole Gibbs gave the Cardinal a 2-1 lead with a 6-4, 7-5 win over Sofie Oyen at No. 3 singles.

Stacey Tan recovered from a first-set loss to beat Joanna Mather 3-6, 6-2, 6-4 at No. 4 singles and give Stanford a 3-1 edge, but Seminole High's Alex Cercone beat Veronica Li 4-6, 6-1, 6-4 at No. 5 singles as Florida (31-1) closed to within 3-2.

Olivi Janowicz won 6-7 (6-8), 6-3, 6-1 over Carolyn McVeigh at No. 6 singles to tie it, setting up Embree's chance to win the title.

Meanwhile, the USC men's team (27-2) earned a 4-3 win over top-seeded Virginia (34-1) for its third straight title.

Football Hall of Fame: Longtime NFL linebackers Charles Haley and Dexter Coakley were selected for induction into the divisional class for players and coaches who made their marks at small colleges. Haley played at James Madison in 1982-85 before a stellar career with the 49ers and Cowboys, and Coakley starred at Appalachian State in 1993-96 before playing for the Cowboys and Rams. Others selected: North Dakota State center Michael Favor (1985-88), Trinity College two-way player Mickey Kobrosky (1933-36), Dayton coach Mike Kelly and Bill Manlove, who coached at Widener (Pa.) University, Delaware Valley College and La Salle.

APR fallout: Southern became the first school to face postseason bans in two programs — men's basketball and football — because of academics. The NCAA also banned Jackson State and Idaho State from postseason play in football and Grambling, Cal State-Northridge, Chicago State and Louisiana-Monroe in men's basketball, citing poor classroom performance based on the latest Academic Progress Rate scores.

Baseball: Florida catcher Mike Zunino was named SEC player of the year, and outfielder Preston Tucker, from Plant, made the All-SEC first team. … USF third baseman Jonathan Koscso of Tampa made the All-Big East first team.

Basketball: Michigan State guard Russell Byrd will have surgery on his left foot Friday and is expected to be out for four months.

Football: Washington State linebacker Louis Bland was arrested on suspicion of marijuana possession in Pullman, Wash., police said.

Conference baseball tournaments

ACC

When: Today-Sunday

Where: Durham, N.C.

Notable: No. 2 seed Florida State (40-15, 19-11) opens Pool B play at 7 tonight against N.C. State (33-23, 15-15). The Seminoles play Clemson at 3 p.m. Thursday and Georgia Tech at 3 p.m. Friday. Miami (34-20, 19-10) is the fifth seed overall. It opens Pool A play at 11 a.m. Thursday against North Carolina (44-12, 20-10) and follows with games Friday and Saturday against top-seeded Virginia (11 a.m.) and Wake Forest (3 p.m.), respectively. Pool winners play for the title at 1 p.m. Sunday.

Big East

When: Today-Sunday

Where: Bright House Networks Field, Clearwater

Notable: USF did not make the eight-team field. Games begin at 10 a.m. today. The title game is at noon Sunday.

SEC

When: Today-Sunday

Where: Hoover, Ala.

Notable: Florida (41-15, 22-8) is seeded third and opens against Mississippi State (34-21, 14-16) at 1 p.m. today. The title game is at 2 p.m. Sunday.

Florida women's tennis rallies against Stanford, wins national title 05/24/11 [Last modified: Wednesday, May 25, 2011 6:24pm]
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