The season may have just begun for No. 5/5 Florida Gators softball, but the ladies did not waste time getting off to a fast 5-0 start at the USF Wilson DeMarini Tournament in over the weekend. Florida defeated Marshall, Florida Gulf Coast, Long Island, North Carolina State and USF by a combined 53-3 score; the Gators shut out three of their five opponents and scored 17 runs in the first four innings of their season-opener.
The highlight of the weekend for softball came Saturday when senior pitcher Stephanie Brombacher tossed the second perfect game of her career to send Florida to a 9-0 shutout victory over N.C. State. Brombacher needed only 67 pitches to do the deed; she struck out six in her five innings of work. Ending up 3-0 at the tournament’s conclusion, Brombacher struck out 19 in 14 innings of work, did not give up a single earned run and only allowed four hits in her final game of the weekend against USF.
Softball may have won five games in three days, but a veteran diver did her best to earn all of the weekend’s accolades for herself.
Not to be overshadowed was the Gators women’s diving team, led by senior Monica Dodson, who broke two Southeastern Conference records and won two gold medals in the diving portion of the 2011 SEC Swimming and Diving Championships at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville, FL.
Dodson, a three-time All-American, won the three-meter event (six dives) with a score of 373.85 on Friday; she followed that up with a victory in the platform event (five dives) with a score of 325.20 at the final day of competition on Sunday. For her efforts and achievements this season, Dodson was named the 2011 SEC Women’s Diver of the Year. Florida diving coach Donnie Craine was honored after the event with his second-straight SEC Women’s Diving Coach of the Year award, an honor that puts him second all-time in conference history.
Check out the other UF sports that had a successful weekend…after the break!
Adding to the Gators’ weekend successes was No. 3 men’s golf, which captured its eighth-straight SunTrust Invitational when event action concluded on Sunday. Thanks to a total team effort, including a playoff win by redshirt senior Andres Echavarria of Colombia, Florida won by nine strokes with a four-over 844; Auburn and LSU finished in second and third, respectively.
No. 1 Gators gymnastics (7-0, 4-0 SEC) wanted to celebrate, too. That is exactly what the ladies did after posting a season-best 197.725 total (also tops in school history for an away meet) to sweep the No. 4 Georgia Bulldogs (6-3, 2-2 SEC) on the road at Stegeman Coliseum. Florida sophomore Ashanée Dickerson captured the balance beam, floor exercise and vault titles, while freshman Alaina Johnson won the all around and shared the vault victory with Dickerson. (Senior Maranda Smith tied both ladies with a 9.90 in the vault as well).
Though their No. 7 men’s counterpart (6-1) lost their first match of the season 4-3 to the No. 16 Illinois Illini, No. 2 women’s tennis (7-0) took down the No. 4 North Carolina Tar Heels (5-1) 5-2 and No. 6 Duke Blue Devils (6-1) 4-2 in a pair of road matches. The No. 1 duo of sophomore Allie Will and freshman Sofie Oyen lost their doubles match against UNC, but No. 7 Will, No. 28 freshman Alex Cercone and No. 30 junior Joanna Mather all won singles matches to help propel the Gators to victory. Will/Oyen made up for their loss with a 9-7 victory against Duke. Will, Mather and No. 96 Oyen captured singles wins Sunday as well.
For the men, the No. 11 duo of senior Alexandre Lacroix and junior Nassim Slilam won their doubles match; however, No. 4 Lacroix fell in singles competition.
Closing out the victorious weekend for Florida was the track and field team, which competed in three meets – the Tyson Invitational, Iowa State Classic and FloTrack Husky Classic – across the country. You can read more about the team’s numerous wins and NCAA qualifiers by clicking here.
On the other side of the coin, Gators women’s basketball (14-13, 4-9 SEC) fell apart in back-to-back road contests to continue their four-game losing streak. The No. 4 Tennessee Volunteers (23-2, 11-0 SEC) routed the ladies 61-39 on Thursday before the Alabama Crimson Tide (13-12, 2-10 SEC) overcame a 10-point halftime deficit to win 64-59 on Sunday.