TWO BITS: soccer honored, women’s b-ball splits

1 » Two Florida Gators soccer players were named to the NSCAA/Performance Subaru All-America teams last Friday. Sophomore defender Kathryn Williamson was named to the second team, while junior midfielder Tahnai Annis earned fourth team honors. Six different Florida players received recognition when the NSCAA announced its All-South Region awards. Senior MF/D Ashlee Elliott, Annis, Williamson and sophomore MF/forward Erika Tymrak were chosen for the first team, while redshirt senior goalkeeper Katie Fraine and freshman F Taylor Travis were placed on the second team. Congratulations to the ladies for their two 2010 Southeastern Conference Championships (regular season, tournament) and for a great season.

2 » Gators women’s basketball (7-2) had an up-and-down weekend at the Brown BEAR Basketball Classic in Providence, RI, defeating the Providence Friars (5-5) 73-56 on Saturday before being upset by the Brown Bears (3-6) 56-50 on Sunday. Saturday’s victory was led by redshirt junior forward Ndidi Madu, who achieved her first career double-double, and junior guard Jordan Jones, who scored a game-high 19 points in the win. Sunday’s effort was a juxtaposition of the one Florida put forth the day before. After posting their best shooting percentage of the season the day before, the Gators shot a season-worst 30.6 percent from the field in their loss. Though Brown did not perform much better, Florida’s play was worse and ultimately led to their defeat. Jones shot only 2-of-13 from the field (2-of-11 downtown), while Madu led UF with 14 points.

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SIX BITS: Knight, NCAAs, baseball, softball, tennis

1 » Five-star 2011 guard recruit Brandon Knight (Fort Lauderdale, FL) looked to be heading anywhere but the University of Florida, after a report surfaced last week that the Florida Gators have decided to stop pursuing him and move on. Whether you believe that to be the case or you think Knight has already made up his mind to play for the Kentucky Wildcats is no matter – Knight has told The Miami Herald that he has not made a decision yet. “I still have an offer [from Florida],” Knight said. “They’re not not recruiting me. They’re just trying to make sure they get a point guard before the signing period is over. […] I don’t feel anything wrong with [that decision]. It’s smart. As a head coach, you don’t want to put all your eggs in one basket and not end up with anything. They just don’t feel as strongly as they did before. Since they’re the hometown school, they thought I would have signed early or something of that nature. I’m not exactly sure.”

2 » Though Gators men’s swimming failed to match the women’s team with a 2010 National Championship, the team did finish in fifth at this year’s event and is the backbone of the 2010 Division I National Men’s Swimmer of the Year, junior Conor Dwyer. The Texas Longhorns ended up winning the event even as 11 Florida swimmers earned 38 All-America performances while simultaneously shattering two school records. Dwyer picked up seven honors of his own along with two national titles in the 500- and 200-yard freestyles. Read more about the event.

3 » No. 2/5 Florida baseball (18-5, 4-2 SEC) succeeded in ending its two-game road losing streak with a dominating 13-1 victory Sunday against the No. 17/19 Ole Miss Rebels (19-6, 4-2 SEC). After falling 3-2 in a tight first game and being trounced in the second game 15-3, the Gators rebounded with three RBI apiece from freshman catcher Austin Maddox (2-4, two runs) and sophomore outfielder Daniel Pigott (1-4) as well as 5.1 solid innings from freshman starter Brian Johnson (2-1). Johnson did not allow a single earned run in the outing.

Catch up on No. 6/13 softball, No. 4 women’s tennis and No. 6 men’s tennis!
Continue Reading » SIX BITS: Knight, NCAAs, baseball, softball, tennis

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FOUR BITS: Baseball, tennis win; golf leads; track

1 » No. 6/7 Florida Gators baseball (10-2) began its series against the Charleston Southern Buccaneers (5-9) with a 6-0 win Friday night at McKethan Stadium in Gainesville, FL. Sophomore starter Alex Panteliodis (4-0) tossed a career-high seven innings, striking out five in the outing. Florida notched consecutive shutout victories for the first time since 1995. A five-run second inning was highlighted by back-to-back two-out home runs by freshman catcher Mike Zunino (3-3, two RBI) and senior outfielder Matt den Dekker. Florida has decided to add a game against Army to its schedule on Monday, March 15 at 6:30 p.m.

2 » No. 3 women’s and No. 4 men’s track and field combined for five All-America honors on the first day of the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships on Friday. The men are in second-place (four points off the lead), while the women are in 14th. Four qualifying marks/times were achieved by the men, including freshman sprinter and sophomore running back Jeff Demps, who achieved a school-record time of 6.56 seconds in the 60-meter dash.

Two more BITS on tennis’ two wins and men’s golf’s lead…after the jump!
Continue Reading » FOUR BITS: Baseball, tennis win; golf leads; track

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SIX BITS: Tough loss, Stamper, Wuerffel, 2011

1 » One year ago, the Florida Gators women’s basketball team upset the then-No. 12/17 Tennessee Lady Vols 66-57 in the Stephen C. O’Connell Center. Looking to repeat history, a much younger Florida team (9-8, 2-2 SEC) had the game tied at 64 against a significantly more experienced No. 4 Tennessee squad (15-1, 3-0 SEC) until Lady Vols guard Angie Bjorklund hit a reverse lay-up with 2.3 seconds left in the second half to pull ahead and ultimately win 66-64. Four Gators scored in double figures, and Florida led for much of the second half but could not hold on.

2 » In a news item that OGGOA broke Thursday via twitter, former Gators linebacker Ryan Stamper was invited to be a participant in the 2010 East-West Shrine Game on Jan. 23 at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando, FL. Stamper is currently slated to play in the game but may have to pull out if the ankle injury he suffered in the 2010 Sugar Bowl flares up. The game will air live on ESPN2 at 3 p.m. In other Stamper news, he has decided to sign with agent Garriet Blair of GMB Sports and Entertainment. Quarterback Tim Tebow has declined an invitation to the East-West Shrine and will instead participate in the 2010 Senior Bowl in Mobile, AL.

All-Americans, Wuerffel, 2011 recruits and Gators in the pros after the jump!
Continue Reading » SIX BITS: Tough loss, Stamper, Wuerffel, 2011

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FOUR BITS: Brantley, Azzanni, Riley, Tebow

1 » Known as “The Future” and “The Next Tom Brady” by redshirt junior guard Carl Johnson and many of his Florida Gators teammates, redshirt sophomore quarterback John Brantley’s time is now. “He’s going to be really good,” Johnson said when asked about Brantley by the Orlando Sentinel. With everyone focusing on who is departing Gainesville, FL, perhaps it is time to focus on the bright future ahead for some younger Gators. Though he will likely never match what senior QB Tim Tebow has done, Brantley doesn’t have to in order to be successful in Orange and Blue. “I’m not really trying to match [Tebow’s legacy],” Brantley said. “I just want to come out and not miss a beat when my number’s called and hopefully win championships as a starter if I get that opportunity. I don’t have to go in there thinking I have to do everything and make every play.”

2 » Brand new Florida wide receivers coach Zach Azzanni has removed his name from the candidate list for the Central Michigan Chippewas head coach job. “I will be staying in Florida and coaching with the Gators next year,” Azzanni told the Morning Sun. Azzanni did not tell the paper if he was contacted for an interview or offered the position, “but there was a possibility for him to go to Cincinnati with Butch Jones following Urban Meyer’s retirement talk last week,” according to the paper. “We’re always staying busy,” Azzanni said. “There is never a day off in college football. [Winning the Sugar Bowl] felt good. There are so many talented players on the team and everyone really welcomed me in. It was a great experience.”

3 » Now that five-star safety Matt Elam has decommitted from the Gators and joined the Florida State Seminoles, Florida is putting the full court press on four-star defensive back recruit Dietrich Riley (La Canada, CA). Participating in the Under Armour All-America game, Riley heard from plenty of UF commitments that he was wanted in the Orange and Blue next year. “Coach Meyer is still recruiting me hard and they told me I’m their safety to get now after Elam,” Riley told Chris Hays of the Orlando Sentinel. “They’ve been recruiting me since October and they’ve been telling me to sit tight and be patient and we’ll let you know which guys to go the NFL.” Meyer’s recent announcements have not swayed Riley from including the Gators in his top three. “I understand that he has to take care of his health first […] that’s primary, his family and his health. He’s doing what’s best for the program,” he said. “I talked with him and he said he plans on returing to the school and he’s going to be a Florida Gator no matter what. He’s not going to go to any other school, so I’m happy about that.”

4 » Speaking of Tebow, he should retire and never play football again. Well, that’s the opinion of at least one man – CBSSports.com national columnist Gregg Doyel. Yup, Doyel believes Tebow will never reach a higher point in his career than he already has, is destined to fail in the NFL and should not even try to make it on the next level. Chomping: I guess I should have quit writing when I got my first article published by a major newspaper or when I won my first writing award, based on Doyel’s logic. At least there is one college football writer who refuses to bet against Tebow.

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