Top 10 for 2010: On the Field Moments of the Year

For as much as the Florida Gators were in the news off the field in 2010, the Gator Nation was making plenty of headlines on it as well. From game-winning baskets to displays of pure emotion, Florida experienced some unique athletic moments in 2010. Below are OGGOA‘s Top 10 On the Field Moments of the Year.

OGGOA RELATED: Top 10 for 2010: Off the Field Stories of the Year

10 » FLORIDA WINS INAUGURAL LACROSSE GAME (2/20/10)
When Florida decided it wanted to start another women’s athletics program, the University Athletic Association did extensive research and found out that women’s lacrosse would be the perfect fit. In preparation for their first season, the Gators and head coach Amanda O’Leary secured the country’s No. 1 recruiting class (according to Inside Lacrosse Magazine). All the hard work and preparation to get the team ready paid off on Feb. 20 when lacrosse debuted in the brand new Donald R. Dizney Stadium to a boisterous crowd of 2,114 spectators. Florida defeated Jacksonville 16-6 behind four goals and four assists from freshman sensation Ashley Bruns. All-in-all the Gators faced 16 championship-caliber teams and played so well that they reached the 2010 ALC Tournament semifinals. In just their second year of existence, Florida women’s lacrosse is ranked as the No. 17 team in the country going into the 2011 season.

9 » NEAR VICTORIES/HEARTBREAKING LOSSES (5/25/10 * 3/18/10 * 10/9/10)

It is rare for teams to go undefeated and even less likely that an entire athletic program can go through a season without its share of close losses and nail biting finishes. Such was the case for the Gators in 2010. On May 25, No. 3 women’s tennis was barely defeated by the No. 8 Stanford Cardinal for the 2010 NCAA National Championship. Stanford won 4-3 after Florida rallied when they were just two individual games away from being defeated. The Gators forced third sets in two singles matches; sophomore Joanna Mather took down her opponent but senior No. 65 Marrit Boonstra was not as lucky. Losing her first set 6-4, Boonstra fought back to even her match with No. 33 Mallory Burdette by taking the second set 6-7 (4). Down 2-0 in the third, she pushed ahead with a valiant effort to take a 5-4 lead but ended up losing her final three games, the match itself and the championship.

Returning to the NCAA Tournament for the first time in three seasons, No. 10-seed Florida got in a bit easier than some might have expected. Matched up against the No. 7-seed Brigham Young Cougars in the event’s opening game, the Gators fought hard but could not stop Cougars star guard Jimmer Fredette. Allowing BYU to jump ahead 59-46 in the second half, UF came back behind freshman G Kenny Boynton and junior forward Chandler Parsons. Florida missed potential game-winners during regulation (Parsons) and the first overtime (Boynton) and eventually fell to Brigham Young 99-92 in a double-overtime heartbreaker with Fredette adding to his game-high 37 points.

Though losing a national championship and NCAA Tournament game are both difficult, Gators fans will probably look back on No. 12/14 Florida’s shocking loss to the No. 9/12 LSU Tigers on Oct. 10 as the worst near-victory of the season. Wearing orange jerseys for the first time since 1989, the Gators came back from a 12-point deficit when freshman wide receiver Andre Debose returned a kickoff 88 yards for a touchdown, sophomore running back Mike Gillislee rumbled in for a touchdown and redshirt junior quarterback John Brantley completed a two-point conversion to sophomore WR Frankie Hammond, Jr. to cap a 10-play, 80-yard drive. All Florida wanted when its defense came out was a stop, but LSU put together a 62-yard game-winning drive that included numerous third down conversions and a converted fake field goal attempt on fourth down from UF’s 36-yard line with 35 seconds remaining. Back-to-back passes to WR Terrence Toliver (of 28 and 3 yards, respectively) and the Tigers left The Swamp with a 33-29 victory. Players have noted that the loss was a negative turning point in the season, one that may or may not have led to the team dropping their third-straight game one week later at home to Mississippi State.

Continue Reading » Top 10 for 2010: On the Field Moments of the Year

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FOUR BITS: volleyball, soccer, swimming, lax win

1 » No. 3 Florida Gators volleyball (12-1, 5-0 SEC) continued its dominant 2010 season over the weekend with back-to-back home wins against the No. 16 LSU Tigers (13-1, 4-1 SEC) on Friday and Arkansas Razorbacks (9-8, 3-3 SEC) on Sunday at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center in Gainesville, FL. Florida took down LSU 3-1 (25-16, 20-25, 25-22, 25-18) and swept Arkansas 3-0 (25-19, 25-13, 25-17) with the help of juniors right-side setter Kelly Murphy and outside hitter Kristy Jaeckel. Murphy logged 10 aces and 21 kills combined in the two matches, while Jaeckel bested her with 22 kills (11 per contest). The Gators are now 8-1 against ranked opponents this season.

2 » No. 6 Florida soccer (10-1-1, 4-0 SEC) also kept its winning ways going on Sunday, defeating the Ole Miss Rebels (5-7-1, 1-3 SEC) 3-0 at James G. Pressly Stadium in Gainesville to win their 10th match of the season. Redshirt senior goalkeeper Katie Fraine played the full 90 minutes and notched two saves as the Gators scored as the result of an own goal (21’), shot into the near post by senior defender Nicky Kit (74’) and one-touch strike from redshirt sophomore midfielder McKenzie Barney (90’).

3 » Florida’s men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams both won the All Florida Invitational over the weekend. In the first-ever instance of the event, the Gators won the men’s and women’s team categories by 259 and 184.5 points, respectively. Senior captain Connor Dwyer won eight men’s events both as an individual – 200-yard individual medley, 100-yard butterfly, 100-yard breaststroke and 100-yard freestyle, and member of a team – 200-yard freestyle relay, 400-yard freestyle relay, 800-yard freestyle relay and 200-yard medley relay.

4 » Also in action Saturday was Florida lacrosse (2-0), which began its second fall season in team history with two wins over the Jacksonville Dolphins (23-5) and Rollins Tars (25-8). 2009 star sophomore attacker Ashley Bruns along with junior A Caroline Cochran and sophomore midfielders Caroline Chesterman and Kitty Cullen each scored four goals during the contests with Bruns also posting four assists.

Extra BIT » Every Monday is “Music Monday” on Twitter, but this week that is true for OGGOA as well. Check out the song and music video: “Gator Like Me” by Big Uly.

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SIX BITS: Baseball wins, Baker OK, seven Gators qualify, tennis updates, lacrosse rookie of year

1 » Faced with elimination, top-seeded No. 4 Florida Gators baseball (41-4) rode past the No. 12 Arkansas Razorbacks (40-18) 5-4 in the 2010 Southeastern Conference Tournament on Thursday at Regions Park in Hoover, AL. Sophomore starter Alex Panteliodis (9-2) picked up the win, tossing 6.2 innings, striking out five and giving up three earned runs. Junior closer Kevin Chapman earned his 11th save of the season, though he did give up a run in the ninth and final inning of the game. Freshman third baseman Austin Maddox (2-4) led the way with two RBI, and freshman shortstop Nolan Fontana (2-3) scored two runs. Florida will face Vanderbilt (41-16) in the second elimination game of the tournament Friday evening, airing live at ESPN3.com.

2 » Still making touchdowns – but now for the Jacksonville Sharks of the AFL – former Gators wide receiver Dallas Baker was faced with an injury scare Saturday night in a 46-44 win over the Cleveland Gladiators. “I thought I tore something,” Baker told The Florida Times-Union. Instead Baker, who scored twice during the game before falling to the turf, suffered a sprain according to an MRI exam after the game. He is second on the team this season with 416 yards and nine touchdowns in five games played.

Four more BITS on track & field qualifiers, tennis’ NCAA wins and losses and a Gator winning Rookie of the Year…after the break!
Continue Reading » SIX BITS: Baseball wins, Baker OK, seven Gators qualify, tennis updates, lacrosse rookie of year

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FOUR BITS: Tebow has “it,” Lewis, TPC, lacrosse

1 » Denver Broncos head coach Josh McDaniels continued his praise of former Florida Gators quarterback Tim Tebow to the Denver Post Thursday, citing that his first-round pick has the “it” factor. “There are people with a great deal of God-given ability who are fun to watch, and it’s really interesting to see what kind of seasons they’ll put together,” McDaniels said. “Then there are guys who will say they won’t fail, our team’s not going to fail, and they have a ‘I’m not going to let you down’ attitude. And that’s what you notice with Tim.”

The coach also said Tebow has a good chance to get on the field early – not years down the line like all the NFL Draft experts and other scouts project. “To me, (his football IQ) gives him an advantage, an opportunity to play earlier than other people have played,” he continued. “Everybody keeps talking about it will be two, three years before he can play, and I think they don’t know this guy. His mental capacity, and the way he works, and the fact that he’s on such a fast pace, will give him the chance to compete apples-to-apples. It’s all going to be about his production and performance. There are a lot of rookies who can’t run plays because they can’t figure it out yet. That’s not going to be the case with Tim. He’ll be able to do the things [veterans] do. […] You know what Tim doesn’t know about our playbook? Only what we haven’t told him yet.”

2 » Baltimore Ravens veteran linebacker Ray Lewis spoke out about Tebow’s progression into the NFL to ESPN’s Colin Cowherd on Thursday. Needless to say, the future Hall of Famer champion feels Tebow has received much more help than other players have coming into the league. “The thing I was more shocked by, is you see all the people who were willing to help him,” Lewis said. “I don’t know many people who were willing to help other athletes like that. Jon Gruden loved him to death. You see all these people who took out their personal time to really work with him and make this big issue, big issue, big issue. I don’t know why he was any different than anyone else. Every young child has that dream, that same dream that Tebow had. So I don’t know why he was bigger […] than any of the other guys. He went to a big program, and, yes, he might be a favorable person, but nobody else in the league, definitely not veteran players, see themselves differently than any other player.”

3 » Four former Gators golfers are currently competing in The PLAYERS Championship in Ponta Vedra Beach, FL, each hoping to take home a PGA Tour title. After a full day of action, Camilo Villegas and Brian Gay (-2) were tied for 47th with Mark Calcavecchia (+1) and Chris Couch (+2) bringing up the rear in the 100s. Each player will tee off for their second round from 1-2 p.m. on Friday.

4 » Florida lacrosse (10-7) stunned the crowd watching the quarterfinals of the American Lacrosse Conference Tournament in Columbus, OH, Thursday night by rocking the No. 20 Johns Hopkins Blue Jays (10-7) 14-3. Freshman goalie Cara Canington made a school-record 14 saves on 15 shots as classmates midfielder Kitty Cullen and attacker Ashley Bruns led the way with six and three goals, respectively. The ladies will advance to face No. 11 Vanderbilt at 5:30 p.m. on Friday in the semifinals. The Gators lost to the Commodores 12-7 in Gainesville, FL, earlier in the season.

Photo Credit: Andy Lyons/Getty Images

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FOUR BITS: Bruns’ award, Dunlap, James, Wright

1 » Florida Gators lacrosse’s freshman attacker Ashley Bruns was named the 2010 American Lacrosse Conference Rookie of the Year on Tuesday. Bruns, one of the top recruits in the country, led Florida’s inaugural lacrosse team in goals (44) and assists (30) while taking home numerous honors over the course of the season. She also earned a spot on the All-ALC Second Team along with teammates freshman midfielders Brittany Dashiell and Jamie Reeg.

2 » Former Gators defensive end Carlos Dunlap is already finding a level of comfort with the Cincinnati Bengals. He knows exactly what the team expects of him and hopes to exceed their projections. “They drafted me to be a pass rusher. That’s definitely something I want to be the best at on the team, so I can be that guy,” said Dunlap according to CNATI.com. “I’m just working on that and working on becoming an NFL player. […] It’s a passing league. If you can be a dominant pass rusher, you can be one of the dominant players in the league.”

3 » By all appearances, former Florida kick returner Brandon James had a rough year in 2010, culminating with a season-ending injury that kept him out of the postseason. Unable to compete at most pre-draft workouts, James was counting on his college production and workout at the Gators’ second Pro Day to fuel interest. The Indianapolis Colts recognized his talent, signing him to an undrafted free agent contract after the 2010 NFL Draft completed. Now, James believes he can greatly impact the former Super Bowl champions (at least) on special teams. “That’s an area I can help in,” he told the Indianapolis Star. “If not making big plays, then putting [the offense] in good field position. If you put the offense at the 40- or 50-yard line, the chances [of scoring] are a lot greater than if it starts at the 18 or 20. That’s what I feel like I’m here for.” In order to remain “here,” James will have to beat out Indiana’s Ray Fisher, a seventh-round pick who is also attempting to make the team as the primary returner.

4 » Though he spent a good amount of time at Florida as a strong safety, Major Wright is already competing for the starting free safety job with the Chicago Bears, according to the Daily Herald. Wright, the Bears’ third-round selection, is ready and raring to go. “I was like, ‘Wow my dream’s come true,’” he said. “I dreamed about this when I was younger and it’s here. Now I just have to go out and hustle and just stay focused.”

Photo Credit: Mark Humphrey/Associated Press

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SIX BITS: Baseball, softball, track, tennis, golf, lax

1 » No. 7/9 Florida Gators baseball split the remaining two games of its away series against the Kentucky Wildcats, winning 6-3 Saturday night before falling 6-5 on Sunday. The Gators (25-10, 10-5 SEC) clinched their first series win in Lexington, KY, against the Wildcats (22-14, 5-10 SEC) at Cliff Hagan Stadium since 2004. Saturday, sophomore first baseman Preston Tucker (1-4) led the way with three RBI, while freshman designated hitter Austin Maddox (3-5) collected two runs. Freshman Hudson Randall got the start, but sophomore reliever Greg Larson (2-1) earned the win on 3.2 no-hit innings. Tucker went 2-5 Sunday, but Florida and sophomore Anthony DeSclafani (2-2) fell to Kentucky in the series finale.

2 » No. 3/4 softball also took a series win against UK over the weekend, winning two out of three games from Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium in Gainesville, FL. Junior first baseman Megan Bush went 3-6 during the doubleheader on Saturday with a grand slam, while sophomore outfielder Michelle Moultrie contributed a 5-6 performance with two runs and a double. Junior Stephanie Brombacher and freshman Ensley Gammel (10-1) pitched, earning a win and loss, respectively. Gammel would also earn her fourth save in the first game. The Gators (34-5, 14-3 SEC) clinched the series Sunday against the Wildcats (27-18, 11-11 SEC) with senior OF Francesca Enea (2-3) grabbing two RBI and her 58th career home run. She is now within two of the all-time SEC record of 60. Brombacher (23-4) tossed a complete game for her second win of the weekend.

Four more BITS on track & field, tennis, golf and lacrosse…after the break!
Continue Reading » SIX BITS: Baseball, softball, track, tennis, golf, lax

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TWO BITS: UF throttles JU, Alexander wins title

1 » No. 8/9 Florida Gators baseball (21-7) handed the Jacksonville Dolphins (16-14) a licking Tuesday night at McKethan Stadium, powering their way to a 12-2 win. Senior outfielder Jonathan Pigott (1-3, two runs) and freshman shortstop Nolan Fontana (1-4, one run) each hit two-RBI triples as freshman catcher Mike Zunino (2-2) scored three times. Sophomore starter Greg Larson (1-0) picked up the win after giving up two unearned runs in three innings; Florida relievers tossed six scoreless innings behind him to hold on to the victory.

2 » Senior golfer Tyson Alexander won his first individual event title Tuesday at the BancorpSouth Intercollegiate tournament as the No. 4/6 Gators finished in second place at the Reunion Golf and Country Club. Alexander finished the tournament with a season-low 205 (-11) on rounds of 63, 71 and 70, jumping senior teammate Tim McKenney (who finished in second place) by a single stroke in the final round for the win. As a whole, Florida finished with a team score of 847 (-17), just one stroke off of the tournament-winning North Florida Ospreys.

Extra BITS » Gators take home weekly awards:

- Softball: Freshman Ensley Gammel named USA Softball National Player of the Week, SEC Pitcher of the Week (three wins, 15 innings, no runs allowed)
- Lacrosse: Freshman Ashley Bruns named Nike/Inside Lacrosse Player of the Week, WomensLax.com/WomensLacrosse.com Rookie of the Week (eight goals, five assists)
- Lacrosse: Freshman Sam Farrell named ALC Defensive Player of the Week (held Oregon’s Jana Drummond to one goal and two shots and held Penn State’s Jen Steadman to no shots)
- Track & Field: Senior thrower Mariam Kevkhishvili named SEC Female Field Athlete of the Week (won women’s shot put at 66th Pepsi Florida Relays with nation-leading mark of 17.94m/58-10.25)
- Baseball: Brian Johnson named SEC Freshman of the Week (first player from UF since Brad Wilkerson in 1998 to start in an SEC weekend series on the mound and also bat for himself)
- Baseball: Sophomore pitcher Alex Panteliodis named to CollegeBaseball360.com Honor Roll (held No. 20/17 Vanderbilt to one run in 6.1 innings with six strikeouts)

Photo Credit: GatorZone

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FOUR BITS: David Lee, baseball, softball, lacrosse

1 » Former Florida Gators forward/center David Lee, now in the middle of an excellent career in the NBA with the New York Knicks, scored a season-high 37 points along with 20 rebounds and 10 assists Friday night for his first career triple-double. Though New York fell to the Golden State Warriors on the road, Lee made NBA history by becoming the first player since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar to go 30-20-10 in points, rebounds and assists, respectively. Lee will be a free agent this summer, and it appears unlikely that he will return to the Knicks due to their decision to go after “bigger” names.

2 » Following a victory in their first game of the series, No. 8/11 Gators baseball (20-6, 6-2 SEC) clinched its weekend series against the No. 20/17 Vanderbilt Commodores (23-6, 4-4 SEC) with a 7-3 win Saturday at McKethan Stadium. Freshman starter Brian Johnson (3-1) controlled the entire game, pitching 5.2 innings of one-run ball while going 3-3 from the plate with a run. Senior outfielder Matt den Dekker went 2-4 with two runs, and sophomore OF Daniel Pigott nabbed three RBI with a two-run homer in the second inning. Game three of the series is currently underway (as of press time).

Read about softball’s doubleheader and lacrosse’s landmark victory after the jump!
Continue Reading » FOUR BITS: David Lee, baseball, softball, lacrosse

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