Perfect game, SEC records top Gators’ weekend

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!
Continue Reading » Perfect game, SEC records top Gators’ weekend

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FOUR BITS: Outback, Horschel, Hart, basketball

1 » The Florida Gators may not be playing for a championship, but members of the team will return home from the 2011 Outback Bowl in Tampa, FL, with some swag. For participating in the game, each player on both teams will receive a Fossil watch, Jostens ring, $150 Best Buy gift card, $25 Outback Steakhouse gift card and a hat, according to the SportsBusiness Journal.

2 » Former Gators All-American golfer Billy Horschel earned his PGA Tour card at Qualifying School on Monday. Coming off a season in which he only participated in four events (missing the cut in each) before injuring his wrist and sitting out the remainder of the year, Horschel made the cut at 9-under par and is ready to finally begin his career. He also made the cut last December, finishing seventh in the event. Horschel’s PGA Tour card expired due to his lack of participation because of injury. Originally overlooked in this posting was fellow former UF golfer Will Stricker, who also earned his card at Q-school this weekend. Congratulations to both men.

3 » According to the Orlando Sentinel’s Chris Hays, four-star 2011 running back recruit Dee Hart (Orlando, FL) – a current Michigan commitment – will jump to Florida should head coach Rich Rodriguez be fired sometime soon. Hart, who reportedly desires to play in the spread offense, has dropped Alabama from his recruitment and seems to be concentrating on only two schools now. Of course, Hart could also end up in Gainesville, FL, even if Rodriguez keeps his job, especially if the Gators’ coaching staff can convince him that Rodriguez could be gone in a year while head coach Urban Meyer’s job security is arguably the best in the nation.

4 » FOX Sports college basketball writer Jeff Goodman, whose had his eye on Florida all offseason, contends that it is the Gators’ backcourt which is causing the majority of the problems for the team so far this year. Calling sophomore guard Kenny Boynton and junior point guard Erving Walker “shot-hunters,” Goodman agrees with head coach Billy Donovan’s passionate plea for the players to worry about making their teammates better rather than putting points on the board.

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SIX BITS: Haslem, volleyball, WNIT, golf, swimming

1 » Injured Saturday while facing the Memphis Grizzlies, Miami Heat power forward Udonis Haslem has been diagnosed with a torn ligament in his left foot and is expected to be out until at least the NBA All-Star break in February – if not longer. Haslem’s injury – should it require surgery – could keep him out the entire regular season though he would likely be able to return for the playoffs.

2 » No. 1/1 Florida Gators volleyball (26-1, 19-0 SEC) continued its roll through the Southeastern Conference on Sunday with a 3-1 (25-19, 33-31, 25-27, 25-13) victory over the No. 16 LSU Tigers (24-4, 15-4 SEC) at the Pete Maravich Assembly Center in Baton Rouge, LA. Senior outside hitter Callie Rivers accounted for a career-high 21 kills, and junior outside hitter Kristy Jaeckel registered 15 kills. Junior right-side/setter Kelly Murphy’s dominance continued with her 14th straight double-double; she notched a season-high 31 assists along with 13 kills and eight digs. Florida ends regular season action on Friday on the road at South Carolina before beginning the 2010 SEC Tournament as the likely No. 1 overall seed.

Four more BITS on women’s basketball’s near upset victory, an achievement for men’s golf and updates on swimming and diving…after the break!
Continue Reading » SIX BITS: Haslem, volleyball, WNIT, golf, swimming

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FOUR BITS: Lee hurt, Moss cut, golf, swimming

1 » Just one week ago, Golden State Warriors power forward David Lee knocked out New York Knicks forward Wilson Chandler’s tooth during a game. When Lee’s elbow hit Chandler’s face, it was deeply punctured by the tooth, which was then removed by force. Lee was only expected to be out of action a few days to let the deep wound heal properly, but he has no missed a week and has yet to return to the court. In fact, Lee has been hospitalized most of the time due to a massive infection and serious swelling that occurred in the area. He has already undergone two procedures to clean the infection and may mess two-to-three more weeks as he tries to recover. “I know there is a lot of speculation out there, but it almost doesn’t matter how it was treated,” Dr. Bill Maloney told the media on Wednesday. “I don’t think they could have avoided this. The die was cast when he got the tooth through the skin with a deep enough puncture wound to allow the bacteria to get in there.” The infection may need to be “washed out” four or five more times before Lee can leave the hospital, which the team hopes will occur by week’s end.

2 » In a move many fans of the team have expected to come for quite some time, the Denver Broncos have released the No. 17 overall pick in the 2007 NFL Draft, defensive end/outside linebacker Jarvis Moss. Since being drafted by Denver, Moss has totaled 40 tackles and 4.5 sacks in 33 games; however, he has only registered five tackles and has not notched a single sack in 16 games since the start of last year. When head coach Josh McDaniels took over in 2009, he began utilizing a 3-4 defense and moved Moss from DE to OLB. Unfortunately for the former Florida Gators star, the change in position did not help his production. “He’s been a great kid for us, done everything we asked him to do. It just hasn’t been a perfect fit,” McDaniels said. “Hopefully he can find a place that will be a better fit and suits what [he] can do.”

Read about Florida’s big-time signees in golf and swimming…after the break!
Continue Reading » FOUR BITS: Lee hurt, Moss cut, golf, swimming

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FOUR BITS: volleyball, soccer, cross, golf, tennis

1 » Continuing their stellar play to open the season, No. 3 Florida Gators volleyball (8-1, 2-0 SEC) followed the football team in defeating the No. 18 Tennessee Volunteers (9-2, 1-1 SEC) 3-1 (28-26, 25-23, 19-25, 25-17) on the heels of another triple-double from junior right-side/setter Kelly Murphy. The performance was Murphy’s 18th career triple-double (19 kills, 25 assists, 14 digs), which helped the Gators defeat their sixth Top 25 opponent this season. Florida is next set to dig their heels into No. 15 Florida State on the road Wed. at 7 p.m.

2 » The volleyball team may have been victorious, but No. 5 Gators soccer (6-1-1) was dealt its first loss of the young season on Sunday. Facing the No. 1 North Carolina Tar Heels (8-0-1) on the road at the Duke Nike Classic, Florida fell 2-0 to the two-time defending NCAA National Champions. North Carolina’s Alyssa Rich (61’) and Elizabeth Burchenal (75’) each scored in the second half as the Tar Heels got 10 total shots on goal throughout the contest. UF will remain on the road but hopes to get back on track against Kentucky on Fri. at 7 p.m.

3 » Florida’s cross country teams begin each season by participating in the same event and, for the sixth straight year, the Gators took home the 2010 Mountain Dew Invitational on the heels of great performances by juniors Josh Izewski and Genevieve LaCaze. Izewski’s career-low 24:39:52 in the men’s 8K provided him with the overall individual title for the event, which was hosted at the Mark Bostick Golf Course in Gainesville, FL.

4 » Fifteen men’s golf teams took part in the Olympia Fields Invitational in Chicago, IL, over the weekend, but Florida finished top after recording a three-round total of 845 to defeat Oklahoma State and Augusta State (852) for the event tile. Senior Bank Vongvanij came in second-place individually with a three-round score of 207.

EXTRA BIT » Also in action over the weekend was Gators men’s tennis, which took home a 24-2 overall record (9-0 in doubles matches) at the 2010 Gator Invitational in Gainesville, FL. No. 9 senior Alexandre Lacroix won the event’s singles championship, going 3-0 over the weekend, and also combined for the doubles title with teammate junior Nassim Slilam. The duo is ranked No. 20 in the country.

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TWO BITS: Wright injured, Villegas sponsored

1 » After straining his groin muscle Monday, Chicago Bears safety Major Wright became the fourth former Florida Gators player (and third rookie) to get injured in the opening days of 2010-11 training camp. According to ESPNChicago.com, Wright hurt himself while “attempting to change direction and locate a deflected Jay Cutler pass during a full team drill.” He “appeared to lose his footing and almost ended up doing the splits. He then gingerly jogged off the field to receive treatment from the teams’ training staff and remained out the rest of the workout.” Bears head coach Lovie Smith was optimistic after practice, indicating that the trainers believe he will be fine. “I like the way he’s played football,” Smith said. “he’s been around the ball quite a bit. He has good hands and is eager and excited about being here. He’s a good football player. But we need to get him out on the football field because there’s good competition at the safety position.”

Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Percy Harvin was carted off the field after tweaking his ankle over the weekend; both Oakland Raiders WR Louis Murphy and Cincinnati Bengals defensive end Carlos Dunlap suffered concussions.

2 » Denver Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow is not the only one making major sponsorship news. CNBC’s Darren Rovell reports that former Gators golfer Camilo Villegas has signed a brand new sponsorship deal with TaylorMade. Formerly with Cobra (Puma), Villegas will now sport a TaylorMade-adidas bag, equipment and attire during matches. “Camilo is a winner, a gentleman, and a fan favorite,” company president and CEO Mark King told Rovell. “Cameras tend to find him because he has presence and magnetism that’s impressive and rare. Camilo also shares the same values with our brand and our people, including a burning desire to improve and reach his potential. We very much want to help him do that, which is why believe this is a great fit.” In March, Villegas won the 2010 Honda Classic.

Photo Credit: Associated Press

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SIX BITS: Wilder, Smith, Harvin, Ingram, Heat, golf

1 » Though he did not commit to the team as was rumored late last week due to a falsified e-mail, five-star athlete James Wilder, Jr. (Tampa, FL) does have a leader: the Florida Gators are the “team to beat,” according to Rivals’s Mark Wheeler. “Sources say [his upcoming visits are] more to confirm his choice of Florida than anything else,” Wheeler wrote. “Wilder Jr. is enthused that Florida looks to be moving to a more traditional power running game.” In addition to recruiting fullbacks, the Gators are “expected to still feature the dive play and many inside and off-tackle running plays, but instead of [Tim] Tebow carrying the ball, Wilder would be the guy. Throw in his comfort level at Florida as well as that of his family, and the Gators will be tough to beat.”

2 » Former Florida running back Emmitt Smith has done plenty in his career. An inductee to the Pro Football Hall of Fame this year, he holds NFL career records for rushing yards (18,355), rushing touchdowns (164) and 100+ yard rushing games (78). The eight-time Pro Bowl selection and three-time Super Bowl champion was also the 1989 Southeastern Conference Player of the Year and is a member of the Gators’ Ring of Honor. But where he may have made his biggest impact is at Escambia High School, where he began his legacy. The Florida High School Athletic Association Player of the Century, Smith was not only a great player, his presence at the school helped ease racial tensions. “I wasn’t thinking about any racial tensions when I got to Escambia,” Smith told the Canton Repository. “It never dawned on me that I was part of a transformation at the school. I knew Escambia had a negative past, but I saw it was over and done with. I had played with white guys, black guys, all kinds of guys. Maybe that was me being naive.”

Four more BITS on Percy Harvin’s charity work, Cornelius Ingram’s knee, Gators on the Miami Heat and The Open Championship…after the break!
Continue Reading » SIX BITS: Wilder, Smith, Harvin, Ingram, Heat, golf

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TWO BITS: Dorial Green, The Open Championship

1 » While some in the media fawned over the false commitment story surrounding five-star 2011 athlete James Wilder, Jr. (Tampa, FL) on Thursday, the Florida Gators have been setting their sights on one of the best players available in the 2012 recruiting session. That man is five-star wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham (Springfield, MO), who Florida has targeted as their No. 1 target next year. A source who spoke with OGGOA Friday told us that Green has already visited the University of Florida and met with head football coach Urban Meyer and head basketball coach Billy Donovan. Though he is a two-sport star in high school, it is unknown if he plans to pursue both opportunities in college; however, one would expect the Gators to be open to such a concession if it is requested. MaxPreps national football editor Stephen Spiewak wrote a terrific profile piece on Green on Thursday – check it out.

2 » Former Florida golfers are continuing to make noise at The Open Championship at St. Andrews. After two rounds of action, 50-year-old Mark Calcavecchia is in second place; he is 7-under through two rounds of 70 and 67, respectively, and five shots off the lead. It is also worth noting that Calcavecchia has experience in this event, winning The Open in 1989 at Troon by beating Greg Norman and Wayne Grady in a playoff. Brian Gay, on the other hand, fell to T144 (+11) after shooting an 83 on Friday. Camillo Villegas is still in action, currently T43 (-1) through 12 holes; he shot a four-under 72 on Thursday. OGGOA will update all scores when the second round is completed.

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