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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No. 3 Florida women’s tennis defeats No. 2 North Carolina, advances to 2010 NCAA Championship

Already rolling their way through the 2010 NCAA Tournament, No. 3 Florida Gators women’s tennis (29-2) swept the No. 2 North Carolina Tar Heels (30-5) 4-0 in the event’s semifinals on Monday at Dan Magill Tennis Complex in Athens, GA.

The Gators’ top three players – freshmen No. 8 Allie Will, freshman No. 9 Lauren Embree and senior No. 65 Marrit Boonstra – all won their singles contests (in reverse order). Boonstra triumphed 6-2, 6-2; Will won 6-3, 6-3; and Embree’s match went three sets ending 6-2, 1-6, 7-5.

In doubles competition, the No. 5 team of Boonstra and Will led 6-3 in a shortened match after the No. 29 duo of Embree and sophomore Joanna Mather prevailed 8-4 and the combination of freshman Caroline Hitimana and senior Anastasia Revzina ran through their competition 8-1.

Also still playing at the event’s conclusion were No. 102 Revzina (tied 4-6, 6-5, 3-3), Mather (up 6-2, 3-6, 4-3) and sophomore Claire Bartlett (down 5-7, 2-2).

Florida will face No. 8 Stanford (25-1), which defeated No. 5 Notre Dame 4-1 in the other semifinal, on Tuesday at 2 p.m. in the championship match live on ESPNU.

The Gators beat the Cardinal 4-3 for the 2003 title but lost 4-0 the last time the two teams squared off in the 2006 semifinals Should Florida prevail, it will be the program’s fifth National Championship and first since 2003. Stanford is the sport’s most storied college program, having won 15 of 28 titles.

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Austin Rivers decommits, opens up recruitment

In a decision that has seemingly been coming for quite some time, five-star 2011 guard recruit Austin Rivers (Winter Park, FL) has officially decommitted from the Florida Gators and decided to open up his recruitment.

“I have reopened my recruitment as of last night,” Rivers told [paid subscription required]. “I have decommitted to Florida at this time. I still really like them, but I needed to go ahead and reopen things right now. Right now I’m looking at three schools: Duke, Florida and North Carolina. I may open it up a little more later on, but right now it’s just going to be those three programs. I have a long history with both Duke and Florida. North Carolina is trying to recruit me as well. So, we’ll see what happens.”

There should be no question that the Duke Blue Devils’ recent success in winning the 2010 NCAA Championship made some impact on Rivers’ decision. Nevertheless, he claims his affection for Florida is unwavering.

“It’s only right to look at other schools just to compare,” Rivers told the Orlando Sentinel. “I still love Florida the same. Coach Donovan, he respects it. I still have the same relationship. They didn’t do anything.”

“When people hear the word de-commitment, they think I’m not going there anymore, but Florida’s still a very possible option for me. This process will help me see where I’m at with Florida.”

OGGOA will continue to stay on top of Rivers’ recruitment as more information is made available and he nears a final decision.

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FOUR BITS: Rivers, Denson, Thompson, Haden

OGGOA STORY UPDATE » Assistant basketball coach Richard Pitino has interviewed for the Iona head coaching job, per FOX Sports.

1 » A week ago, OGGOA reported that the North Carolina Tar Heels and Florida Gators 2011 five-star guard commit Austin Rivers shared a mutual interest in each other. Now, Rivers’ consideration of UNC seems to have increased, and he is starting to lean away from Florida in favor of opening his recruitment back up. “It would be Duke, Florida and [North] Carolina,” Rivers told this week. “And just because I might open it back up doesn’t mean that Florida wouldn’t be one of my schools, because they would. I like Florida – a lot.” Should Rivers decommit in order to open up his recruitment, gaining his commitment back against the likes of the Blue Devils and Tar Heels would seemingly be tough for Gators head coach Billy Donovan.

2 » Tuesday, OGGOA mentioned three-star 2010 point guard recruit Chris Denson (Midland, GA) as a prospect Florida is going after to help fill out its incoming recruiting class. Denson spoke with Thursday and said that the Gators are one of the teams leading for his services. “I’d say the top of my list are Western Kentucky and Florida […] they’re closer to home and that’s a big part,” Denson said. The site does not list UF as having offered Denson a scholarship yet, instead pointing out that he has already received them from WKU, Buffalo and UNC-Greensboro. Perhaps an offer is all it would take to acquire the 6’2”, 180 lbs. PG.

Two more BITS on Deonte Thompson and Joe Haden…after the jump!
Continue Reading » FOUR BITS: Rivers, Denson, Thompson, Haden

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TWO BITS: UNC wants Rivers, Shipman’s transfer

1 » Florida Gators fans have grown nervous that five-star 2011 guard commitment Austin Rivers (Winter Park, FL) may end up changing his mind and picking the Duke Blue Devils rather than playing basketball in Gainesville, FL. According to Evan Daniels of Scout, the Gators now also have the North Carolina Tar Heels to worry about. Apparently head coach Roy Williams is headed down to watch Rivers workout and the junior will likely give the school permission to recruit him. Though he remains committed to UF (something that could change at any time), other schools are entering the mix and obviously piquing his interest.

2 » Now that sophomore guard Ray Shipman has decided to transfer from Florida, several “high-major schools” are vying for his services according to Joseph Goodman of The Miami Herald. Shipman’s high school coach, Mark Lieberman, told Goodman that he has already been contacted by a number of teams including Shipman’s hometown Miami Hurricanes, which would likely be near the top of his list.

Extra Bit » It did not take ESPN’s Page 2 long to take a crack at the Gators and head coach Urban Meyer for his actions after practice Wednesday. Patrick Hruby released a copy of Meyer’s new media policy for journalists covering the team. This is a parody.

Some of the funnier excerpts:

“DO NOT … Question innocent and delicate student-athletes who, like newborn fawns, cannot be expected to hold opinions and/or speak for themselves, nor understand adult concepts such as context and consequences”

“Media members that do not adhere to the above guidelines will be removed from team practice, barred from games and forced to live with the knowledge that they are, in fact, bad girls and guys.”

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FOUR BITS: Tebow, Tishman, Shepard, tennis

1 » For all of the flack that former Florida Gators quarterback Tim Tebow has received about his mechanics and throwing motion, perhaps forcing a player to tinker with something that they have used to reach a high level of success is not the best thing to do. (Who would have thunk it?) Bruce Feldman of ESPN breaks down an instance where adjustments like these did an injustice rather than facilitated an improvement, focusing on the story of Steve and Chris Walsh of the Miami Hurricanes.

Additional note: ESPN NFL Draft talking heads Mel Kiper, Jr. and Todd McShay have both upgraded their projections, agreeing that Tebow will likely be a second-round pick in the upcoming event. However, both made sure to state that picking him that early is indeed “a reach” by any team that does so.

Three more BITS on Tishman, LSU’s Sheppard and women’s tennis after the jump!
Continue Reading » FOUR BITS: Tebow, Tishman, Shepard, tennis

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SIX BITS Baseball, softball, gymnastics, tennis win

1 » After suffering their first loss of the season against No. 6/3 Florida State in the inaugural Florida Four tournament, the No. 5/6 Florida Gators traveled to Coral Gables, FL, for a three-game series against the No. 16/11 Miami Hurricanes. OGGOA will wrap-up the series on Sunday, but on Friday, the Gators (6-1) took down the Hurricanes (6-2) 7-1 in the series’ first game. Sophomore starter Alex Pantelidois (3-0) held Miami hitless into the fifth inning and registered a career-high eight strikeouts. Fellow sophomore Nick Mardone earned his first career save by striking out seven over 3.1 innings without giving up a hit or run. Three Gators acquired two RBI in the contest.

Five more BITS including a softball doubleheader, gymnastics triangular meet and SEC openers for men’s and women’s tennis…after the break!
Continue Reading » SIX BITS Baseball, softball, gymnastics, tennis win

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SIX BITS: SEC titles, softball sweep, gymnastics

1 » No. 3 Florida Gators women’s track and field won the 2010 Southeastern Conference Indoor Championship Sunday, its first since the 2004 season. Scoring 110 total points, the team was led by junior Charlotte Browning and senior Shara Proctor, who were named co-winners of the Cliff Harper Trophy for the SEC’s high-points scorer. The men’s team finished second at the Randal Tyson Track Center in Fayetteville, AR, as the home team Arkansas Razorbacks beat them out for the men’s crown 123-119. Both the women’s and men’s teams also captured numerous individual SEC titles over the weekend.

2 » No. 3/11 Gators softball (12-1) swept the Northwestern State Lady Demons (8-5) 15-0, 5-0 and 10-1 over the weekend at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium in Gainesville, FL. Sophomore outfielder Michelle Moultrie powered Florida’s offense by going 5-8 (.625) with a double, triple, home run and six RBI, while junior OF Kelsey Bruder joined her with similar 5-8 performance for four runs, two homers, six RBI and 11 total bases. Junior pitcher Stephanie Brombacher (10-1) won each game of the series, striking out a combined 13 and only allowing three walks.

Read four more BITS on gymnastics, lacrosse, men’s tennis and Senior Day…
Continue Reading » SIX BITS: SEC titles, softball sweep, gymnastics

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