THURSDAY, MAY 08, 2008
Women's tennis set for Florida on Friday

May 8, 2008

GAINESVILLE, Fla. - A practice outing at the Ring Tennis Complex on Thursday wrapped up the JU women's tennis team's preparations for the NCAA Tournament.

The Dolphins (20-5) face the daunting task of playing No. 6 Florida in the first round of the NCAA Tournament. The two teams faced off in the first round of the NCAAs a year ago, with the Gators advancing with a 4-0 win.

"We had a good practice today and the girls are loose," said JU head coach Shane Wood. "We are going to come out tomorrow with nothing to lose and play as well as we can against one of the top teams in the country.

"All we want to do is leave it all out on the court and the rest will take care of itself."

The Gators are 9-0 in the first round of the NCAA Tournament since the field expanded to 64 teams. Florida has yet to lose the doubles point in any of its 22 dual matches this season, holding an impressive 57-4 record in individual dual match doubles play.

Working in the Dolphins' favor is three players on a hot streak - Lina Xu, Lena Willi and Juliana Umeki.

Willi enters the NCAAs having won 11 in a row, having gone through the Atlantic Sun Conference schedule undefeated for the second straight season, earning first team all-conference honors.

Xu, the A-Sun "Freshman of the Year," has won eight in a row to compile a 20-4 record and an 8-2 mark in conference play.

Umeki, a sophomore transfer, racked up a 17-4 record and has won six in a row with an impressive 10-1 record in conference play.

"We've gotten a lot of big-time matches from those three all season," Wood said. "But everyone on the team has been a key part of our success. We've gotten great performances from everyone on the team, which is one of the big reasons why we are in the postseason."