Charlie Sheen jokes aside, this weekend was a pretty glorious one for our guys and girls teams donning orange and blue.
GYMNASTICS jump started the weekend in grand fashion by avenging its narrow 2nd place finish to Alabama in last year's NCAA Super Six Championships. The Gators were eager to face the defending national champs and didn't disappoint, scoring its second highest team total in school history in the 198.10 - 196.850 victory over Alabama Friday night in Gainesville. Freshman Bridget Sloan (the youngest member of the 2008 US Olympic silver medal team) paced the Gators by winning the all-around title with 39.675 - her collegiate best. But the entire Gators squad was so good Friday that the team dropped 9.8s as low scores on two different events. The Gators head up to Athens next Saturday where they will face the UGA Gymdogs at 4pm. I'll be there cheering on our girls, while the rest of my family will be pulling for the home team (Boo).
MEN'S TENNIS improved to 6-0 on the season as the No. 11 Gators defeated FSU 5-2 in Tallahassee on Friday, which is always a reason to celebrate. I often give the men's tennis team a hard time in my posts, but I think it's just because the women's team makes them look bad.
SOFTBALL began this weekend as the No. 14/15 Gators participated in the Kajikawa Classic, hosted by Arizona State in Tempe. The Gators are ranked a little lower than we're used to as there are seven newcomers on Florida's 16 player roster this season - six freshman and a transfer. The Gators were picked to finish 4th in the SEC East this season in what appears to be a rebuilding year. But the Gators jelled quickly as they defeated Creighton 13-3 Friday afternoon, before taking out No. 5/6 Oregon in the nightcap 1-0. Sophomore and Arizona native Lauren Haeger picked up the Creighton win, while junior Hannah Rogers hurled a five hit shutout to earn the win against the Ducks.
The fast start continued Saturday as the Gators downed Cal State Northridge 7-0 before upsetting No. 3 Cal 7-3. Sophomore Alyssa Bache tossed a 4 hit shutout to earn the victory in the Northridge contest while Rogers earned the win against Cal. And to finish off a perfect weekend, the Gators wrecked No. 13/14 Arizona 13-4 on Sunday as Haeger earned her second win of the weekend.
On offense, Florida was led by freshman Kelsey Stewart who batted .556 (10 for 18) with a 1.111 slugging percentage, 10 runs, two doubles, a triple, two home runs, five RBI and five stolen bases throughout the three-day tournament. Not a bad start to a collegiate career, is it? I think we might want to get to know these ladies. Early indications are that they can play some ball.
LACROSSE also played its season opener this weekend as the No.5 Gators traveled to Chapel Hill Saturday to face No.3 UNC (this is the fourth straight year the Gators have had to face UNC in Chapel Hill - are we ever going to get a home game in this rivalry?!) The fourth time proved to be the charm though, as the Gators finally beat the Tar Heels 5-3. Florida was forced to come from behind facing a 3-1 deficit at the half, but Senior Goalie Mikey Meagher blanked UNC in the second half. It was the first time that Gators won a match it trailed at halftime. This is the fourth year of the UF lacrosse program, so the roster contains twelve seniors who have helped build the program from scratch (along with twelve freshman eager to take the reigns and continue building). Wouldn't it be fitting for this senior class to bring Florida its first national title?
WOMEN'S HOOPS also got in on the winning ways Saturday, as Florida defeated Auburn 65-57 in Auburn - it's first road win against the Tigers since 2004. Freshman Christin Mercer led the Gators with twelve points.
MEN'S HOOPS got back to their winning ways with a 83-58 drubbing of Mississippi State in Gainesville. You can read all about it here, as well as Florida's injury concerns with Kentucky coming to town this Tuesday.
TRACK AND FIELD teams did their thing as a split squad in Blacksburg and Seattle as FlaGators so eloquently reported here, breaking records in the process (the Gators T&F athletes broke the records, not FlaGators).
MEN'S GOLF ruined what could have been a perfect weekend for Jeremy Foley's sports program. The Gators finished a disappointing fourth in the SunTrust Gator Invitational it hosted in Gainesville this weekend. As if the fourth place finish wasn't bad enough by itself, FSU won the tournament, and FSU wins in Gainesville are always a bad thing.
So seven of our eight teams did us proud this weekend. Come on golf - get with the program!