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May 12, 2014
5/12 Orange & Blue News
PARTING THOUGHTS: MUST READ, IN-DEPTH LOOK AT THE 2013 SEASON, PLAYERS & TEAM
In order to make sure Florida Gators-related news stories don't fall through the cracks, once or twice a week Orange & Blue News will keep you up-to-date with the latest goings on in the world of University of Florida athletics.
Gators baseball dropped back-to-back games on its way to losing to the No. 10 Vanderbilt Commodores in the teams' weekend series, falling 3-0 on Friday before being dismantled 16-2 on Saturday. No. 8 Florida clinched a share of the SEC East title with a 1-0 win in Thursday's series opener and currently holds a three-game lead on No. 10 Vanderbilt; each team has one league series left to play. Thursday's victory also helped set a school record as it was the Gators' 12th consecutive victory in an SEC contest. Head coach Kevin O'Sullivan did not overlook that fact when discussing the disappointing series loss on Saturday. "We've had a heck of a season up to this point. 48 hours ago, we were talking about us winning 12 SEC games in a row and setting a school record," he said. "48 hours later, and I don't want the guys acting like the season is coming to an end. It's disappointing, but in the big scheme of things we've got to learn from our mistakes, and we've got to move on and get ready to play [USF] on Tuesday."
A 10-goal win over the Denver Pioneers, 19-9, vaulted No. 4 Florida lacrosse into the quarterfinals of the NCAA Tournament for the fourth-straight season. Led by Devon Schneider, who registered seven points on a career-high five goals, and Shannon Gilroy, who became the first Gators lacrosse player to score 100 points in a single season, UF fought through two weather delays (lasting a grand total of six hours and 10 minutes) to pull out the victory. Florida will host No. 5 Northwestern on Saturday, May 17 in Gainesville, Florida, with the winner advancing to the semifinals. UF defeated NU 13-12 and 9-8 as visitors in Evanston, Illinois, back on April 19 and May 4, respectively.
The Washington Wizards' chances of pulling off an upset over the Indiana Pacers dwindled on Sunday night due in large part to a disappearing act from guard Bradley Beal in the final 8:55 of the contest. Beal, who was dominant through the first 3+ quarters by scoring a team-high 19 points on 7-of-10 shooting, went 0-for-4 from the field and notched just one point during the aforementioned stretch of the contest while his team got outscored 21-12. Indiana now holds a 3-1 lead over Washington entering Game 5 with the Pacers looking to close out the series on Tuesday.
Overcoming a number of obstacles including a three-hour weather delay, Gators men's tennis advanced to the Round of 16 in the NCAA Tournament for the fourth time in the last five seasons. Florida has never won a national championship in the sport and is unlikely to in 2014, especially seeing as it will face No. 3 Ohio State on Friday for a chance to advance to the quarterfinals, but the season has nevertheless been a success for second-year coach Bryan Shelton.
Reeling from the 2014 NFL Draft still are Gators cornerbacks Marcus Roberson and Loucheiz Purifoy who more than 36 hours later, as of the time this was written, have not signed with professional teams after not being part of the 256 players selected during the process. The Florida cornerback who was taken, Jaylen Watkins, found a perfect landing spot with the Philadelphia Eagles, one of three teams that he felt extremely comfortable with during the process. The Eagles plan to start Watkins out at cornerback but believe he is perfectly capable of playing nickel and safety as well, if he can add some weight to his frame down the line. Watkins said before the draft that he would prefer to go later to a team that fit, naming Philadelphia, Washington and Chicago as three teams with schemes that he enjoyed. In the end, he got exactly what he wanted.
Softball was bounced early from the 2014 SEC Tournament but will nevertheless get to host an NCAA Regional in Gainesville for the 12th consecutive season. The Gators were given the No. 5 overall seed in the 2014 NCAA Tournament with Florida A&M, UCF< and Stetson all set to play at Katie Seashole Pressly Stadium from Friday-Sunday. Should Florida advance, the highest seed it could face in the Super Regional would be No. 12 Washington, which would travel to Gainesville for the three-game series the following weekend. UF is 2-0 against the Gainesville Regional field this season.