FLORIDA FOOTBALL: Coach Speak with Noah Brindise: Gator Nation Q&A | Muschamp in Jacksonville: Football Team Tidbits
In order to make sure Florida Gators-related news stories don't fall through the cracks, once or twice a week The Silver Lining will take on a "news and notes" format to keep you up-to-date with the latest goings on in the world of University of Florida athletics.
Lacrosse once again impressed over the weekend, scrapping their way through a weather-delayed match to advance to the Elite Eight of the 2011 NCAA Tournament. No. 4 Florida (16-3) defeated Stanford (16-3) 13-11 on Saturday as sophomores attacker Kitty Cullen and midfielder Janine Hillier led the way with four goals apiece. The Gators proved to be their best when it mattered the most, working out of a one-goal deficit by outscoring the Cardinal 5-2 to end the game.
In addition to both the men's and women's track and field teams turning in second-place finishes at the 2011 Southeastern Conference Outdoor Championships on Sunday, Florida captured seven individual SEC titles at the event. Junior Gray Horn (decathlon), junior Will Claye (long jump, triple jump), senior Terrell Wilks (100-meter dash), freshman Fawn Miller (javelin) and junior Genevive LaCaze (steeplechase) all took home SEC Championships, as did the men's 4x100-meter relay team. Horn became just the second student-athlete in league history to win three consecutive SEC decathlon titles. He also set a school record in the process, totaling a score of 7,828 in the event.
Not seeing his shots fall Sunday night, former Gators now Chicago Bulls center Joakim Noah looked to the backboard for refuge, grabbing a game-high 14 rebounds (eight offensive) to go along with nine points as his team stomped the Miami Heat 103-82 in game one of the Eastern Conference Finals. Two of three teams remaining in the playoffs with former Florida ballers on their rosters (Dallas Mavericks, Corey Brewer), Chicago and Miami will duel it out over the next few games to determine who advances to the NBA Finals. The Heat will likely need greater contributions from their bench - namely a pair of ex-Gators who were supposed to be major contributors this season. Guard Mike Miller only got three minutes of game time off the bench and grabbed three boards, while power forward Udonis Haslem (who has been out almost the entire season with a foot injury) played four minutes and missed his sole shot of the contest.
In four days, No. 5 Florida baseball (39-13, 20-7 SEC) won two of three games in a road series against the No. 2 Vanderbilt Commodores (42-8, 20-7 SEC). The Gators came from behind to win the weather-delayed first game 6-5 and used a three-run homer by sophomore catcher Mike Zunino (2-5, 2 HR, 5 RBI, 2 R) in the top of the 12th inning to win the third game of the series 6-3 on Sunday. In between, Florida was rocked 14-1 by Vanderbilt in the second game of Saturday's makeshift doubleheader. UF is now part of a three-way tie for first place in the SEC regular season standings alongside VU and South Carolina. Each team has a three-game conference series set for next weekend; the outcomes will determine the regular season champion. Should there be a three-way tie, USC currently holds the tiebreaker due to series victories over both teams.
Not wanting to get lost in the shuffle, the Gators' No. 8 men's (20-8) and No. 2 women's (27-1) tennis teams had an absolutely dominant weekend, combining to sweep four total opponents 16-0 in the first and second rounds of NCAA Tournament action. Both teams took down the South Carolina State Bulldogs 4-0 on Friday before facing separate opponents on Saturday. The Florida men shutout the No. 27 Miami Hurricanes (15-9) 4-0 as No. 7 senior Alexandre Lacroix won his 208th and 209th career matches to become the all-time overall wins leader in school history. The women followed suit with a 4-0 victory over the South Carolina Gamecocks (14-11) including a dominant two-set victory (6-0, 6-0) by No. 7 sophomore Allie Will over No. 44 Anya Morgina of South Carolina. Both teams advanced to the Sweet 16 round of the tournament and will square off on Thursday at 3 p.m. and Friday at 3 p.m., respectively, against opponents in Stanford, CA.
Gators basketball released the salaries of the team's assistant coaches on Friday after multiple media outlets made official records requests. Florida will pay former St. John's head coach Norm Roberts $235,000; former Arkansas head coach and UF assistant John Pelphrey $180,000; and former Florida Atlantic assistant and Gators team manager Matt McCall $100,000. Pelphrey's salary will partially offset the $600,000/year compensation package owed to him by his former employer for early termination. He is owed $1.8 million over three years and will receive an extra $420,000 per season through 2013-14. All three assistants are on one-year contracts, as is tradition, and each will receive a $10,000 bonus from the school's contract with Nike along with a dealer car and other tangible incentives.