Belinda Woolcock is making her final matches as a Gator count. The senior has had a stellar NCAA tournament performance, shown most recently by a birth in the NCAA Singles Tournament finals on Monday.
After becoming the first Gator in two years to reach the semifinals, Woolcock took it a step farther, as she’s the first Florida women’s tennis player to reach the championship since Jessica Lehnhoff in 2002.
However, it was no easy feat. Facing Miami’s Estela Perez-Somarriba, Woolcock was forced to battle it out against the 40th-ranked player in the country.
In the first half of the match, it was nothing but Woolcock. Easily taking the first set 6-1, she then raced out to a 5-1 lead in the second set. Perez-Somarriba then shut down multiple match points and won 24 of the next 35 points to win 6 straight games and split the match.
Finally capitalizing on her fourth match point opportunity, Woolcock won the third set 6-3 to win the match outright and advance to the singles championship match.
“I am super happy to finish the match strong,” Woolcock said in a release. “(Perez-Somarriba) is a tough opponent. She fought really well, and didn't give anything away at the end, so I had to really stick to my game plan and stay positive.”
Woolcock will play No. 24 Brienne Minor of Michigan at 11 a.m. on Monday.
Contact Spencer Thompson at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @spencemthompson.
Belinda Woolcock serves during Florida's 4-2 win against Oklahoma State on Feb. 18, 2017, at the Ring Tennis Complex.