• Oyen and Will Win USTA/ITA National Indoor Tennis Championships Doubles




    The University of Florida’s Sofie Oyen (Leopoldsburg, Belgium) and Allie Will (Boca Raton, Fla.) became the third Gator pair to win the USTA/ITA National Intercollegiate Indoor Championships doubles title, as they won a hard-fought three-setter Sunday at the USTA-Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing, N.Y.

    Oyen and Will defeated Clemson’s third-seeded and fifth-ranked team of Josipa Bek and Keri Wong, 5-7, 6-3, 6-3 to avenge their only loss this season and capture the national doubles championship.

    “We got another national title!” UF head coach Roland Thornqvist exclaimed following the match. “This was one of the best doubles matches I’ve seen in my 16 years of coaching tennis. Both teams played phenomenal tennis. There was great defense, tactical changes. We played really well. We had set-point in the first set and let it slip out of our hands. We didn’t think we were being as aggressive serving as we could have been and told ourselves that if we had a chance to be in that position again, we would go for it. We weren’t going to sit back and hope they miss.

    “That little change in our mentality made all the difference,” Thornqvist said. “We continued to return well in the second set and at the point of serving it out, stepped it up. We called poaches on second serves and really stepped up. I’m so proud of them. Sofie and Allie have come a long way since their first match together in October. Winning championships never gets old!”

    The 18th-ranked Gator pair ends the fall season with an 11-1 record together, having won their last 11 matches. The Gators’ lone loss was a season-opening setback to the same Clemsonduo they defeated in Sunday’s final.

    Oyen and Will became the third different Gator tandem to win the USTA-ITA National Indoor Championships doubles title, joining the teams of Nicole Arendt and Jillian Alexander, which won the 1991 crown, and Dawn Buth and Stephanie NIckitas, which captured the 1996 championship.

    Oyen and Will are the 18th and 19th different Gators to win an individual Grand Slam title, as the freshman and sophomore, respectively, produced the 24th championship trophy in the illustrious history of the Florida program.

    The Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) sanctions the three legs of the collegiate singles and doubles Grand Slam events as well as the ITA National Team Indoor Championships and the NCAA Team Championships. The tournament legs in order contested: Riviera All-American; USTA/ITA National Indoor (formerly sponsored by ROLEX); and NCAA Championships. From 1986-2001, there were four national events, but the ITA National Clay Court Championships is no longer played.

    This was the final event of the fall tennis season. The Gators next return to the court on Jan. 13 for the Freeman Memorial in Las Vegas, before turning the attention wholly to dual match play, as Florida plays host to UCF on Jan. 26 at 5 p.m.

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