Women's tennis: Lely grad Embree, Oyen advance at NCAA doubles

URBANA, Ill. – Florida’s Lauren Embree (Marco Island, Fla.) and Sofie Oyen (Leopoldsburg, Belgium) defeated Stanford’s Stacey Tan and Ellen Tsay 6-3, 2-6, 6-4 in the first round of the NCAA Doubles Championships held at the at the Khan Outdoor Tennis Complex at the Atkins Tennis Center on a cold and windy Thursday afternoon.

“I think we played well,” Embree said. “Sofie played great. The weather conditions were again pretty tough. It was very windy and cold so you just had to try and make balls and stay mentally tough out there.”

Embree and Oyen advance to the round of 16 where they face Alabama’s No. 7-ranked Alecz Guarachi and Mary Anne Macfarlane on Friday at a time to be announced late Thursday.

During the regular season dual match, Embree teamed with freshman Brianna Morgan (Beverly Hills, Calif.) against Guarachi and Macfarlane and dropped a tough 9-8 (9) eight-game pro-set decision.

In Thursday’s first round match, Embree and Oyen earned breaks in the fifth and ninth games to secure the first set. The No. 11-ranked Gator pair managed to hold serve just once in the second set, as Stanford took advantage to force a deciding third.

Florida fought off one break point to begin the third set and ripped off 12 straight points to take a 3-0 lead. They held double-break point in the fourth game, but couldn’t convert the Cardinal got on the board. Oyen then staved off a break point in the next game and held for the 4-1 advantage. The server held in the next three games before Tan and Tsay broke Oyen in the ninth game and went to the baseline to serve and get the match back on serve.

“We played great in the first set and so-so in the second,” UF head coach Roland Thornqvist said. “They made a key adjustment on serve that won the match and it was all them. They have a good tennis IQ and it really helped them get the win today.”

Embree and Oyen, however, fought off double game-point and capitalized on their second match point in the game to win the match and improve to 28-6 all-time as a tandem, including an 18-5 mark this year.

Individually, the doubles win was Embree’s 119th of her career, tying Nicole Arendt (1988-91) for the third-most all-time in program history.

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