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Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Take two.

After its first scheduled match of the season was postponed last week due to inclement weather, the UF women's tennis team will hope once again to begin its dual-match season Wednesday against Stetson.

The match is slated to start at 3:30 p.m. at the Ring Tennis Complex.

Because of the postponed match, the No. 4 Gators will now have to play three matches in four days, but UF coach Roland Thornqvist said that shouldn't impact the team much.

"I'm very excited about starting," he said at his weekly press conference Monday. "We were hoping to play last week against Stetson, but playing three matches this week here is going to be a lot of fun. So we're looking forward to it."

Playing back-to-back matches on Wednesday and Thursday will now give UF's coaches a chance to mix up the lineups and play all eight of the eligible players on their roster.

Thornqvist said everyone will play on Wednesday in some capacity, whether it be on the singles or doubles courts.

He also noted that the doubles teams might still change in the first few matches.

"We need to get good looks from all eight here on all three days," Thornqvist said. "The lineup will probably be mixed a little bit. We might throw a different doubles pairing in here and there. We still don't really quite know exactly where everybody stands."

Following Wednesday's match against the Hatters, UF will host Central Florida on Thursday and South Alabama on Saturday.

After not playing in a dual match for so long, Thornqvist said the Gators certainly won't mind playing someone other than themselves.

"It's fun," he said. "At this point, too, we've been going since the beginning of January, so I think our players are really excited to play somebody else."

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Freshman and newest addition Julia Cohen will see her first action as a Gator. Cohen chose playing for UF over a professional career in January.

"She has aspirations beyond college tennis," Thornqvist said. "So getting her on board has certainly helped our team. She loves to play, and that is what we want here. We want players who like to play and like to play beyond college."

Sophomore Marrit Boonstra will also hit the court in a UF uniform for the first time. She was recently cleared to play after being ineligible in the fall.

"She's a tall, very good athlete," Thornqvist said. "Both of them will certainly help us."

The addition of those players will give UF's coaches the challenge of choosing the best six players for each match.

"To be one of the ones to play in the top six certainly adds a different element to practice," Thornqvist said. "That, I think, long-term over the course of the year, is really going to help us, because we have not only eight talented players, but eight players who really want to play."

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