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Monday, May 27, 2024

The No. 3 Florida women’s tennis team (16-2, 6-0 Southeastern Conference) has depended on a mix of high-level freshman talent and steady senior leadership to knock off ranked opponents like FSU, Duke, North Carolina and every SEC West school this spring.

This weekend, the Gators say farewell to the latter component of that dynamic.

Seniors Anastasia Revzina and Marrit Boonstra will play their final home match of the regular season against Kentucky (2-14, 0-6 SEC) Sunday at noon.

The two were supplanted by freshmen Lauren Embree and Allie Will at the Nos. 1 and 2 singles spots this season, but the move went smoothly.

“There’s always a team chemistry risk you take whenever you have terrific freshmen play at a high level and bump older players down,” UF coach Roland Thornqvist said. “Nas (Revzina) and Marrit have the character, leadership, intelligence and integrity that paved the way for us to play friction-free this season.”

With a match today at 5 p.m. against No. 24 Vanderbilt (9-6, 4-2 SEC) coming up first, Revzina hasn’t given Senior Day much thought yet. She couldn’t single out one home match that stood out more than others in her four years at Florida.

Boonstra had one in mind.

“Last year we played Georgia at home and beat them 4-3. That was a surprising, good win for us,” she said.

The surprise Boonstra refers to is that Georgia was ranked No. 2 at the time. The then-No. 23 Gators depended on singles wins from her, Revzina and Joanna Mather in the 4-3 victory.

The upset over Georgia is part of a current streak of 89 regular-season home wins. It’s a streak that began before Boonstra and Revzina started at UF, and they have kept it going.

“There’s a little bit of pressure to keep the streak going, but it’s easier to play at home with this atmosphere.” Revzina said.

Following Sunday’s match against Kentucky, the women’s squad closes out the season with matches at Tennessee, Georgia and South Carolina.

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For the No. 6 men’s team (13-2, 5-0 SEC), it’s two more matches against ranked opponents on the road before returning home to close out the season.

Florida is coming off a 4-3 win Sunday at No. 14 Mississippi. The road trip resumes today at 4 p.m. in Nashville, Tenn., where UF faces No. 35 Vanderbilt (10-7, 2-4 SEC).

No. 7 junior Alexandre Lacroix and SEC Freshman of the Week Bob Van Overbeek head into the match unbeaten in SEC singles play.

The Gators will face an even tougher challenge Sunday at 1 p.m. when they face coach Andy Jackson’s alma mater, No. 10 Kentucky (14-6, 4-2 SEC).

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