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<p>UF’s Brianna Morgan returns a serve during Florida’s win over USF on Jan. 27, 2016, at the Ring Tennis Complex.</p>

UF’s Brianna Morgan returns a serve during Florida’s win over USF on Jan. 27, 2016, at the Ring Tennis Complex.

In the days following an abrupt NCAA Tournament exit, the success that Florida’s women’s tennis team had this season was forgotten.

Anything short of a championship was disappointing, but a Round of 16 exit against Stanford, a team that has historically bested Florida, added even more pain to what was once a promising 2016 season.

"I know how bad our players feel when a year like this comes to an end this early in the tournament," Thornqvist said in a May 19 release. "In the end, I'm proud of our effort."

Florida’s journey to the tournament was a success. But in order to get there, the Gators had to go through some rough patches.

One of the biggest stories of the season was how Florida responded after losing to both California and Stanford to close out the non-conference schedule.

When it came time for the California road trip, Florida was facing two of the toughest matches on its schedule.

Both times, the match was tied at 3-3, the only time in the Gators' regular season where the dual match would come down to the final singles match.

The Gators just couldn’t get it done.

They lost both times 4-3 to cap off their West Coast visit.

After that came the success.

Florida dominated in Southeastern Conference play, going a perfect 13-0 to win the SEC regular season title.

Though it was a team effort, UF's success was largely due to strong play on courts four, five and six.

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On those courts, Florida went  37-2 in SEC singles play.

Another big story coming into this season was how the newest addition to the team, Anna Danilina, would fare against collegiate tennis' best.

Against most, she shined, as she was normally the first one off the court with a victory.

Against others, she struggled.

Facing California, Danilina suffered her worst defeat of the Spring season, falling 6-1, 6-1 against Karla Popovic.

In most matches, though, she has been nearly unstoppable.

Brianna Morgan’s collegiate career came to a close after the Round of 16, but it didn’t stop her from creating some of the season’s most defining moments.

Her play in SEC matches represented the fight this team had shown all year.

Against Kentucky, Morgan was the last player on the court after dropping her first set. She easily took the second set to force a third.

The game was already won by Florida, but the two players would continue to duke it out until there was a clear winner.

Morgan went down 5-1 in the third set, but worked her way back to tie the score at 6-6. A lengthy tie-breaker ensued, and her hard work ultimately paid off.

She took the match with a 7-6 final-set win.

While the season didn’t end the way the Gators might have hoped, seven players from this season will return next year, meaning this Gator squad will have another crack at redemption.

This also gives players like Danilina, Spencer Liang and Peggy Porter a chance to fill the hole in the lineup left by Morgan.

Before the Gators can worry about that, though, they still have one more tournament left to play.

The NCAA Individual Championships start May 25 in Tulsa, Oklahoma. In it, the top-64 women's college tennis players will compete in hopes of becoming an NCAA champion.

In last year’s bout, then-freshman Josie Kuhlman reached the semifinals in singles, and Brooke Austin and Kourtney Keegan reached the semifinals in doubles.

 Contact Jake Dreilinger at jdreilinger@alligator.org and follow him on Twitter @DreilingerJake

UF’s Brianna Morgan returns a serve during Florida’s win over USF on Jan. 27, 2016, at the Ring Tennis Complex.

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