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Tuesday, June 25, 2024
Marlee Zein
Marlee Zein

To kick off SEC play this season, Florida traveled to Tuscaloosa, Alabama to take on the Crimson Tide. This was the first time this season the Gators were playing as an unranked team after they fell out of the ITA rankings despite their dominant victory last week against Georgia State last weekend.

Alabama (11-3) entered the match ranked No. 47, being the third ranked opponent that UF (4-2) has faced this year up to this point. It was a tough match from the start for the Gators, but in the end, they began conference play with a victory.

Play didn’t begin well in doubles for UF with the the team of Sydney Berlin and Victoria Emma losing to Ann Selim and Luca Fabian 4-6 on Court 3. Tsveta Dimitrova and Ida Jarlskog lost by the same score of 4-6 to Sasha Gorchanyuk and Alba Cortina Pou on Court 2, clinching the point for Bama. Action between the No. 55 duo of Moka Ito and Isabella Harvison against McCartney Kessler and Marlee Zein went unfinished at 5-5 as the other courts clinched the points for Alabama.

In all of its previous matches against ranked opponents this season when Florida had lost the doubles point, it buckled under the pressure and ended up losing the match. This time though, things ended differently and the team was determined to not get rolled by the Tide. 

Singles play began poorly just as doubles had with No. 113 Victoria Emma being defeated by Isabella Harvison in straight sets 6-2, 6-2, putting the Gators down 2-0 overall. Meaning they would now have to win four of the five remaining points if they were to win the match. This didn’t hinder the team from doing that, with the Gators thriving under the pressure and winning the next four matches. 

The first point was won by Marlee Zein again by beating Ares Teixido 6-2, 6-1 on Court 4. Ida Jarlskog was the next victor for Florida as she beat Ares Teixido on Court 3. No. 49 McCartney Kessler continued to carry the momentum being able to defeat Moka Ito 6-3, 6-3 on Court 1. 

The three-hour and one-minute long match was clinched for the Gators by sophomore Sydney Berlin, pushing past Luca Fabian 4-6, 6-0, 6-4 on Court 5. This is Sydney Berlin’s second clinch for UF in a row, showing her ability to thrive under pressure when her team needs her the most. 

The Gators will stay in Alabama for their next match this Sunday, taking on No. 48 Auburn. Play begins at 1 p.m.

Follow Myles Herbert on Twitter @myles_herbert. Contact him at

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