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Thursday, March 04, 2021
<p>Junior Marlee Zein hits a forehand return against Boson College in the 2019 NCAA Tournament. Zein ranks 85th among singles players</p>

Junior Marlee Zein hits a forehand return against Boson College in the 2019 NCAA Tournament. Zein ranks 85th among singles players

A week before women’s tennis takes the court, the Gators rank No. 21, according to the Intercollegiate Tennis Association’s 2021 rankings. 

Florida’s roster is headlined by two singles competitors, McCartney Kessler and Layne Sleeth, and a pair that sees Kessler again along with junior Marlee Zein.

Florida is one of five SEC teams to be ranked. Other terms include Georgia, LSU, Vanderbilt and South Carolina. 

Coach Roland Thornqvist, who enters his 20th season as the Florida head coach, welcomes back five competitors and a couple of newcomers. Sweden international Sarah Dahlstrom signed with Florida in February and impressed coaches after defeating a strong resume of opponents.

Five-star signee Amber McGinnis, from Pompano Beach, Florida, is also new to the squad. 

Senior McCartney Kessler is ranked at No. 32 following a 21-12 overall singles record in 2020. This two-time All-SEC Selection’s rank is the highest on the roster. 

Kessler is also looking to find more chemistry with duo partner, Marlee Zein, who came in at No. 85. The couple hit the 2021 ITA ranked at No. 26 and compiled a 4-1 record in their October run, defeating doubles teams  from Kentucky and Alabama. The two had the possibility of being 5-1 but a match between Alabama’s Moka Ito and Isabella Harvinson went unfinished when the score tied at five.

New Gator signee, sophomore Layne Sleeth, earned a singles spot at No. 65. Sleeth looks to ride her 3-1 record into 2021 with more success, missing much of her first season with a lower-leg injury.

The team will begin the 2021 dual match campaign on Jan. 25, when they will face Georgia State Panthers at Alfred A. Ring Tennis Complex.

Contact Jesse Richardson at jrichardson@alligator.org and follow him on Twitter @JesseRich352

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