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Tuesday, May 21, 2024
<p>Marlee Zein (pictured) defeated Georgia State’s Angel Carney 6-4 on Monday afternoon</p>

Marlee Zein (pictured) defeated Georgia State’s Angel Carney 6-4 on Monday afternoon

The gates to the Alfred A. Ring Tennis Complex opened Monday afternoon for women’s tennis’ home-opener after nearly a year. 

The COVID-19 pandemic put a hold on what seemed to have been a regressing season for the Gators, losing their final two games. But they found a way to start anew against Georgia State. 

Florida crushed Georgia State with a  clean 7-0 finish. All matches ended in two sets and the closest was between Marlee Zein and Panthers’ Angel Carney, ending 6-4. The rest were won by at least three points.

For the first 25 minutes of doubles action, it seemed the Panthers had the Gators game plan down to a tee. Matching the serve speeds of the Gators as well as placing the ball in the weak spots with precision. GSU led 6-0 on all three courts and shared confident remarks across the floor. 

The rust wore on the Gator in doubles, especially No. 26 McCartney Kessler and Marlee Zein. Kessler and Zein showed plenty of grit, even when they were down 5-1 to Eva Chivu and Andreea Stanescu.

Zein put up an incredible effort throughout the day, but it showed most during a volley that had her upfront and Kessler manning the backline. The two appeared gassed, but Zein planted her feet and smacked the ball to the opposite left corner. Chivu thought she had made the save but instead fell into a split. Zein denied her any satisfaction and immediately sent a spike right back.

Ida Jarlskog and Ellie Aldrich mounted two impressive comebacks in the same match. The duo played a fun game of keep-up, starting down two sets and then tying it up at 3-3. From there, Georgia State’s Angel Carney and Alexia Alvarez stole another set from UF. 

Jarlskog and Aldrich were on the brink. But a brief 10 second huddle between the two was all it took. Three unanswered sets later, the dagger was placed in the hearts of Georgia State. 

The efforts didn’t go unnoticed by the fans, who applauded the team for clinching the doubles point and giving the singles the 1-0 advantage.

Coach  Roland Thornqvist was found courtside throughout the day and carefully taking in-games. He seemed impartial to the 7-0 win,

“We’re a little tentative and apprehensive in our play in doubles and it really penalized us.” Thornqvist said. “I think our attitudes towards how we need to play in doubles has to be more of an aggressive one.” 

The Gators are deliberate when it comes to the solo play, he said, adding that the team should be making opponents want to quit. 

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Both the men’s and women’s tennis teams will travel to Lake Nona, Florida, Friday to take on the No. 18 UCF Knights. Follow the matches on FloridaGators.com

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

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