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Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Gators prepare to host No. 19 Vandy for senior day

Gators celebrate the seniors with a final home stance against the Commodores

<p>Freshman Sara Dahlstrom prepares for a forehand return against LSU Feb. 26</p>

Freshman Sara Dahlstrom prepares for a forehand return against LSU Feb. 26

Two seniors of Gators tennis will take the floor at Alfred A. Ring Tennis Complex Saturday for the last time.

Teammates and coaches will honor McCartney Kessler’s and Ida Jarlskog’s college careers as Florida tackles Vanderbilt.

Kessler and Jarlskog are in the back nine of their college careers and will look to place a cherry on top of a successful season. The two share a combined 11-5 record in the 2021 season. The morning matchup with No. 19 Vanderbilt presents an opportunity to improve upon the fleet.

However, the Kentucky Wildcats tested the Gators doubles Thursday night. Jarlskog and sophomore Layne Sleeth secured their victory while the other two couples couldn’t get the job done. It marked the first time in weeks that the Gators bounced back from a doubles point deficit. 

Head coach Roland Thornqvist tackled the team’s minor crutch during practices but acknowledged that overcoming a team like Vandy isn’t an easy task.

“Over the years, we have had some fantastic battles with them,” he said. “In my 20 years at Florida, they have been one of the tougher teams for us to beat.”

But it’s not just any other match. The Commodores bring a heavy slate of ranked athletes in the singles and doubles categories. No. 56 couple Marcella Cruz and Emma Kurtz headline the team and currently rock a three-match win streak and 10-3 record.

No. 49 Christina Rosca (12-4) and Cruz (11-3) highlight Vandy’s singles. Rosca found the limelight in both positions. While her versatility helps Vanderbilt, she comes off a  three-game skid.

The Commodores hold a comfortable 12-5 mark on the season but had a sloppy conference performance with a subpar 4-5 record.  Vandy also looks to turn the tide and escape its four-match losing streak after a loss to No. 29 South Carolina.

Jarlskog’s and Kessler’s ceremonies will begin at 10:45 a.m. followed by doubles at 11 a.m. The duels will stream live on FloridaGators.com alongside stats.

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

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