In just their second home loss of the season, the Gators fell 4-1 to the USC Trojans on Saturday afternoon in the round of 32 of the NCAA tournament.
The Gators jumped out to an early lead in the doubles contest, as senior McCartney Kessler and junior Marlee Zein notched a decisive 6-3 victory. Senior Ida Jarlskog and freshman Amber McGinnis fell behind early on court two in their first match as a duo this season. The duo fought back to level the set at 5-5, but the Trojan tandem of Salma Ewing and Clare McKee closed it out to even the doubles point.
The third pairing of junior Sydney Berlin and freshman Sara Dahlstrom were defeated in a tiebreak, 7-6 (7-2).
In singles, Florida again seemed to stake an early advantage, as Berlin looked dominant en route to a 6-2, 6-3 win on court five. The Trojans quickly tied the match at one, then successive victories over McKee and Zein put USC one point from victory. USC’s Summer Dvorak defeated Dahlstrom to close out the match before either Kessler or Jarlskog could influence the scoreline.
Both seniors finish their Florida careers with impressive records in singles. Kessler recorded 84 singles victories while suffering just 35 losses. Jarlskog sports an equally impressive 71-27 record in singles play.
"It was clear early on this season that we had challenges other than forehands and backhands and today, unfortunately, we were unable to overcome them,” head coach Roland Thornqvist said. “Our mission now is to mold our team next year into a mirror image of our senior Ida (Jarlskog). She IS the Florida Way."
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