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Sunday, November 28, 2021

Florida competes in first ITA Regional Championships since 2019

The Gators hope to repeat history at the ITA Regional Championships in Lake Nona, Florida

<p>Marlee Zein prepares a forehand return against LSU Feb. 26</p>

Marlee Zein prepares a forehand return against LSU Feb. 26

Florida women’s tennis travels in-state this week for the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) Southeast Regional Championships, hosted by Central Florida starting Thursday. 

The Gators will compete alongside the likes of Florida International, Florida State, Georgia, Georgia Southern, Georgia State, Georgia Tech, Bethune-Cookman, Central Florida, Florida A&M, Florida Atlantic, Florida Gulf Coast, Kennesaw State, Mercer, Miami, North Florida, South Florida and Stetson.

Two years ago, the last time the Gators appeared in this tournament, now-graduate student McCartney Kessler claimed the singles title without losing a set to any of her opponents. The Gators hope to build on past success and claim another title for the orange and blue.

Six Gators will make the trip to Lake Nona, Florida, including freshman Alicia Dudeney, junior Emma Shelton, senior Sydney Berlin, junior Carly Briggs, freshman Bente Spee and senior Marlee Zein.

Briggs and Zein pair up for the main draw of the doubles competition. The duo enters the contest off impressive individual appearances at the ITA Women’s All-American Championship. Zein picked up a trio of impressive victories over ranked opponents, enough to match her total ranked victories from the 2021 spring season.

Spee and Shelton also join forces for the main draw of doubles play after they captured the Bedford Cup doubles title in Tampa. 

Dudeney and Berlin make the Gators’ first appearance of the tournament in the doubles qualifying round. They will face the winner of Georgia State’s Ellie Aldrich and Maddy Frediani and Florida A&M’s Haleigh Porter and Susan Salinas on Thursday.

A solid performance from the Florida women’s tennis team will earn the Gators an automatic bid to the 2021 ITA National Fall Championships in San Diego, California starting Nov. 4.

The doubles and singles matches of the main draw will begin on Oct. 15.

Contact Brenda Bogle at bbogle@alligator.org. Follow her on Twitter @bogle_brenda.

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