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Friday, August 12, 2022

Florida exits ITA Fall National Championships with consolation doubles title

Briggs and Zein bounce back from an opening round loss to claim a title for the Gators

<p>Florida&#x27;s Marlee Zein looks up for a serve during a match against Texas A&amp;M on Feb. 28. The Gators women&#x27;s tennis team were destroyed by Auburn, 6-1 Sunday afternoon.</p>

Florida's Marlee Zein looks up for a serve during a match against Texas A&M on Feb. 28. The Gators women's tennis team were destroyed by Auburn, 6-1 Sunday afternoon.

Runners-up no more. 

Senior Marlee Zein and junior Carly Briggs claimed the doubles consolation title at the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Fall National Championships Sunday, winning four straight matches in consolation play.

Briggs and Zein entered the tournament off a runner-up finish at the ITA Southeast Regional Championships. This time, however, the Gators pair would not have the most ideal start to their tournament run. 

Briggs and Zein lost to Jessica Alsola and Erin Richardson of California, 6-0, 4-6 (12-10), to open up their tournament. 

Briggs and Zein dropped into the consolation bracket with the opening loss, where the duo lit up the court. They faced Colorado’s Somer Dalla-Bona and Sarka Richterova to open up the consolation doubles tournament. The Gators handled their competition swiftly by a score of 7-5, 6-7(5) (10-6). 

Next up for the Gators was Ohio State’s doubles pair Irina Cantos Siemers and Sydni Ratliff. After a competitive first set, Briggs and Zein won this match up by a score of 7-6 (2), 6-3, to enter the semifinal round.

With a spot in the finals on the line, Briggs and Zein faced off against the No. 28 ranked doubles pair from Michigan State, Mary Lewis and Maja Pietrowicz. The Gators duo broke out the broomsticks and swept their ranked opponents, 6-2, 7-6 (7).

To close out the tournament with a win and the consolation doubles title, Florida needed to first knock out a formidable opponent in Virginia's Melodie Collard and Hibah Shaikh. Florida comfortably claimed the first set, 6-3, but the Cavaliers surged back in the second, grabbing it 6-4.

In dramatic fashion, Briggs and Zein stepped up to the challenge and claimed the third-set tiebreaker, 11-9, to earn the doubles consolation title at the ITA Fall National Championships.

The Gators have one more stop before their fall season comes to a close. Florida will head to the North Florida Invitational in Jacksonville starting Nov. 12.

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

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Brenda Bogle

Brenda Bogle is a UF journalism senior with a specialization in sports and media. She joined The Alligator in the Fall of 2021.


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