The Florida Gators fly west this week to compete in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Fall National Championships in San Diego, California.
Senior Marlee Zein and junior Carly Briggs join forces once again in the double’s competition starting Thursday. The field is stacked this weekend with 32 of the top collegiate doubles teams in the nation.
The Fall championship will feature the No. 3 duo of Tatiana Makarova and Jayci Goldsmith from Texas A&M. No. 8 Anna Brylin and Brooke Killingsworth of Wake Forest also offer a pair to watch as the competition progresses.
Briggs and Zein hope to capitalize on an impressive runner-up finish at the ITA Southeast Regional Championships in October, and the two enter this weekend’s tournament primed to take the next step and capture a major title.
The Gators duo showed signs of dominance on their way to a second-place finish in Lake Nona, Florida, at the Southeast Regional Championships. Briggs and Zein defeated Naya Tillitt and Mary Courville of Mercer, 8-2, and Miami’s Diana Khodan and Maya Tahan, 8-4, to set up an all-Gators semifinal against freshman Alicia Dudeney and senior Sydney Berlin.
Briggs and Zein powered through their teammates to advance to the doubles finals with a score of 6-2, 6-3. They would fall short of the title against Kit Gulihur and Ana Paula Melilo of North Florida, 7-5, 2-6 (10-5).
The last time the Gators competed at the ITA Fall National Championships now-graduate student McCartney Kessler played her way into the tournament in 2019. Kessler lost in the consolation round that year against Bojana Markovic of Hawaii, 6-3, 4-6, 4-6.
Briggs and Zein look to make their mark against some of the top-ranked teams in the nation at this week’s championship. The doubles round of 32 will begin Nov. 4, with the main draw and consultation rounds set to take place the following day.
Contact Brenda Bogle at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @bogle_brenda.
Brenda Bogle is a UF journalism senior with a specialization in sports and media. She joined The Alligator in the Fall of 2021.