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Friday, March 01, 2024

No. 13 Florida stays unbeaten with 4-2 win over No. 17 Old Dominion

The Gators continued their winning streak with a win over their highest-ranked opponent yet

<p>Florida senior Marlee Zein competes in a match against Central Florida on Feb. 9, 2021. The Gators overcame their matchup Friday night against the Kentucky Wildcats</p>

Florida senior Marlee Zein competes in a match against Central Florida on Feb. 9, 2021. The Gators overcame their matchup Friday night against the Kentucky Wildcats

No. 13 Florida women’s tennis picked up their best win of the season Thursday against previously undefeated No. 17 Old Dominion, taking them down 4-2. The win marks the Gators fifth consecutive win to open the season and its second straight win over a ranked opponent.

Old Dominion’s Tatsiana Sasnouskaya and Yulia Starodubtseva make up the nation’s No. 3 ranked doubles pair. The tandem overloaded UF junior Carly Briggs and senior Marlee Zein to handle in the first doubles match. However, Florida freshmen Alicia Dudeney and Bentee Spee picked up a 6-3 win to tie things up, while graduate student McCartney Kessler and junior Emma Shelton won 6-4 to give the Gators a doubles point advantage.

ODU picked up its first point in the match with a quick two-set victory from junior Alesya Yakubovich over Spee,(6-2, 6-3). The score was deadlocked at one before Dudeney took down Sasnouskaya in a two-set landslide. The advantage increased when Briggs wrapped up her matchup against Monarch freshman Sofia Johnson.

Up 3-1 and in full control of the match, Florida needed the final dagger from one of its remaining players. Kessler fell in the first set, 6-3, before dominating the second against No. 71 Starobubtseva. She was then able to overcome Starodubtseva, 6-4, in the final frame to deliver another victory for the Gators. 

Zein looked destined for a three-set battle after an uphill climb, but she ended up losing the second in a tiebreaker to No. 106 Alexandra Viktorovich. Shelton’s bout ended in a non contest, although, the junior won her first set against Marina Alcaide in a tiebreaker before losing the second. 

The two points scored by Old Dominion were the most they have allowed to another team all season, as their blazing start has them set up for success as Florida begins the SEC slate of 2022. 

Before that, Florida travels to Lake Nona, FL for a rematch against No. 24 Florida State Saturday. The Gators shut out the Seminoles in their last meeting during ITA Kick-Off Weekend. After that, they will go to Madison, WI for the ITA National Team Indoor Championships Feb. 11.

Contact Joshua Morgan at Follow him on Twitter @JoshuaMorgan37

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