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Wednesday, August 10, 2022
<p>Florida&#x27;s McCartney Kessler competes during a Feb. 26, 2021 match against LSU. Kessler helped secure a doubles win with freshman Alicia Dudeney, 6-2.</p>

Florida's McCartney Kessler competes during a Feb. 26, 2021 match against LSU. Kessler helped secure a doubles win with freshman Alicia Dudeney, 6-2.

An early, rainy Wednesday morning and game delay did not deter the No.16 Florida women’s tennis team from toppling Alabama-Birmingham in a 7-0 sweep. 

Adding onto the eventful morning, Florida’s double lineups changed minutes before the teams hit the court. Each squad had a different look compared to its previous match against No. 16 Tennessee. 

Every player was playing with a new partner for the first time this season. 

Sophomore Sara Dahlstrom, who missed the last match, was paired with freshman Bente Spee. Spee’s previous partner, freshman Alicia Dudeney, competed with graduate student McCartney Kessler. Finally, juniors Emma Shelton and Carly Briggs joined forces. 

Head coach Roland Thornqvist addressed the last-minute substitutions.

"I think we're still improving, really,” Thronqvist said. “Every week or so we make some big steps forward and these matches, when we have these, they just provide another opportunity for them, individually in particular, to learn and try some new things.”

Dudeney and Kessler started the doubles competition with a 6-3 win over UAB sophomores Sydney Clarke and Maggie White on court one. 

Not far behind was Briggs and Shelton with their quick, decisive 6-1 defeat over the Blazer tandem of redshirt sophomore Adela Wasserbauerova and freshman Mackenzie White next door on court two.

The Gators transferred their momentum to the singles competition to secure the win. Shelton finished off Clarke in two quick sets giving Florida a 2-0 advantage. 

All eyes fellon Dudeney as she was playing the top singles position for the first time this season. Although her nerves were seen in the first set, Dudeney managed to compose herself and claw back to secure the third win for Florida, in three sets.

Briggs found herself in a predicament on court three. Struggling to stay on top, she eventually took the first set 7-6 (4). As a result, Briggs gained the confidence to cruise through the second set on the way to a 6-2 victory. 

As Dahlstrom and Spee struck down their respective opponents, senior Sydney Berlin was the only one left on court five. Carrying a 6-0 lead, it was up to her to ensure the Gators obtained their second sweep of the season.

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The Buffalo, New York, native faltered in the opening set, losing 3-6. However, she did not allow that to phase her and secured a 6-3 victory in the second set. Berlin and her opponent Maggie White fought through a ten-point tiebreaker. Berlin was finally able to take a breath,winning 10-2.

Florida will now travel to Columbia, Missouri, to go up against the Missouri Tigers. The match starts with the doubles portion at 3:00  p.m. Friday. 

Contact Vanessa Sanchez at vsanchez@alligator.org. Follow her on Twitter @_vanessa_sanch.

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