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Thursday, April 25, 2024

Gators win Sunshine Showdown in thrilling Spring season home opener

Gailis’ winning point extended Gators’ winning streak to four in a row against Seminoles

Florida freshman Sophie Williams swings her racket in the Gators' 4-1 win against the Florida State Seminoles Thursday, Feb. 9, 2023.
Florida freshman Sophie Williams swings her racket in the Gators' 4-1 win against the Florida State Seminoles Thursday, Feb. 9, 2023.

The Florida Gators started from behind when they lost the doubles point. However, they defeated the Florida State Seminoles, fueled by last-second efforts from freshman Rachel Gailis and junior Sara Dahlstrom. 

The No. 18 Florida Gators women’s tennis team hosted its first match of the Spring season versus in-state rival Florida State. The 4-1 Gators defeated the 5-2 Seminoles 4-1 to win their fourth rivalry match in a row. 

Florida’s senior-sophomore duo of Carly Briggs and Alicia Dudeney battled FSU senior Vic Allen and junior Anna Arkadianou. The Gators quickly found themselves down 5-1, setting themselves up for an unlikely comeback. 

They were able to pick up one win down the stretch but ultimately lost to the Seminoles’ duo 6-2. 

Florida senior Emma Shelton and freshman Sophie Williams competed against Seminoles sophomore Olympe Lancelot and freshman Millie Bissett. The teams exchanged points, and the score sat at 3-3 midway through the match. 

The Florida State pair rapidly picked up the pace and left the Gators in the dust. They took the final three sets to secure the doubles point for the Seminoles. 

Gailis and Florida sophomore Bente Spee, whose score sat at 5-5, were unable to finish when the losses from their Gators teammates clinched the doubles point for the Seminoles.

No. 97-ranked Dudeney secured the first singles victory for the Gators against FSU graduate student Mila Saric. She edged out her opponent, 6-4, in the first set, and didn’t let up in the second, winning 6-2. 

No. 118-ranked sophomore Emily De Oliveira picked up the Gators’ second singles victory with a similar finish to Dudeney. She won her first set 6-4 and earned a 6-1 second-set victory. 

This was De Oliveira’s 11th straight singles win of the 2023 season.  

No. 76-ranked Florida junior Sara Dahlstrom entered the matchup riding a season streak of six singles victories. She paired up against Allen who fared well against the Gator.

Allen took the first set, 6-4, but crumbled in the second set losing to Dahlstrom 6-0. This set up a third-set which saw Dahlstrom secure a 6-3 victory to put the Gators up 3-1.

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Now all eyes turned to Rachel Gailis. 

Gailis — who won Southeastern Conference Freshman of the Week for her dominant performance against Baylor — matched up against Ellie Schoppe. 

Schoppe was quickly down 4-0 in the first set but fought back and won the next six games to win the set. Gailis won six unanswered games in the second set to send the match to a final third set. 

Gailis pulled away early in the set and never looked back. She won 6-4 and gave Florida a win over FSU. 

No. 55-ranked Carly Briggs and No. 104-ranked freshman Anastasia Sysoeva both went unfinished on their courts.

The Gators will play next at 1 p.m. Feb. 22, against Florida Gulf Coast in the Alfred A. Ring Complex. 

Contact Luke Adragna at ladragna@alligator.org. Follow him on Twitter @lukeadrag.

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Luke Adragna

Luke Adragna is a third-year journalism student and the Florida Gators football reporter at The Alligator. He is a cat ethusiast and completes the NYT Daily Mini in less than a minute each day.


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