Florida sophomore Emily De Oliveira has been the closer throughout the season in both singles and doubles play. The sophomore won her first set in singles and trailed 5-1 in the second set against Ole Miss, but she refused to give up.
De Oliveira won one game, then another, then another.
She led 6-5 and needed one more game to close out the match for Florida. She squeezed a ball past Rebels freshman Emma Kette to complete the improbable comeback and ascended the Gators to victory.
The No. 19 Florida Gators (11-4, 5-2 SEC) fired on all cylinders and defeated the Ole Miss Rebels (8-8, 2-6 SEC) 4-1 Sunday afternoon at Palmer/Salloum Tennis Center. The Gators started strong and earned their third consecutive doubles point and continued to charge throughout singles.
De Oliveira and freshman Sophie Williams dueled Rebels junior Reka Zadori and Kette. The Gators pair started off strong and won the first three games convincingly. The Rebels refused to let up and took three of the next four to total the score to 4-3. Florida rebounded and won the final two games to win, 6-4.
UF senior Carly Briggs and freshman Rachel Gailis — the Intercollegiate Tennis Association’s No. 60-ranked doubles pair — went head-to-head against Rebels seniors Lillian Gabrielson and Kelsey Mize.
The Gators’ duo took the first game and rode a one-game lead until midway through the match. Ole Miss refused to ease up and won the final four games for a 6-4 win.
The doubles point was decided on Court 1 as the score evened at one apiece.
Florida sophomores Bente Spee and Alicia Dudeney teamed up and faced Rebels sophomores Ludmila Kareisova and Anaelle Leclercq. The Gators pair trailed by one game for most of the competition but evened the score to four apiece.
The UF duo took the final two games and won, 6-4, to clinch the doubles point.
The Gators quickly built upon their early lead with masterful performances across nearly all six courts in singles.
No. 45-ranked Briggs defeated Leclercq in a speedy fashion. The senior won the first game, 6-2, and carried her momentum into the second set and earned a 6-3 victory.
Gailis exchanged blows with Ole Miss sophomore Rachel Krzyzak. The freshman defeated Krzyzak 6-4 in both sets and extended the Gators’ lead to 3-0.
Zadori attempted to keep the Rebels in the mix with a single victory over Spee on Court 6. Spee battled hard but dropped the first set 6-4. Zadori doubled her efforts in the second set and defeated the Gators sophomore, 6-3.
De Oliveria faced Kette for the second time Sunday afternoon and got the best of the Rebels freshman to earn Florida the Southeastern Conference victory.
The UF sophomore won the first set, 6-3, and in a tight, come-from-behind finish, took the final set, 7-5.
The victory secured the dual-match win for Florida and the remainder of the courts went unconcluded.
The No. 42-ranked Gators junior Sara Dahlstrom started her day on Court 1 and faced No. 62-ranked Kareisova. The UF junior won the first set in a close final, 7-5, and led 4-3 before the match went unconcluded.
Dudeney faced Gabrielson, and for the first time in nearly a month, lost the first set. The match went unfinished with the victory by De Oliveira on Court 5 and Dudeney finished down 5-4.
The Gators will travel back to Gainesville for their next matchup and play the Missouri Tigers. The match will take place at 5 p.m. Friday at Alfred A. Ring Tennis Complex.
Contact Luke Adragna at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @lukeadrag.
Luke Adragna is a UF journalism junior and The Alligator's baseball beat reporter for the summer. In his free time, he obsesses over his son (cat) named Pete, buys way too many legos and completes the NYT's daily mini in fewer than 60 seconds.