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Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Gators women’s tennis stays hot with victory over rival Florida State

The No. 8 Gators grinded out a 4-2 victory over Florida State as a part of the 2024 College MatchDay event

Florida junior Bente Spee gears up for a backhand shot in the Gators women's tennis match against Baylor on Saturday, January 20, 2024.
Florida junior Bente Spee gears up for a backhand shot in the Gators women's tennis match against Baylor on Saturday, January 20, 2024.

Saturday, the No. 8 Gators women’s tennis team (4-0) faced in-state rivals Florida State (2-2) at the packed United States Tennis Association National Campus as part of the 2024 College MatchDay event.

In front of a raucous crowd, the Gators impressed, storming to yet another victory in duel matches, this time winning 4-2.

Florida started off strong on the doubles front, continuing its streak of winning the doubles point, which they have done in every match so far this season.

On Court 1, UF’s tandem of juniors Alicia Dudeney and Bente Spee picked up their third win this season, defeating Florida State’s team of graduate student Vic Allen and senior Ellie Schoppe 6-2.

Meanwhile, on Court 3, Florida graduate student Carly Briggs made her season debut in doubles, filling in for the injured senior Sara Dahlstrom. Briggs teamed up with a familiar face in her doubles partner for much of last season, sophomore Rachel Gailis.

The pair cruised to a 6-2 victory over the Seminoles’ pairing of freshman Laura Putz and sophomore Millie Bissett.

With the doubles point already secured, the Court 2 matchup between UF’s undefeated No. 38 pair of freshmen Qavia Lopez and Malwina Rowinska and Florida State’s senior Anna Arkadianou and sophomore Kristyna Lavickova did not finish, ending with the Gator pair leading 5-4.

Due to Dahlstrom’s absence, Florida head coach Roland Thornqvist was forced to shift around his singles lineup. However, the changes did not hurt the Gators, who were up to the task in singles play.

Florida scored its first singles victory of the evening on Court 4, where UF’s Dudeney could not be denied against the Seminoles’ Lavickova. Dudeney eventually won the matchup 6-3, 6-4 to remain unbeaten in singles play this season.

Then, on Court 3, the Gators’ No. 23 junior Emily De Oliveira returned from injury and was in impressive form as she grinded out a straight sets victory over Arkadianou 6-1, 7-5.

With the Gators only needing one more win to claim a victory, it was No. 38 Briggs who once again came up clutch. She defeated Florida State’s Allen 7-6, 6-0 to secure the Gator victory.

The Seminoles grabbed points on Court 2, where Florida’s No. 63 Gailis fell short against Schoppe in straight sets 7-5, 6-0.

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The Seminoles were also victorious on Court 6, where Putz defeated UF sophomore Sophia Williams 6-3, 6-3. It was Williams’ first singles bout of the season.

Meanwhile, the match on Court 5 between Florida’s Lopez and Florida State’s Bissett did not finish, ending 0-6, 7-5, 5-0 in Bissett’s favor.

Now the winners of four-straight to start season play, the Gators will head up to Ann Arbor, Michigan, for a top-10 matchup against the No. 5 Michigan Wolverines (4-1). The match will start at 5 p.m.

Contact Max Bernstein at mbernstein@alligator.org. Follow him on X @maxbernstein23.

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