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Friday, June 14, 2024

Florida’s season comes to an end after NCAA Tournament loss to Miami in Round of 32

The Gators fell short to the Hurricanes in a tightly contested 4-3 matchup

Florida senior Carly Briggs and sophomore Alicia Dudeney talk to each during their doubles match in the Gators' matchup against the Pepperdine Waves Friday, Feb 24, 2023.
Florida senior Carly Briggs and sophomore Alicia Dudeney talk to each during their doubles match in the Gators' matchup against the Pepperdine Waves Friday, Feb 24, 2023.

Florida graduate student Carly Briggs has been on a tear as of late, and that continued on Sunday.

The No. 56 singles player in the country came into the NCAA Tournament on a season-best eight match winning streak, having not lost a match since March 22.

The streak continued in the Round of 32, as Briggs stormed out to a 6-2, 6-0 victory on Court 3 over Miami senior Leonie Schuknecht.

Briggs’ dominant win earned the No. 15 Gators (17-9, 11-2 SEC) their second point Sunday in what ultimately ended up a 4-3 second round loss against No. 22 Miami (13-7, 8-4 ACC).

The loss knocked the Gators out of the NCAA Tournament in the Round of 32, while Miami will advance to take on No. 3 Michigan in the Sweet 16.

The Gators took control of the match early, winning their 13th straight doubles point.

On Court 2, Florida’s team of freshman Qavia Lopez and Briggs bested Miami’s team of senior Antonia Balzert and Schuknecht 6-2.

The Gators secured the doubles point on Court 3, as the team of sophomore Rachel Gailis and junior Bente Spee edged out Miami’s pair of senior Audrey Boch-Collins and redshirt junior Alexa Noel.

Singles play was competitive early as Florida and Miami split the first sets evenly, with two of the matches going the full three sets.

Ultimately, the Hurricanes edged out four singles bouts to earn the overall match victory, bringing the Gators’ season to an end.

Briggs quickly earned Florida its second point of the day with her Court 3 straight-set win against Miami’s Schuknecht.

However, the Hurricanes quickly responded on Court 5, as Miami sophomore Xinyi Nong bested No. 109 Lopez 6-2, 6-2.

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Miami went on to tie the match with a victory on Court 1, featuring a top 10 singles matchup between No. 8 Gailis and Miami’s No. 10 Noel.

Ultimately, the win went in favor of Noel after a dominant 6-2, 6-3 victory over Gailis.

On Court 2, Florida’s No. 75 senior Sara Dahlstrom took down Miami’s No. 47 senior Isabella Pfennig 6-4, 6-2.

Dahlstrom’s victory was her third over a top-50 opponent this season, and her first ranked win since March 8.

With the match 3-2 in favor of the Gators, the remaining two singles bouts headed to third sets to determine who would advance to the Sweet 16.

The Hurricanes once again fought back to even up the match, as Miami freshman Maria Paula Vargas bested Spee in three-sets.

The freshman took the first set 7-5, before Spee bounced back to win the second 6-2. However, in the ultimate set, Vargas prevailed 6-1 to win the match.

Miami clinched the win on Court 4 with a victory from No. 115 Boch-Collins, who narrowly defeated Florida junior Alicia Dudeney in three-sets.

Dudeney took the first set 6-3, before Boch-Collins took the remaining two 6-3 to win the overall match for the Hurricanes.

Florida’s duel season now comes to an end that was perhaps premature for Florida fans, as the Gators failed to advance to the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2021.

Gailis and Briggs will now await the Division I singles championships. The tournament begins on May 20 following the conclusion of the team championships.

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

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