Josie Kuhlman

Senior Josie Kuhlman was the first to win her singles match of the day and helped her team earn a spot at the ITA Division I Women’s Team Indoor Championships in February. 

Every competing senior on the Florida women’s tennis team won their singles match in a 4-0 rout of Cal State Fullerton on Saturday, leaving UF’s freshmen unable to finish their matches. During Sunday’s matchup with Louisiana-Monroe at the Ring Tennis Complex in Gainesville, it was their turn to close the dual-match out.

While senior Josie Kuhlman won the first singles match of the day (6-1, 6-2), it was freshmen Katie Kubicz (6-1, 6-1) and McCartney Kessler (6-3, 6-1) who won the next two matches, leading to another 4-0 sweep for the Gators. The victory earned the team a spot at the ITA Division I Women’s Team Indoor Championships in February.

The doubles portion of the day started out slow for the Gators, with Louisiana-Monroe taking the lead in all three matchups. The team eventually settled into a groove, however, and the duo of senior Anna Danilina and freshman Victoria Emma cruised to victory (6-2) in the first doubles win of the day. It wasn’t long after that the team of Kuhlman and Kessler closed out its match (6-3), clinching the doubles win.

“It’s important to start out well,” coach Roland Thornqvist said. “Both days — yesterday and today — we did not, but we were good enough to play out of those holes.”

After the first true spring competition of the year, the freshmen on the team appear to be getting the hang of collegiate play, especially with the aid of the seniors.

“When I’m nervous, (Danilina) can call the plays,” Emma said regarding her doubles partner. “She really helps me out with nerves, especially this past weekend.”

Florida will play its next match on Feb. 3 against Florida State at the USTA National Campus in Orlando. While Emma is excited to play at the USTA National Campus, she made it clear that a matchup with longtime rival FSU is no different than any other tennis match.

“A lot of Florida fans think it’s a huge rivalry,” Emma said. “They aren’t in our conference, so they aren’t really our rivals. It’s just another match and another chance to get better.”

 Follow River Wells on Twitter @riverhwells and contact him at [email protected].

River Wells is a sports writer for the Alligator and covers the University of Florida women’s tennis team. He has previously covered UF swimming and diving. He has worked at the paper since Fall 2017.