Florida defeated South Florida, 7-0, to earn a 2-0 start to the season.
GAINESVILLE, Fla. – For the second time in as many attempts, Florida women’s tennis earned a convincing victory, defeating South Florida at the Alfred A. Ring Tennis Complex on Monday afternoon, 7-0.
The Gators (2-0, 0-0 SEC) opened the match with strong doubles play, as Bente Spee and Marlee Zein quickly captured a 6-2 win at two doubles, 6-2. Playing at the third doubles position, Sydney Berlin and Sara Dahlstrom earned the point for UF, battling South Florida’s (1-1, 0-0 AAC) Alexandra Mjos and Kiana Mokhtari, 7-5.
At one singles, McCartney Kessler made quick work of Grace Schumacher, earning her first singles victory of the dual match season: 6-0, 6-1. Making her dual season debut, Dahlstrom took care of business at the six singles slot, downing Margriet Timmermans in straight sets: 6-3, 6-0.
In her singles competition, No. 34 Zein pulled in the fourth point of the match for the Orange & Blue, defeating Sierra Berry: 6-3, 6-3. Sydney Berlin continued the win streak, pulling away from Mjos after a close first set: 7-5, 6-1.
The final two matches of the day featured gritty performances by the Gators. Freshman Bente Spee, facing off with Laura Pellicer, fell behind 5-2 early in the first set. Maintaining composure, Spee turned the tide to rally for a 7-5 first set win. In a second set that was not nearly as highly contested as the first, Spee held on for a 6-2 win.
Preserving the sweep for UF, No. 87 Emma Shelton also had to battle from behind after dropping the opening set against Amelie Boy, 7-6 (4). The junior put together a dominant second set, 6-2, to even the match at one. In the 10-point third set tiebreaker, Shelton held control through the duration, winning the set and match, 10-6.
The Gators are back in action on Saturday, Jan. 29 when they head to Florida State for the Intercollegiate Tennis Association Kick-Off Weekend. Florida will open with Florida International.
Kessler def. Schumacher: 6-0, 6-1
No. 34 Zein def. Berry: 6-3, 6-3
No. 87 Shelton def. Boy: 6-7 (4), 6-2, 10-6
Spee def. Pellicer: 7-5, 6-2
Berlin def. Mjos: 7-5, 6-1
Dahlstrom def. Timmermans: 6-3, 6-0
Spee/Zein def. Schumacher/Timmermans: 6-2
Berlin/Dahlstrom def. Mjos/Mokhtari: 7-5
Kessler/Shelton vs. Berry/Boy: 5-6, Unf.
Head Coach Roland Thornqvist
On his thoughts of the match…
“I was really pleased. We had to problem solve and what we talked about after the match in the locker room was our ability to change tactically. You come out and you want to play a certain way, but for one reason or another it’s not working and you have to be able to change. I thought we had to do that on several spots because South Florida was coming at us pretty good. To our players’ credit, if you look at the scoreboards we had some close first sets, but most of the time we were able to navigate through those. That, then, allowed it to open up in the second. I was really pleased with our effort. We had to sit a couple players today, so that gives everybody a chance to play over the two days and I’m very happy with the level of play and our attitudes and just overall, super pleased.”
On Spee’s gritty performance at four singles…
“I was on Bente’s court and she was getting absolutely worked, but to Bente’s credit, she was able to change what she was doing on the first ball. That turned the whole match around, all of a sudden, she was running half as much as she was in the beginning and then obviously, she was able to really plow through it. “
On Emma Shelton’s comeback effort…
“I thought Emma has played better and better these two days. When I walked over at the end of the second set, she was really swinging nicely. When she can relax, widen her base, and really swing into her forehand, she’s very tough to beat. We’ve got to get her to that from a competitive standpoint, but she’s getting there. She needs more matches, like everyone else, to help her relax, but we’re very pleased we were able to see her complete the comeback in the tiebreaker.”
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