no. 15 Women’s Tennis Falls in SEC Home-Opener on Friday

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – Florida women’s tennis dropped their Southeastern Conference home-opener on Friday evening, falling to No. 23 Georgia, 3-1, in a match that was forced indoors due to rain.

Georgia (6-2, 3-0 SEC) wasted no time in taking control of the doubles points, as the No. 62 pair of Morgan Coppoc and Ania Hertel took down No. 6 Carly Brigg and Marlee Zein, 6-0. Needing two wins to claim the doubles point, both Gators (8-4, 1-2 SEC) doubles teams found themselves in close matches. At the third spot, McCartney Kessler and Emma Shelton held a 6-5 advantage late in the match, but Mell Reasco and Dasha Vidmanova managed to outlast No. 18 Alicia Dudeney and Bente Spee6-4, to give the Bulldogs a 1-0 match lead.

The Bulldogs’ lead would swell to 3-0, as No. 55 Zein and Dudeney both fell at their respective spots. Dudeney, a freshman from Hove, United Kingdom, battled back to even her match at one-a-piece at the two singles position after falling in the opening set, 2-6. The freshman claimed the second set, 6-2, but was unable to overcome 25 Reasco, as the opposition earned the win with a 6-2 third set.

Needing big performances in the remaining matches, No. 39 Kessler would give the Gators positive momentum at the top singles position. Kessler, matched up with No. 49 Lea Ma, fell in the opening set, 3-6. Undeterred, the graduate battled back to take the second set, 6-4, forcing a winner-take-all third set. Facing a 5-3 hole, the veteran rattled-off four-straight games to take the match and put the Gators on the board.

Florida was unable to build on that momentum, however, as the Bulldogs took a victory at the fourth singles position to win the match, 3-1.

The Gators will be back in action on Sunday, Mar. 13, when they welcome 16 Tennessee to the Alfred A. Ring Tennis Complex for a 1 pm ET matchup.

SINGLES

no. 39 McCartney Kessler final no. 49 Leah Mon: 3-6, 6-4, 7-5
no. 25 Mell Reasco def. Alicia Dudeney: 6-2, 2-6, 6-2
no. 113 Dasha Vidmanova def. no. 55 Marlee Zein: 6-1, 6-4
Morgan Coppoc def. Carly Briggs: 6-1, 6-1
Emma Shelton vs. no. 71 Meg Kowalski: 2-5, unf.
Sara Dahlstrom vs. no. 122 Ania Hertel: unf.

Order of finish: 3, 2, 1, 4

DOUBLES

no. 62 Morgan Coppoc/Anua Hertel def. no. 6 Carly BriggsMarlee Zein: 6-0
Mell Reasco/Dasha Vidmanova def. no. 18 Alicia DudeneyBente Spee: 6-4
McCartney KesslerEmma Shelton vs. Mai Nirundorn/Meg Kowalski: 6-5, unf.

Order of finish: 1, 2

QUOTABLES
Head Coach Roland Thornqvist
On today’s match…

“I thought we were still a little to spotty overall and inconsistent at times when we play singles. At doubles we had opportunities to win the doubles point, just like we did last Sunday. That aside, I do think we’re improving. The freshman are improving, even though we lost while having a lead, we’re learning a lot there. In general, Georgia is a top-five team, honestly, talent-wise and there’s still a gap there for us to bridge. something we have to commit to everyday in practice to get both stamina and confidence and resiliency when we compete and I think it showed today.

on McCartney Kessler’s comeback victory…

“She’s [Kessler] playing really well and I thought perhaps today she was in-and-out a little bit, that girl is tricky to play, though, and she frustrated McCartney a little bit, so we had a little bit of dip in our performance because of that , but overall the fact that she was able to come back from five-three down in the third shows she’s a warrior. She’s been through the wringer for four years already and you can tell she’s a scarred veteran with great desire so I was proud to see that.”

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