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UF Women’s Tennis: Gators March Past Saints in NCAA First Round

Senior Ida Jarlskog produced both singles and doubles wins in UF’s win over Siena.
Photo by Tiffany Franco

Courtesy of University Athletic Association

BY SAM STOLTE

Women’s tennis defeats Siena 4-0, moves on to face USC in regional finale Saturday

The No. 11-seeded University of Florida women’s tennis team defeated visiting Siena 4-0 Friday afternoon at Linder Stadium at the Alfred A. Ring Tennis Complex, securing a spot in Saturday’s regional finale.
 
Improving to 53-6 at home in NCAA action and extending their overall record to 116-30 in NCAA play, Florida impressed in both doubles and singles action against the MAAC champion Siena.
 
With the victory, the Gators advance to take on USC in the Gainesville regional finale Saturday afternoon. Florida and USC will meet for a 4 p.m. match with the winning team punching a ticket to the tournament’s round of 16 next week in Lake Nona. Florida’s men’s squad is set to take on South Alabama at 1 p.m. in its first matchup of the NCAA Tennis Championships Saturday as well.
 
Making its 33rd-straight appearance in the NCAA Tennis Championships, Florida secured the doubles point and rattled off three straight wins in singles to dispatch the Saints. No. 8 McCartney Kessler, No. 103 Ida Jarlskog, and Sydney Berlin all posted victories in the sweep. Berlin, no stranger to match-clinching victories, produced her fifth deciding win of the season with a 6-1, 6-0 triumph on court six.
 
Pushing its round of 64 record to 22-0, Florida received doubles victories from its top two tandems in No. 7 Kessler and Marlee Zein and No. 53 Jarlskog and Layne Sleeth. Winning for the eighth time in its last nine matches, UF dropped just 13 games combined in doubles and singles, winning 86.
 
After the day’s first match between USC and Oklahoma exceeded three hours and thirty minutes in length, the Gators made quick work of Siena in a tilt that lasted less than an hour and a half.
 
The Gators, who broke a streak of four straight doubles point losses, were flat out dominant on Friday, dropping just two games over the three courts. No. 7 Kessler and Zein cruised to a 6-1 win on court one to open the scoring before No. 53 Jarlskog and Sleeth posted a victory by the same tally on court two. The senior Jarlskog and the sophomore Sleeth won for the seventh straight time.
 
Berlin and Sara Dahlstrom played an impressive match of their own but saw their contest go unsettled at 5-1 in their favor.
 
Florida’s focus and execution continued on into singles play as it won all six opening sets. The three-time All-SEC pick Kessler scored the opening tally in singles play as she collected a 6-1, 6-1 victory over Meagan Brown on the top court. It was the Georgia native’s eighth straight win.
 
Just moments later, Jarlskog put the finishing touches on a 6-0, 6-0 win over Petra Miszczak on third court. The two-time All-SEC selection and veteran, Jarlskog, improved to 7-0 in NCAA action.
 
With all four remaining courts well within striking distance of securing the fourth and final point, it was the left-handed swinging Berlin who was the first to get to the finish line and push the Gators to a postseason win. Winning for the seventh straight contest, Berlin moved by Anastasia Koniaev, 6-1, 6-0.
 
No. 71 Zein was oh so close to securing a victory of her own but saw her match go unfinished at 6-2, 5-0. Dahlstrom, ahead 6-1, 5-2, and Sleeth, who maintained a 6-1, 4-1 edge, both saw their matches end with an unfinished verdict.
 
Improving to 8-1 at home this season, the Gators recorded their fourth sweep of the season.
 
UP NEXT: The Gators return to action Saturday at 4 p.m. in the Gainesville regional finale. Florida is set to take on USC.
 
The Gators are 14-7 against USC all time including a 3-0 mark in NCAA play. The last meeting between the programs occurred on Feb. 7, 2016 when the No. 3 Gators posted a 7-0 win over the No. 4 Trojans in Gainesville. The squads last squared off in the NCAA tournament on May 20, 2005, when UF posted a 4-2 win over the Trojans in the quarterfinals in Athens, Ga.
 
Saturday will be a showdown of two of the sport’s premier programs as the Gators have seven national championships and USC has three.

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