No. 16 Gators Claim Music City Showdown with 6-1 Victory Over Vanderbilt

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Florida women’s tennis continued its winning ways in Southeastern Conference play, winning it’s eighth-straight match of the season with a 6-1 victory over No. 41 Vanderbilt on Sunday afternoon.

After dropping three-of-four doubles points, the No. 16 Gators (16-4, 8-2 SEC) got back on track Sunday at Vanderbilt (11-7, 3-6). The Commodores would take the early lead in doubles, as Dasha Kourkina and MaryAnn Rompf managed to take down Sarah Dahlstrom and Emma Shelton6-0.

The Orange & Blue proved resilient in the remaining two matches, quickly evening the score at one on the top court with McCartney Kessler and Marlee Zein defeating Anna Ross and Anessa Lee, 6-2. All eyes fell on the No. 34 duo of Alicia Dudeney and Bente Spee at two doubles. The freshmen raced out to a 3-1 lead, but Marcella Cruz and Holly Staff fought back to tie the match at four late in the set. Despite a momentum shift, Dudeney and Spee broke the opposition en route to winning the final two games to claim the match and doubles point, 6-4.

Florida quickly put themselves in a position to claim the match, opening singles competition with two dominant performances. On court five, Dahlstrom earned a clean sweep over Vandy’s Amy Stevens: 6-0, 6-0. Not even 10 minutes later, No. 22 Kessler earned her 12th-consecutive victory on the season and another ranked-win, never relenting in a 6-0, 6-2, win over No. 72 Lee.

With the Gators holding a 3-0 lead, freshman Dudeney played clincher for UF on Sunday afternoon. Dudeney found herself in a close contest with Cruz early in the match, sitting at 4-4 at a crucial point of the first set. The Hove, United Kingdom, native flipped a switch to take the last two games of the opener before a commanding second set performance gave her the 6-4, 6-1 victory.

Two more victories would go the way of the Gators by tight matchups on courts four and two. At four singles, Carly Briggs had to fight for her first set victory, holding off Yufei Long for a 7-5 victory. The second set wasn’t as close for Briggs, as the junior walked away with a 6-3 set and match victory.

Senior, and No. 58 nationally, Zein participated in the toughest match of the day for the Orange & Blue. After dropping the opening frame, 2-6, Zein bounced-back to even the match at one with a dominant 6-0 second set performance. With the spotlight on court two as the last remaining match, Zein remained composed to hold off Staff, 6-4, for the match win and a team 6-1 victory.

The Gators will be back in action on Friday, Apr. 8, when they welcome Alabama to the Alfred A. Ring Tennis Complex for a 5 pm ET matchup.


No. 22 McCartney Kessler def. No. 72 Anessa Lee: 6-0, 6-2
No. 58 Marlee Zein def. Holly Staff: 2-6, 6-0, 6-4
Carly Briggs def. Yufei Long: 7-5, 6-3
Alicia Dudeney def. Marcella Cruz: 6-4, 6-1
Sarah Dahlstrom def. Amy Stevens: 6-0, 6-0
Dasha Kourkina def. Emma Shelton: 6-4, 6-0

Order of Finish: 5, 1, 4, 6, 4, 2

McCartney Kessler/Marlee Zein def. Anna Ross/Anessa Lee: 6-2
No. 34 Alicia Dudeney/Bente Spee def. Marcella Cruz/Holly Staff: 6-4
Dasha Kourkina/MaryAnn Rompf def. Sarah Dahlstrom/Emma Shelton: 6-0

Order of Finish: 3, 1, 2

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