Gamecocks Drop Tough 4-3 Decision at Florida
Gainesville, Fla. – No. 23 South Carolina suffered a heartbreaking loss to No. 16 Florida on Saturday afternoon. After dropping the doubles point, the Gamecocks came back to win three singles matches before Florida claimed the win.
In singles, the Gators grabbed the first two points with straight sets wins on Courts 1 and 5. In the No. 2 spot, No. 57 Ayana Akli played a competitive match against No. 67 Marlee Zein. Akli controlled the first set and only dropped two games on her way to an efficient 6-2 win. In the second set, Zein came alive and built to a 5-3 lead over Akli. The Gamecock junior was not ready to give up and won the next four games to claim the 7-5 win and put South Carolina on the board.
All remaining singles matches went to three sets with Florida leading 3-1. On Court 4, No. 118 Elise Mills took on Carly Briggs. After starting the first set 1-1, Mills took off to claim the commanding 6-1 win. Briggs battled back against Mills’ 3-0 lead and took the second set 6-4, but the Prosperity, S.C., native would not back down.
The third set started just as the first did with both earning one game, but Mills quickly found her footing once again. She earned the 6-1 third set win with a powerful cross-court forehand that Briggs sent out of bounds. With the win, South Carolina closed in 3-2 with two matches left to finish.
On Court 6, freshman Gracie Mulville battled against Sydney Berlin. After dropping the first set 6-2, Mulville came back from behind to take the second set 6-4. In the final set, the Gamecock built to a 4-1 lead before Berlin tied things up at four games all. Mulville remained steady and won the next two games to tie the overall score at 3-3 with a forehand that Berlin dumped into the net.
Graduate student Megan Davies was the last to finish on the courts in her match against Alicia Dudeney. Davies took the first set 7-5 after she battled back from a 3-5 deficit, but Dudeney claimed the second set 6-3. The Florida Gator continued to stay ahead to win the final set 6-2 to hand South Carolina the close 4-3 loss.
The Gamecocks will be back in action in the SEC Tournament hosted in Gainesville, Fla. on Thursday. South Carolina will await its tournament seed, scheduled to be released on Sunday.
(16) Florida def. (23) South Carolina 4-3
Doubles (Order of Finish: 1, 3*)
1. No. 66 Dudeney/Kessler (UF) def. No. 35 Megan Davies/Sarah Hamner (SC) 6-2
2. Ayana Akli/Ana Cruz (SC) vs. Bente Spee/Marlee Zein (UF) 4-5 DNF
3. Carly Briggs/Emma Shelton (UF) def. Elise Mills/Misa Malkin (SC) 6-3
Singles (Order of Finish: 1, 5, 2, 4, 6, 3*)
1. No. 12 McCartney Kessler (UF) def. No. 5 Sarah Hamner (SC) 6-1, 6-4
2. No. 57 Ayana Akli (SC) def. No. 67 Marlee Zein (UF) 6-2, 7-5
3. Alicia Dudeney (UF) def. Megan Davies (SC) 5-7, 6-3, 6-2
4. No. 118 Elise Mills (SC) def. Carly Briggs (UF) 6-1, 4-6, 6-1
5. Sara Dahlstrom (UF) def. Misa Malkin (SC) 6-4, 6-1
6. Gracie Mulville (SC) def. Sydney Berlin (UF) 2-6, 6-4, 6-4