LAKE NONA, Fla. – After a stellar weekend of competition at the ITA Southeast Regional Championships, Carly Briggs and Marlee Zein claimed runner-up honors in the doubles draw, punching their ticket to the ITA National Fall Championships in November.
“We had a very good tournament. Even though we didn’t win a trophy, we now know where we stand as a team in our region and look forward to seeing these teams in the spring.” Gators Head Coach Roland Thornqvist said. “This year’s team is both more athletic and mentally tough, which coupled with a professional work ethic, will make us a formidable opponent this spring.”
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Facing-off against their first ranked opponent of the tournament in Monday’s finale, Briggs and Zein pushed No. 33 Catherine Gulihar and Ana Paula Melilo of North Florida to their limit. The highly-contested opening frame of the match went to the North Florida pair, 7-5. Briggs and Zein bounced-back for a strong 6-2 second set, forcing a 10-point tiebreaker for the match. Gulihur and Melilo managed to hold on for the 10-5 victory, but Briggs and Zein will have the opportunity to represent Florida at the National Fall Championships because of their efforts.
“Without question our doubles play was the highlight of this weekend and Marlee and Carly showed they are capable of beating the nation’s best.” Thornqvist said. “North Florida played superb tennis and we need to congratulate them on a fantastic win. Hopefully we can see them again in November when we travel there.”
The ITA National Fall Championships will be held from Thursday, Nov.4 – Sunday, Nov. 7 in San Diego, Calif. Additional Gators could join Briggs and Zein, courtesy of the ITA at-large selection process later this month.
Gators women’s tennis will now have a little over two weeks off before heading to San Diego, Calif., for the ITA National Fall Championships at the Barnes Tennis Center. Briggs and Zein will represent Florida in doubles competition, but at-large selections could see more Gators join the pair.
No. 33 Gulihur/Melilo (North Florida) def. Briggs/Zein: 7-5, 2-6 (10-5)
– Briggs and Zein finish the tournament 3-1 as a pair.
– Monday marks Briggs’ second runner-up finish of the season in doubles competition, also taking second at the Kitty Harrison Invitational.
– Briggs now sits at 6-2 for the fall doubles campaign while Zein falls to 3-4.