Women’s tennis takes ASUN title from in-state rival

Riley Platt, Sports Editor

The University of North Florida women’s tennis squad continued their dominance over the conference on Saturday, defeating the Stetson University Hatters to win the ASUN Championship. 

This marks the 10th time that the Ospreys have taken the trophy. Out of the last eight seasons, UNF has had their way with the competition and have won the ASUN title seven times. 

The showdown took place at the UNF Tennis Complex on Saturday afternoon. Both teams entered the duel with 18 wins this season, but Stetson came out on top 5-2 in their lone regular season meeting in March.

Players pose for photo after winning ASUN Championship
It was all smiles on Saturday as the Ospreys got to celebrate a championship on their home court. (UNF Athletics)

Starting out in doubles, graduate students Kit Gulihur and Ana Paula Melilo got things started with a bang for the Ospreys. The pairing never skipped a beat, taking their match 6-0. The second match didn’t go UNF’s way, though, as Stetson evened things up against UNF duo Annabelle Davis and Jasmin Makela.

Despite this setback, the Ospreys rallied to take the third and final doubles match, with Isabel Oliveira and Kendall Nash fighting to take the set 7-6. This gave UNF the edge in doubles competition, but what about singles?

Gulihur set the tone early on, defeating Stetson’s Nadejda Maslova in two sets. Nash then took over, winning the first set, but dropping the last two to level things. Stetson graduate student Anais Gabriel gave the Hatters an edge with a win in the third set.

UNF’s Davis found herself behind the eight ball after dropping the first set, but rallied to take the next two and even things 2-2. It all came down to the final match between Makela and Stetson junior Magdalena Hedzrak, with Makela powering ahead to a two-set win.

Seven championships in eight seasons is an incredible task, but this season wasn’t easy by any means. The Ospreys fought through plenty of setbacks, something that head coach Catherine Dunagan pointed to following the win.

“The way that we have handled adversity all year has prepared us for this very moment,” Dunagan said. “We stayed tough with match points down in doubles and we kept trusting in ourselves to the very end.”

Teams typically have a target on their back after winning a championship, but this clearly hasn’t slowed down the Ospreys any. As a result of this win, they automatically qualify for the NCAA Tournament and will learn the fate of their next step on May 1 when the bracket is announced.


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