Women’s tennis takes on Gators in NCAA tournament

Riley Platt, Sports Editor

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – The University of North Florida Ospreys made an appearance in the 2023 NCAA tournament on Friday, falling 4-0 to the No. 16 University of Florida Gators in the opening round.

UNF automatically qualified following their ASUN championship, earned with a win over the Stetson Hatters in April. Despite the recent momentum, they weren’t able to take down one of the nation’s best squads, who hosted the first round showdown.

Things started with doubles competitions and the Gators grabbed an early advantage. The Ospreys took the court with a mix of youth and experience as sophomore Isabel Oliviera and graduate student Kendall Nash got things going first.

UF’s Carly Briggs and Rachel Gailis took care of business though, winning the first set 6-1. Up next for UNF were Kit Gulihur and Ana Paula Melilo. The pair of veterans put up a formidable fight, but ultimately dropped the set 6-3.

The Ospreys still had the singles competition to claw back, but the Gators did not let off the gas. England native Anabelle Davis kicked things off against UF’s Briggs, but the Gator contributed a second win of the afternoon, adding to previous success in the doubles portion. 

Things were looking bleak for the Ospreys, who were now staring down a hefty deficit. Things didn’t get much better, as Nash dropped a match against Florida sophomore Emily De Oliveira. Gailis followed it up with another win, giving the Gators the overall victory.

It may be a tough way to end the season, but the Ospreys have made great strides as a program. Friday marked their 10th NCAA Tournament appearance since 2010, coupled with their seventh ASUN title in the last eight seasons.

UNF pulled off an upset win against Ole Miss during their last NCAA Tournament appearance in 2021, but the magic didn’t extend to this outing. Regardless, the Ospreys will undoubtedly be a force in the ASUN and potentially on a national scale for years to come.

As for the Gators, they face Georgia Tech Saturday afternoon with a trip to the third round on the line.


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