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The Stetson women’s tennis team (9-9, 4-3) lost a thrilling match to UCF (12-6, 1-1) on Wednesday afternoon, falling by a score of 4-3 at the Mandy Stoll Tennis Center.

UCF was able to take a 3-2 lead, which left things up to the final two singles matches, both having gone to three sets. At the number five singles position, freshman Eveline Lepinay gave Stetson its third point of the match when she defeated Courtney Griffith by a score of 6-4, 3-6, 6-2.  It wasn’t enough though, because after senior Sara Lazarevic forced her third set, she ultimately fell, losing to Genevieve Lorbergs by a score of 7-5, 4-6, 6-2, clinching the match for UCF.

“Today was a great collegiate tennis match,” Stetson assistant coach Christophe Noblet said. “Both teams fought extremely hard while playing at a very high level. We have started to see what this group is capable of, and it’s quite exciting.”

At the beginning of singles play, junior Diana Bukajeva cruised to a 6-1, 6-2 victory at the number two position. Junior MayaBlue Stauffer-MacDowell then rallied from a one set deficit, defeating Sofia Baptista by a score of 2-6, 6-1, 6-1 to record her first victory of the season.

In doubles, UCF won two of the three exciting doubles matches to capture an early 1-0 lead. After Stetson lost the first doubles match 8-6, junior Lindsey Cable and Lepinay were able to pick up a win, defeating Jenna Doefler and Baptista by a score of 9-7, evening the doubles matches at 1-1.

The third and final match saw Bukajeva and Jen Miller trail 4-1, only to come back and take a 7-5 lead late. However, UCF’s duo of Lorbergs and Josephine Haraldson rallied to win the final four games, winning the match 9-7 to give the Knights the advantage early.

“We are producing some better tennis lately in doubles as the overall chemistry within the pairs is improving,” Stetson Director of Tennis Pierre Pilote said.

Stetson will next host Atlantic Sun Conference opponent Florida Gulf Coast on Saturday in its regular season finale. The match is tentatively scheduled to begin at 2:00 p.m. at the Mandy Stoll Tennis Center.

Match Notes: Rachel Luke/Alexandra Lyubimova and Clare Mendell/Katie Spivak played an exhibition doubles match, with UCF’s duo winning 8-4 ... Bukajeva leads the conference in singles wins (15) … Stetson has clinched berth in conference tournament.

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