Florida's McCartney Kessler

Florida's McCartney Kessler (UF Athletics)

GAINESVILLE, Fla. – For the first time in her career Florida’s McCartney Kessler, a former Calhoun High standout, was recognized as the Southeastern Conference Co-Freshman Week, the league office announced on Wednesday.

The rookie from Calhoun, Ga., had just one match last week and withstood the pressure of keeping the Gators in the hunt for the SEC regular-season title, as she knocked off No. 31-ranked Hadley Berg, 5-7, 7-6 (5), 6-3 and helped Florida upset No. 5 South Carolina.

A Glance at Kessler’s Week:

-Florida’s only dual match last week was a huge one with multiple implications – including the race for the SEC regular-season champion and Gator freshman McCartney Kessler rose to the challenge under the spotlight.

-Facing the nation’s fifth-ranked team that was 10-0 playing on its home court, Kessler dropped a tough first set 7-5. She then pulled out a second-set tiebreak (7-5) to force a deciding third set which was tied at 3-3 when rain halted played with the team score knotted at 2-2.

-After a four-hour delay, Kessler calmly returned to the court and won three straight games that included two breaks, to give Florida a 3-2 lead in the team scoring.

-Kessler was playing a career-high No. 3 in the singles lineup and was battling the nation’s 31st-ranked player. This was just the third ranked opponent Kessler has faced during her career, as well as the highest-ranked foe. The previous highest-ranked opponent was No. 91 Marina Guinart of Oklahoma State and Kessler lost that in a three-setter.

-Kessler has won nine consecutive SEC singles matches and sports a team-best 9-1 record in league dual matches.

-Kessler also leads UF in total dual match wins with a 14-4 record.

-The team victory lifted Florida into a three-way tie atop the SEC standings with two matches remaining.

In other recent college tennis news:

Keesler ranked in doubles

TEMPE, Ariz. – The University of Florida men’s tennis team fell one spot to No. 10 in the latest Oracle/Intercollegiate Tennis Association rankings, announced by the national organization Tuesday.

The top spot in the rankings remains unchanged for the 11th straight week with Wake Forest coming in at No. 1. The top five also remained the same with UCLA (No. 2), Ohio State (No. 3), Stanford (No. 4) and Texas A&M (No. 5). Florida has played three of the top 5 teams this season.

Florida has been ranked in the top 25 of the Oracle/ITA Rankings for 36 straight weeks and the top 20 for 34 straight weeks. This is also the fourth consecutive week that the Gators have been ranked in the top 10.

The Gators are one of three SEC schools ranked in the top 10 with A&M at five and Mississippi State at seven. They are also one of seven schools in the top 25. Joining the three top 10 schools are Kentucky (No. 18), Tennessee (No. 21), Vanderbilt (No. 22) and Georgia (No. 25).

As has been the case all season, the Gators are scattered throughout both the singles and doubles rankings this week. In singles, Florida has four athletes ranked. Leading the way is junior Alfredo Perez who is ranked 12th. Joining Perez in the rankings is Johannes Ingildsen (No. 23), Oliver Crawford (No. 47) and Duarte Vale (No. 104).

In doubles, the Gators are one of the most represented teams in the rankings with five pairs ranked.

Perez and Ingildsen have led the way for Florida all season and find themselves ranked No. 5 for the second consecutive week. Chase Perez-Blanco and Crawford are ranked No.16 while Duarte Vale and former Calhoun High standout McClain Kessler are ranked No. 53. Andy Andrade and Perez-Blanco find themselves ranked 32nd. Entering the doubles rankings this week are Perez and Crawford at No. 83.