Florida women’s tennis routs Stanford 4-1 to win seventh national title

By Adam Silverstein
May 23, 2017
Florida women’s tennis routs Stanford 4-1 to win seventh national title

Image Credit: UAA

It always comes down to the Florida Gators and Stanford Cardinal. On Tuesday, for the seventh time in program history, it was No. 1 Florida women’s tennis winning a national champion, defeating No. 7 Stanford 4-1 on the home court of UF’s rival in Athens, Georgia.

Competing for a title for the first time since 2012 and 14th time in program history, Florida adds the 2017 crown to titles from 1992, 1996, 1998, 2003 and 2011-12. The Gators have now beaten the Cardinal for the national championship four times (1996, 2003, 2011, 2017) and are 4-6 against Stanford with the title on the line.

Florida opened Tuesday’s match by winning the doubles point and quickly took a 3-0 lead as senior Kourtney Keegan blanked Emma Higuchi (6-0, 6-0) and senior Belinda Woolcock ran through Caroline Doyle (6-1, 6-3).

Junior Brooke Austin had championship point against Emily Arbuthnott that would have resulted in a shutout victory for UF, but Austin dropped it and ultimately gave up her second set to Stanford. That allowed the Cardinal to win a point as Melissa Lord beat junior Josie Kuhlman (6-4, 7-5) and put some pressure on the Gators.

Florida went from one point away from a victory to being down on two of the three remaining courts but rallied to squash what would have been a devastating loss. In the end, it was freshman Ingrid Neel winning consecutive sets over Taylor Davidson to lock up a victory on Court 3 (5-7, 6-3, 6-2) and the Gators’ seventh national championship.

Florida (seven) and Stanford (18) have now combined for 25 of the 36 Division I women’s tennis championships and no program besides them has won more than two titles.

The national championship is also the Gators’ first for the 2016-17 athletic campaign, extending the school’s streak of winning at least one national title to eight seasons. Florida now has 37 national titles as an athletic program.

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