Florida women's tennis team downs Stanford for 7th national title

The NCAA champion Florida women's tennis team.

Courtesy of the UAA
Published: Tuesday, May 23, 2017 at 10:00 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, May 23, 2017 at 10:00 p.m.

ATHENS, Ga. — Florida, the nation's top-ranked women's tennis team for much of the season, proved it Tuesday by winning the NCAA Championship.

It is Florida's seventh national championship in program history, and the Gators did it by defeating last year's national champions, seventh seed Stanford, 4-1, at the Dan Magill Tennis Complex.

"The whole team did a great job," Florida coach Roland Thornqvist said. "We've been a no-panic team all year. We were ahead today, but still no panic. We're a tough team and that's how you win championships."

Florida (29-3) quickly won the doubles point, with a 6-2 win by Anna Danilina-Ingrid Neel at No. 1 and Josie Kuhlman-Belinda Woolcock 6-1 at No. 3.

In singles, the Gators went up 2-0 when senior Kourtney Keegan cruised to a 6-0, 6-0 win on Court 6. It was Keegan's first double-zero win of the season and caps her NCAA dual match career with an 8-1 singles record.

Woolcock put UF up 3-0 with a commanding 6-1, 6-3 win at No. 1 singles.

Stanford (25-3) cut its deficit to 3-1 by winning at No. 2, as Melissa Lord beat Kuhlman 6-4, 7-5.

Freshman Ingrid Neel rallied for a 5-7, 6-3, 6-2 win at No. 3 to to give the Gators their first national championship since 2012 with their second win over Stanford this season (4-1 on Feb. 19 in Gainesville)

The start time of the match was altered due to rain in the Athens area. It was supposed to start at 5 p.m., then no earlier than 6 before finally getting underway at 8 p.m.

Florida was playing in its 14th NCAA Finals, where it's now 7-7 all-time, including 4-2 under Thornqvist. The Gators also won the NCAA Championship in 1992, 1996, 1998, 2003, 2011 and 2012.

En route to winning the 2016 national title, the program's 18th, the Cardinal knocked the Gators out of the championships, 4-3, in the round of 16. Florida and Stanford have squared off in the NCAA Final 10 times, the last coming in 2012 in Athens, where the Gators took the 4-3 thriller. The Cardinal lead those NCAA Finals meetings, 6-4.

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