NCAA Women's Tennis Championships: Stanford falls in final to Florida


The Cardinal's run through the NCAA bracket came to a close Tuesday night in Athens Georgia at the hands of Florida, falling 4-1 to the Gators and just short of back-to-back national titles. The championship clash was nothing new for a pair of de facto rivals, squaring off in an NCAA final for the 11th time.

Following a familiar script for this year's tournament, both teams were delayed roughly three hours by stormy weather on the Georgia campus. But when the women did take the court, the skies had cleared enough to play outdoors in cool, comfortable conditions.

Florida and Stanford annually play a home-and-home series and back in February the Gators got to a fast start, taking the doubles point before defeating the Cardinal by an identical score of 4-1. Things followed suit on Tuesday as Stanford's duo of Emily Arbuthnott/Taylor Davidson fell to Ingrid Neel/Ingrid Danilina 6-2 on court one. Just moments later the Gators' Josie Kulhman/Belinda Woolcock defeated Caroline Lampl/Emma Higuchi 6-1.

[Related: 2017 NCAA Women's Tennis Championships bracket (]

Down 1-0, the Cardinal were looking to relive some of the magic that got them past Ohio State on Monday after dropping the doubles point. Yet Florida kept up the pressure, grabbing early leads in five of the six matches in singles play. Stanford's Higuchi was the first to fall, getting shut out by Kourtney Keegan 6-0, 6-0 to put the Gators up 2-0. It was only Higuchi's fourth loss of the season, snapping a 22-match win streak.

Florida pushed things to the limit when Woolcock defeated Caroline Doyle in straight sets 6-1, 6-3 to make it 3-0 overall. There was a glimmer of hope for the women from The Farm as Melissa Lord took down Kuhlman on court two 6-4, 7-5. Yet, it would be court three that would decide things. Neel, after dropping a close one in the first set, defeated the Cardinal's Davidson 5-7, 6-3, 6-2. 

Despite a valiant effort against one of their fiercest foes, the Cardinal earned praise from all around The Farm.

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