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Living up to the Hype
Courtesy: Brian Risso  
Release: 02/23/2016

STANFORD, Calif. – Not only have Stanford and Florida combined to win four of the last six NCAA championships, but the matches have certainly lived up to the hype.

Sunday’s 12 p.m. meeting at Taube Family Tennis Stadium will represent the fifth straight matchup of a home-and-home series during the regular season, with both programs having the mutual respect to face off early in the spring.

Considered by many as the sport’s best rivalry, it all started to gain momentum when Stanford defeated Florida 4-3 to capture the 2010 NCAA title. Over the last six years, the powerhouses have hooked up eight times, with the Cardinal notching five victories.

No. 16 Stanford (4-2), which has already played four top-30 opponents – including No. 1 Vanderbilt, has won three in a row and is closing out a four-match homestand. No. 7 Florida (5-0), which travels to California on Friday, will be playing its final nonconference match before starting SEC competition.

The Cardinal has been led by No. 24-ranked Taylor Davidson (13-5 overall, 4-1 duals) and No. 51 Caroline Doyle (11-5 overall, 4-2 duals). Depth is coming into play, with No. 109 Krista Hardebeck (9-5 overall, 5-1 duals) having settled into a groove at the No. 3 spot and Caroline Lampl (10-2, 5-0 duals) riding a seven-match win streak.

Stanford has also won the doubles point in every match this year. All three tandems are ranked nationally, including the No. 3 team of Davidson and Doyle (17-2 overall, 5-1 duals).

Time to take a look back at the last eight meetings. (Photos from Gainesville, Fla., courtesy of Jim Burgess).

May 25, 2010: Stanford 4, Florida 3 - NCAA Championship - Athens, Ga.

Trailing 5-4 in the third set, Mallory Burdette rattled off three consecutive games to secure a thrilling 6-4, 6-7 (4), 7-5 victory over Florida's Marrit Boonstra.

When it was all said and done, the freshman from Jackson, Ga., was being mobbed by her teammates on court three, sister and current senior Lindsay had won a national championship in her final career match and Stanford was once again back on top.

Playing in front of a large contingent of family and friends, Mallory provided the clincher while Lindsay posted impressive singles and doubles victories along the way for Stanford (26-1, 8-0 Pac-10), which closed out the year with 19 straight victories after suffering its only loss of the year back on Feb. 26.

Feb. 21, 2011: Stanford 4, Florida 2 - ITA National Indoors - Charlottesville, Va.

Stacey Tan's three-set victory powered No. 1 Stanford to a 4-2 win over No. 2 Florida on Monday morning in the championship match of the ITA National Team Indoor Championships.

Stanford (9-0, 0-0 Pac-10) captured its first indoor tournament title since 2006, when the Cardinal blanked Texas 4-0 in Madison, Wis.

The Cardinal was unstoppable throughout its tournament run over the weekend, receiving contributions at essentially every position of its loaded singles and doubles lineups. Only Florida and No. 8 Michigan (4-1) managed to come away with points in their match, as No. 19 Arkansas and No. 4 North Carolina were both defeated 4-0.

May 24, 2011: Florida 4, Stanford 3 - NCAA Championship - Stanford, Calif.

Lauren Embree's thrilling 5-7, 6-3, 7-6 (6) victory over Mallory Burdette at the No. 2 position lifted Florida to a 4-3 victory over Stanford in the 2011 NCAA championship match on Tuesday night at the Taube Family Tennis Stadium.

Additionally, Florida became the first opponent to win a dual match on Stanford's home court since California posted a 5-4 victory back on Feb. 27, 1999. The NCAA-record streak spanned more than 12 seasons, resulted in 184 consecutive wins and featured a pair of national championships (2002, 2006).

Florida (31-1), which captured its first national title since 2003, won the doubles point before Stanford stormed in front 3-1. But the Gators controlled the bottom of the lineup before Embree secured the win.

Feb. 12, 2012: Stanford 5, Florida 2 - Stanford, Calif.

In one of the most highly-anticipated regular season matches in school history, No. 2 Stanford defeated No. 1 Florida 5-2 on Sunday afternoon at Taube Family Tennis Stadium.

Both squads elected not to participate in this year's National Team Indoor Championships, instead agreeing to a rare home-and-home series between national powers that will commence next year in Gainesville. Last year's final at the National Team Indoor Championships pitted Stanford against Florida, with the Cardinal prevailing 4-2.

Setting the tone for the match, Mallory Burdette breezed past Lauren Embree at the No. 2 position by a 6-1, 6-2 score to put Stanford in front 2-0. On court six, Veronica Li booked a 6-3, 6-4 win over Olivia Janowicz to give the Cardinal a 3-0 cushion. Stacey Tan then provided the clincher at the No. 3 spot, besting Joanna Mather 7-6 (5), 6-3 and pushing Stanford's lead to 4-0.

Feb. 24, 2013: Florida 4, Stanford 2 - Gainesville, Fla.

No. 13 Stanford suffered a 4-2 loss at No. 4 Florida on Sunday in a matchup of programs that have combined to win the last three NCAA championships.

Sunday's contest marked the first time Stanford and Florida had squared off in a regular-season dual in Gainesville in 20 years. The latest chapter of what has become a hotly-contested rivalry was won by the Gators, who rallied to claim four singles matches after dropping the doubles point.

Stanford held a 2-1 advantage but was unable to pull out a pair of three-setters that ultimately decided the match. Brianna Morgan's 6-4, 3-6, 6-4 win over Stacey Tan at the No. 4 spot represented the clincher for Florida, which has now won 112 consecutive home matches.

May 20, 2013: Stanford 4, Florida 3 - NCAA Semifinals - Urbana, Ill.

Florida, meet Krista Hardebeck. Stanford, meet Texas A&M.

No. 12 Stanford's prized freshman introduced herself to the Stanford-Florida rivalry in a big way on Monday night, clinching a 4-3 victory and spot in Tuesday's national championship match against the No. 3 Aggies, who will be playing for their first crown in school history.

Florida (26-3, 12-1 SEC) was bidding to three-peat as national champions, but those hopes were derailed by Hardebeck, who notched her team-leading 34th overall victory and displayed incredible composure in a thrilling 6-7 (5), 7-6 (5), 6-3 win over Alexandra Cercone at the No. 3 spot.

In the second set, Hardebeck actually trailed 5-1 before forcing a tiebreaker in which she eventually prevailed. Tied 3-3 in the deciding set, Hardebeck slammed on the gas and put Cercone away 6-3.

Feb. 23, 2014: Stanford 7, Florida 0 - Stanford, Calif.

Stop us if you’ve heard this one before: Krista Hardebeck clinched a Stanford win against Florida.

Just like she did last May in the NCAA semifinals, Hardebeck provided the Cardinal’s clinching point again on Sunday afternoon at Taube Family Tennis Stadium. Then again, that feat could have been accomplished by any Cardinal player who took the court during No. 3 Stanford’s dominant 7-0 shutout of No. 5 Florida. Upperclassmen Kristie Ahn and Ellen Tsay battled their way to victories while Stanford’s talented freshmen all posted straight-set wins.

While February matches often mean very little when the postseason rolls around in May, this was another early measuring stick for the youthful Cardinal, which boasts three rookies among its starting six in singles and doubles.

Feb. 22, 2015: Florida 4, Stanford 3 - Gainesville, Fla.

No. 10 Stanford gave No. 2 Florida all it could handle before falling 4-3 on Sunday afternoon, suffering its first loss of the season. An impressive feat considering the Cardinal has navigated through such a challenging nonconference schedule. All eight of Stanford’s opponents have been ranked No. 54 or higher, including four among the top 20.

Florida (8-1), which extended its home winning streak to 138 consecutive matches, received the clincher from Brianna Morgan, who pulled away late in the third set from Caroline Doyle in a 6-1, 2-6, 6-3 triumph.

The Cardinal grabbed an early 1-0 lead by winning the doubles point. Florida evened the match at 1-1 following a 6-0, 6-2 victory against Lindsey Kostas, and the Gators continued their momentum with two more wins at the bottom of the lineup, moving in front 3-1.



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