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Trip to the Desert
Courtesy: Stanford Athletics  
Release: 03/01/2016

STANFORD, Calif. - Coming off its biggest win of the season, No. 20 Stanford shifts its attention to Pac-12 play this weekend with road matches at No. 64 Arizona and No. 36 Arizona State.

Stanford (5-2, 0-0 Pac-12), which has won in a row, completed a perfect February with Sunday’s thrilling 4-3 victory over No. 7 Florida. Led by senior Krista Hardebeck’s third career clincher against the Gators, the Cardinal came out on top in a series that has produced four of the last six NCAA champions. Considered by many as the sport’s best rivalry, the powerhouses have hooked up nine times over the last six years, with the Cardinal collecting six victories.

Despite the victory, Stanford actually dropped four spots in the latest edition of the rankings, but head coach Lele Forood is less concerned about the poll and more excited about showcasing a lineup that will be used once postseason play rolls around.

That’s because junior Carol Zhao, who on Saturday night was playing in a professional tournament in Rancho Santa Fe, Calif., returned to the lineup on Sunday against Florida for the first time this season. Last year’s NCAA Singles runner-up and three-time All-American, Zhao missed the entire fall and was originally not expected back until the start of winter quarter as she had been training with the Canadian National Team and competing in pro tournaments.

Zhao, who attended classes in the fall and has been enrolled in full-time units this quarter, contributed a momentum-changing 6-3, 3-6, 7-5 victory at the No. 1 spot of the lineup against the Gators. Zhao is not expected to compete this weekend.

Even with Zhao’s absence, Stanford has plenty of firepower. Junior Taylor Davidson (14-5 overall, 5-1 duals) has been rock solid at the No. 1 spot of the lineup and is one of three ranked singles players. Junior Caroline Doyle (12-5 overall, 5-2 duals) and Hardebeck (10-5 overall, 6-1 duals) are right behind.

Stanford lost the doubles point for the first time this season on Sunday. The Cardinal boasts three ranked duos, led by Davidson and Doyle (18-2 overall, 6-1 duals). The tandem has won five in a row, and picked up its biggest win to date on Sunday against Florida’s seventh-ranked Brooke Austin and Kourtney Keegan.



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Cardinal AXEcess
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