GAINESVILLE, Fla.- In perhaps the most highly-anticipated regular-season dual in women's college tennis, 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.
The latest chapter of what has become a hotly-contested rivalry was won by Florida (6-1, 0-0 SEC), which rallied to claim four singles matches after dropping the doubles point.
Stanford (4-2, 0-0 Pac-12), which also won the doubles point in last year's regular-season meeting en route to a 5-2 victory, 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.
Sunday's contest marked the first time Stanford and Florida had squared off in a regular-season dual in Gainesville in 20 years. The Cardinal now leads the all-time series 17-13.
Competitive matches have been the norm between the two powerhouse programs. Three years ago, Stanford edged Florida in Athens, Ga., to claim its 16th NCAA championship. The Gators responded by winning the 2011 NCAA title, snapping the Cardinal's NCAA-record 184-match home winning streak. Stanford then responded with a 5-2 victory at Taube Family Tennis Stadium last February in the regular season.
Stanford surged in front by capturing the doubles point to take a 1-0 lead. After Kristie Ahn and Nicole Gibbs booked an 8-4 victory at the No. 1 spot, the duo of Stacey Tan and Ellen Tsay finished it off with an 8-5 triumph on court two.
Florida evened the match at 1-1 when Olivia Janowicz posted a 6-2, 6-2 victory at the No. 6 spot over Lindsey Kostas, competing in her third dual match of the year.
The Cardinal moved ahead following Ellen Tsay's 6-2, 6-2 triumph over Danielle Collins at the No. 5 position.
Trailing 2-1, Florida reeled off three straight singles victories to complete the comeback, beginning with Sofie Oyen's 6-2, 6-2 win at No. 2 over Kristie Ahn, who entered the afternoon riding a team-best six-match winning streak.
Over on court three, Alexandra Cercone outlasted Krista Hardebeck 4-6, 6-4, 6-3 to force a 3-3 tie before Morgan edged Tan at No. 4.
At the top spot of the lineup, Nicole Gibbs was in the driver's seat during the third set of her match against Lauren Embree before play was halted.
Stanford returns to action on Saturday, March 2, hosting California at 12 p.m.
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No. 4 Florida 4, No. 13 Stanford 2
1) Ahn/Gibbs (STAN) d. Embree/Oyen (FLA) 8-4
2) Tan/Tsay (STAN) d. Danielle Collins/Janowicz (FLA) 8-5
3) Dillon/Hardebeck (STAN) vs. Cercone/Morgan (FLA) unfinished
Order of Finish: 1, 2
1) Nicole Gibbs (STAN) vs. No. 4 Lauren Embree (FLA) unfinished
2) No. 9 Sofie Oyen (FLA) d. No. 68 Kristie Ahn (STAN) 6-2, 6-2
3) No. 116 Alexandra Cercone (FLA) d. No. 10 Krista Hardebeck (STAN) 4-6, 6-4, 6-3
4) Brianna Morgan (FLA) d. No. 98 Stacey Tan (STAN) 6-4, 3-6, 6-4
5) No. 33 Ellen Tsay (STAN) d. No. 44 Danielle Collins (FLA) 6-2, 6-2
6) Olivia Janowicz (FLA) d. Lindsey Kostas (STAN) 6-2, 6-2
Order of Finish: 6, 5, 2, 3, 4