Seventh heaven

Special to the Sun 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.
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