Stanford has always been a challenging opponent for the Florida women’s tennis team, especially for the players who have been on the team the longest.
Two years ago, the Cardinal swept the Gators in a game that current-senior Brianna Morgan and current-juniors Kourtney Keegan and Belinda Woolcock hoped to forget.
And last season, the game was a nail-biter that came down to the last match.
The hero for the Gators was Morgan, who took down Stanford’s Caroline Doyle in three sets 6-1, 2-6, 6-3 to give the Gators a 4-3 win.
This season’s game against No. 16 Stanford caps off a weekend California road trip that also includes a trip to Berkeley to face No. 1 California.
Earlier this season, California beat Southern California 6-1 while the Gators took down USC 7-0.
"We certainly will find out pretty quickly this weekend how good we are, if there are any holes in our lineup, and really where we stand nationally," coach Roland Thornqvist said.
But Thornqvist has faith in his team. He views this road trip as a test.
As Thornqvist has stated, with the skills the Gators have shown in both doubles and singles and their dominance early on, they will be a tough team to beat.
Three doubles pairings are ranked with sophomore Brooke Austin and Keegan at No. 7, sophomore Josie Kuhlman and Woolcock at No. 19, and Kuhlman and Morgan at No. 56.
Three Gators also have three players in the top-50 individual rankings with No. 6 Woolcock, No. 12 Austin and No. 30 Keegan.
Austin recently won Southeastern Conference Player of the Week after she defeated two doubles and singles opponents, including Clemson’s No. 13 Joana Eidukonyte.
"She’s off to a great start. She did a lot of work at home over Christmas, and you can see the body work come to fruition," Thornqvist said.
"I think she’s playing the best tennis since she’s been at Florida. Her serves are better, she’s moving laterally better."
By the time Florida takes the court against California, nearly two weeks will have elapsed since its last game.
Therefore, how the Gators perform in practice this week will be crucial.
The team will be doing intrasquad doubles and singles matches to prepare for the challenge this weekend.
Florida plays California on Friday at 3 p.m. in Berkeley.
The Gators will then take on Stanford Sunday at 3 p.m. in Stanford.