While basketball attempted to right the ship, Tim Tebow spun his tall tales to Denver and baseball and softball climbed the rankings, the Gator Women's Tennis team was outperforming all of them. Today, the Gators have a chance to bring another championship to Gainesville as they play powerhouse Stanford at 2pm in Athens, Ga.
The Gators (29-2) have lost only five points since the start of April. To get to today's match against Stanford (25-1), UF swept UNC Monday, 4-0. [Tennis has nine matches; three doubles, six singles. First to four "points" wins. Two doubles matches count as a point and each of the six singles matches count as a point. Singles matches are made by pairing the No. 1 players, No. 2s and so on. Florida has been very good at doubles, which is a huge advantage to only have to win 3 of 6 singles matches.]
Florida has not lost since the indoor championships in February, where UF historically struggles since they are not used to indoor courts. Since then, they have ran the table in the SEC, going through the regular season and tournament undefeated. For the Gators to have gotten this far, they had to be deep. No. 1 Lauren Embree has spent the entire season on the top court, going 18-3. But at No. 6, UF is 21-3, using four players to rotate on the court. Dominant college teams are not defined by their No. 1 player, but by the 2-6 spots. At No. 2, freshman Allie Will is 24-0. To put in terms that might make more sense, Embree and Will are like the Phillies if they had kept Cliff Lee with Roy Halladay. You can't win 4 of 7 when there are two lock down players in the rotation. Add UF's doubles play, and Stanford will have to reach into their history of great tennis to defeat the Gators.
Stanford has won 15 national championships, but none since 2006. In 2003, Florida defeated Stanford for their last title, UF's fourth title. In 2002, Stanford defeated UF.
If you are thinking to yourself, "Why are we talkin' about tennis! Nimrod Tishman's leavin' skool!" Trust me, women's tennis means a lot more than a crappy ass basketball player. And this impacts the greater good of the University of Florida. You see, Florida wins the SEC All-Sports Championship almost every season. But we have only finished second twice for the National All-Sports Championship. Who wins that every year? Stanford. Who is leading right now as UF sits in fourth? Stanford. UF has women's softball and baseball alive, but the Gators' lack of success in small sports and lack of small sports (Stanford has 31 varsity sports, UF has 19) always keeps them behind the Pac-10 power. Maybe, just maybe, if women's tennis wins a National Championship, Florida can finally win the All-Sports Crown. And you'll have a reason to care.