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Senior Nina Khmelnitickaia returns the ball against Florida. The Jayhawks defeated the Gators 4-2 Saturday, May 4.

ANALYSIS

After defeating the Denver Pioneers and the Florida Gators on back-to-back days last weekend, Kansas tennis will continue its successful season by taking on Stanford in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament on Friday.

The Jayhawks are heading to California coming off of two impressive wins against successful teams. Their first win against Denver was a 4-0 blanking, and although the score seems lopsided, there were some apparent struggles throughout the match that the Jayhawks overcame to win.

In their second-round match versus the Gators, the Jayhawks endured a closer match, winning by a score of 4-2. The match took an all-around effort and was highlighted by some incredible performances from the younger players. 

The coming match against the No. 3-seeded Stanford Cardinal will be the toughest match for the Jayhawks yet. Stanford enters the tournament as the defending champion from last year and is the No. 3-overall seed in the tournament.

Stanford comes into this match with lots of momentum with two decisive wins over their past two opponents. Their first win came against New Mexico State by a score of 4-0, and the second victory came against Syracuse by a score of 4-1.

Despite some struggles in the tournament, the Jayhawks have managed to overcome their deficiencies in tough situations and close matches which should come in useful down the stretch. The Jayhawks’ young players have also shown maturity, discipline and composure in pressure situations, helping take some of the pressure off the seniors during matches.

The expectations on this match have been set incredibly high. Stanford, the defending champions and one of the favorites to win the tournament versus the underdog Jayhawks, coming off their first Big 12 tournament win in program history and another impressive regular season under head coach Todd Chapman. No matter the results of this match, the spectators should expect a slugfest between these two great programs.