There's a few story lines that Stanford has yet to bring up.
It's kind of a dejavu situation when Gibbs was a junior in 2013 and ready to turn pro.
Gibbs was in danger of leaving Stanford without a NCAA Team ring.
I really think they are a dangerous darkhorse.
...Stanford has had only two classes (1991 & 1992) in history to go 4 years without a NCAA Team ring.
...Gibbs & Ahn were ranked #2 recruiting class in 2010.
...What was ironic was that what helped Gibbs get that ring in 2013 and beat #5, #4, #1, and #3 to win the title was a person least likely to contribute.
Krista Hardebeck "Lean on me..."
Against #5 USC, her doubles win was one of the deciding factors, in 4-3 win, although credit Tsay for clinching win in singles.
...Dillon/Hardebeck (STAN) d. DeSimone/Lao (USC) 8-1
Against #4 Georgia, she had the deciding win in singles to win 4-1.
...No. 14 Krista Hardebeck (STAN) d. No. 104 Silvia Garcia (UGA) 2-6, 6-1, 6-1
Against #1 Florida, she had the clinching win in singles to win 4-3.
...No. 14 Krista Hardebeck (STAN) d. No. 51 Alexandra Cercone (FLA) 6-7 (5), 7-6 (5), 6-3
Against #3 Texas A&M, her doubles win was one of the deciding factors, in 4-3 win, although credit Ahn for clinching win in singles.
...Dillon/Hardebeck (STAN) d. Deheza/Deheza (TAMU) 8-5
Hardebeck is on a roll this year having not loss a dual match since February. Her best statistical year, although she played at #4.
She bageled her opponent, yesterday, and only Stanford player to do so, which is normally a given in R1.
Looking forward to next year, if Zhao turns pro, I really doubt Davidson and Doyle can lead Stanford to a title.
(Storyline #1) The point that I took too long to make is that the #1 recruiting team of Zhao, Davidson, and Doyle (2013) need the win this year or are in danger of joining the class of 1991 and 1992, as only Stanford alumni to not have a NCAA team ring.
...I am pretty sure that doesn't go to well in alumni get togethers.
Of course Zhao will have to carry the team, like Gibbs did in 2013 and the key person to watch is "lean on me" Krista Hardebeck (Storyline #2), who got it done in 2013 as a Freshman and plans to go out in style in 2016 as a Senior.
I wasn't afraid to mention that Stanford's win over Florida in the regular season doesn't help their cause in NCAA's, as neither team as won both regular season matches and NCAA's agains t each other, every since they started to battle against one another and skip the Indoors. (Storyline #3) Can Stanford defy odds again, given Florida has been #1 and #2 all year and the heavy favorite in R16 and the situational favorite, after losing in the regular season match-up?
Bottom Line: The biggest and most dangerous darkhorse has to be Stanford.