The Stanford men’s tennis team recorded a commanding 5-2 win Wednesday afternoon against the University of San Diego.
The No. 9 Cardinal (12-5, 2-1 Pac-10) jumped on the No. 29 Toreros (15-5, 1-1 West Coast Conference) early and often and the match was decided almost as soon as it began.
Stanford claimed the doubles point easily, winning all three doubles matches. The fourth-ranked doubles squad of Bradley Klahn and Ryan Thacher continued their impressive streak, winning 8-3.
The Cardinal then speedily clinched the match, winning at the one, five and six spots in two sets apiece.
The Toreros were able to get two points after the match had been decided, but the Cardinal finished with another impressive win over a quality opponent.
One player who has stepped up in recent matches is sophomore Matt Kandath, who won 7-6, 6-3 yesterday. Kandath’s improvement is emblematic of how both the top and bottom of the Cardinal lineup has demonstrated they can carry the squad in recent matches.
Senior Greg Hirshman talked about the importance of every position in the lineup.
“It’s always helpful, as a team, when you can rely on different people stepping up,” Hirshman said. “Not everyone is going to have their best day constantly, but a tennis match is a four out of seven series. It’s nice when we can diversify where we win because that takes a little bit of the pressure off everybody.”
Wednesday’s match was the third against a top-10 squad in a span of five days for San Diego, and none of the three were pretty. The Toreros faced No. 6 Pepperdine last Saturday and then No. 10 California on Tuesday, and both matches turned out to be 6-1 blowouts.
The Toreros have shown they can beat quality opponents, but are 0-5 this season against top-10 foes. To be fair, they have won all fifteen of their other matches, but the dejection was clear when they fell behind early in yesterday’s match.
After a tough March, the Cardinal is playing some of its best tennis of late. The young squad has won its last four matches–all against ranked opponents–and looks poised to make a run into the postseason. With only six regular season matches remaining, Stanford hopes to maintain the momentum it has built in the last week and a half through to the end of the season.
There’s a lot of pressure for top teams like Stanford to win, but Hirshman noted that the team is often more focused on having fun.
“We kept being right there with the best teams, but kept coming up short and there’s not too much fun in losing,” Hirshman said. “The way to have more fun is to get the wins, and the UCLA win was huge for us.”
Stanford hopes to continue having fun this weekend against a tough Washington squad, and it will head to the Pacific Northwest to take on the Huskies in Seattle on Friday at 1:30 p.m.