The Stanford men’s tennis team bounced back from its miserable showing against USC and UCLA last weekend and secured a solid 5-2 victory over visiting Brigham Young University. The No. 9 Cardinal (6-2, 0-0 Pac-12) handed the No. 52 Cougars (3-5) their 20th loss in 22 matches against the Cardinal in the history of the schools’ tennis programs.
Friday afternoon’s match was a back-and-forth affair that featured the Stanford squad yet again losing the initial doubles point in what surely is becoming a growing concern for Head Coach John Whitlinger.
In the three doubles matches, the No. 1 team of senior Ryan Thacher and freshman John Morrissey continued their strong play and provided the lone win for the Cardinal. Courts two and three went the way of the Cougars behind another impressive showing from their strong freshmen duo of Dean Ormsby and Keaton Cullimore, who are undefeated on the season at No. 3 doubles.
Stanford rebounded well from the doubles loss in singles play — something the team was unable to do in the matches against the Southern California schools last weekend — and were quickly able to regain control of the match. Thacher easily dispatched his opponent at No. 1 singles, dropping only four games in two sets and setting the tone for the singles matches.
Junior Walker Kehrer, who took advantage of his addition to the starting lineup with a straight-sets victory on the No. 6 court, followed up Thacher’s win on the other bookend court. With the lead now in hand, Stanford was able to play its more familiar role as front-runner and coasted to victory, winning on courts three, four and five before dropping the final match of the day, a three-set thriller on court two between junior Matt Kandath and BYU’s Patrick Kawka, ranked No. 106 in the country.
Friday’s win was a large improvement for the Cardinal team that was embarrassed at the hands of its Southern California rivals so badly that it prompted senior Bradley Klahn to say, “I hope everyone takes away from this that they don’t want to see that happen again, especially on our home courts. I think it’d be hard to find a time where Stanford’s lost 7-0 at home in our history.”
Following Tuesday’s 6-1 drubbing of Hawaii, this win over BYU is an important building block of confidence for Whitlinger’s squad as it tries to put those two bad losses far in its rear-view mirror.
This newfound confidence will be put to an immediate test as Stanford has another quick turnaround, welcoming No. 33 Fresno State to the Taube Family Tennis Center for a match this Tuesday afternoon before taking off for Charlottesville, Va. to take part in the National Team Indoor Championships over President’s Day Weekend.
Tuesday’s match against Fresno State starts at 1:30 p.m.