After a surprising loss to No. 68 TCU last Tuesday, No. 19 Stanford men’s tennis suffered tough defeats against No. 3 UCLA and No. 2 USC in Los Angeles.
Stanford’s first road trip of the season could not have gone much worse. After losing to UCLA on Friday afternoon, the team fell to USC, the four-time NCAA defending champions, on Saturday.
“Obviously we were disappointed not to come away with wins, but it’s always tough to go down and do well against those schools,” said Stanford sophomore John Morrissey, who played No. 1 singles and doubles for the Cardinal. “We have a pretty young team, so I think we gained a lot of experience and had a lot of close matches.”
In the first match of the weekend, the Cardinal lost 7-0 to the Bruins. UCLA, which is currently undefeated, won every match except for No. 1 doubles, which went unfinished. Stanford only claimed three sets during the entire match.
One of the closer matches of the day was UCLA’s No. 12 Marcos Giron vs. No. 39 Morrissey. Morrissey lost the first set before rallying to bring the second set to a tiebreak, in which he fell 7-3.
“The first set was 6-2, but it was pretty tight. I got broken twice but I had game points in both of those games,” Morrissey said. “It was just a question of taking opportunities, which I managed to do a little bit better in the second set.”
Stanford freshman Nolan Paige also demonstrated solid play at No. 4 singles, splitting the first two sets with No. 41 Dennis Mkrtchian of the Bruins before falling 6-3 in the third.
Freshman Maciek Romanowicz and sophomore Robert Stineman, who represented the Cardinal at No. 3 and No. 6 singles, respectively, also picked up sets before eventually being defeated.
On Saturday afternoon, the Cardinal looked to rebound against No. 2 USC but did not ultimately fare much better.
The team suffered a 6-1 defeat with Paige clinching the only win of the day at No. 4 singles over No. 78 Max de Vroome. Paige lost the first set 4-6 but managed to take the second set 7-5. Because USC had already clinched the victory over Stanford, the third set was replaced by a tiebreak, which Paige won 10-8.
The only other close match was No. 6 singles, where Robert Stineman battled USC’s Michael Grant. Stineman lost the first set 6-3, but fought back to win the second set 10-8 in the tiebreak before finally falling in the tiebreak that replaced the third set.
The rest of the singles matches were decisive victories for USC. With the exception of No. 3 singles player Maciek Romanowicz, none of Stanford’s players won more than four games. Romanowicz managed to get five games off USC’s No. 24 Roberto Quiroz, but still fell 6-3, 6-2.
USC was equally dominant in doubles. Morrissey and senior Matt Kandath, who played No. 1 doubles for the Cardinal, lost 8-2, and No. 2 doubles team of junior Jamin Ball and freshman Trey Strobel fell 8-0. Romanowicz and Stineman, who played No. 3 doubles for Stanford, were up 5-2 when the match was abandoned as USC took the doubles point.
The Cardinal is currently 3-4, and will look to get back to .500 on the season on Feb. 24 at Cal. The Golden Bears, currently ranked No. 13, also fell to UCLA and USC this weekend in Los Angeles.
Morrissey stated that although the team is disappointed that it didn’t qualify for the USTA/ITA National Indoor Championships on Feb. 15, it will put the two weeks before its next match to good use.
“We played the nation’s best this weekend and walked away with some things to work on,” Morrissey said. “The break will give us a chance to get a little rest and focus on things we all need to work on, so hopefully we can get our tactics right and be in the right mindset against Berkeley.”
Contact Justine Moore at email@example.com.