No. 41 Stanford fell 3-4 to No. 7 Pepperdine in a non-conference match on Wednesday, dropping the doubles point for the first time in five matches but picking up half of the singles matches en route to a close defeat.
The Cardinal now has an 8-9 overall record going into the end of the season, while the Waves are 19-4 with a nine-match winning streak.
“Obviously we’re disappointed because we lost and it was very close, but at the same time we know that we can compete with these top-10 teams right down to the wire, as we did today,” said sophomore Robert Stineman. “Unfortunately, we didn’t pull it out and we’re all pretty bummed about it, but moving forward it’s good to know that we are right there with these guys.”
Though the Cardinal has won the doubles point against some of the nation’s best teams, including No. 2 UCLA and No. 4 USC, the team struggled to pull off doubles’ victories against Pepperdine.
Stanford started the match with a No. 3 doubles win, as juniors Jamin Ball and Daniel Ho picked up an 8-5 victory against Pepperdine’s Mousheg Hovhannisyan and David Sofaer.
Next to finish was No. 1 doubles, where sophomore John Morrissey and senior Denis Lin fell 9-8 in a close match to Sebastian Fanselow and Francis Alcantara. The Cardinal lost the doubles point after freshman Maciek Romanowicz and sophomore Robert Stineman were defeated 8-5 by Pepperdine’s Finn Tearney and Alex Sarkissian.
“In all honesty, we should have won the doubles point. There is no reason why we shouldn’t have won it,” Stineman said. “We played good doubles today, we put ourselves in a position to win but just didn’t get it done, which is, in the end, why we lost.”
Stanford’s singles players started strong with victories in the bottom half of the lineup. On court No. 5, freshman Trey Strobel defeated Hovhannisyan 6-3, 6-4, and Lin defeated Sofaer 7-5, 6-1 at No. 6 singles.
However, these wins were quickly followed by losses at No. 2 singles, where Romanowicz fell to Tearney 6-3, 6-1, and No. 1 singles, where Morrissey was defeated 6-4, 6-4 by Fanselow.
Though the Cardinal had a chance to win if the remaining singles players pulled out victories, Pepperdine took the match on court No. 3, where Sarkissian defeated Stineman 6-3, 6-4. The last match to finish was No. 4 singles, where junior Daniel Ho defeated Alcantara in a close 7-5, 1-6, 6-4 battle.
This weekend, the Cardinal will face unranked Arizona and No. 73 Utah at home in Pac-12 conference matches. Stanford is currently 1-3 in Pac-12 play.
Stanford will play Arizona, who it defeated 5-2 last season, on Friday. The Wildcats have a 10-10 overall record and a 0-4 record in Pac-12 play after being defeated by No. 2 UCLA, No. 3 USC, No. 30 Oregon and No. 44 Washington.
“They’re a good team,” said Stineman about Arizona. “I don’t really know too much about them, but Pac-12 has been doing well overall this year. We won’t take them lightly by any means. It should be a good match.”
No. 75 Utah has a 1-3 Pac-12 record, with losses against No. 2 UCLA, No. 4 USC and No. 31 Washington and a victory against No. 43 Oregon. The Cardinal fell to Oregon last weekend but was able to pull out a 4-3 victory against Washington.
The Cardinal has performed well historically against Utah, having lost to the Utes only once in a 31-match series. Stanford clinched a close 4-3 victory over Utah on the road last year.
Stanford will face off against No. 66 Pacific on April 16 before the team’s last Pac-12 match on April 20 against No. 16 Berkeley. Stineman was optimistic about the team’s rematch against Cal after Stanford fell to Berkeley 2-5 earlier in the season and believes they can “absolutely” pull out a victory.
“We’re right in there with the top teams, and Berkeley is one of the teams that we really feel confident about our chances with,” Stineman said. “We couldn’t quite pull it out last time but we have improved a lot since then. We are looking forward to a really good battle with them.”
Contact Olivia Moore at omoore “at” stanford.edu.