No. 41 Stanford men’s tennis picked up two decisive victories at home this weekend against Arizona and No. 73 Utah, key confidence boosters heading into the final week of regular season play.
“Those were two tough teams, and we went out there, and we worked on the things that we wanted to do, and we implemented them during the matches,” said sophomore John Morrissey. “We were pretty happy with the progress and the final result, but obviously we know there is a lot more to do in the coming weeks.”
Stanford (10-9, 3-3 Pac-12) pulled out a 6-1 win against Arizona (10-12, 0-6 Pac-12) on Friday afternoon, picking up individual victories in every match except for No. 2 singles.
Juniors Jamin Ball and Daniel Ho were first to finish with an 8-4 win at No. 3 doubles, followed by an 8-5 victory at No. 2 doubles, where freshman Maciek Romanowicz and sophomore Robert Stineman defeated Arizona’s Naoki Takeda and Kieren Thompson.
The No. 1 doubles match was abandoned because Stanford had already won the doubles point.
Romanowicz was the first singles player to finish, winning 6-4, 6-3 at No. 3 singles. Stineman, who played No. 4 singles, and Ho, who played No. 5 singles, finished second and third, respectively, with 6-3, 6-2 and 6-3, 6-4 victories to clinch the team win.
Morrissey, who is currently ranked thirty-ninth in the nation at singles, beat Arizona’s Kieren Thompson 6-4, 6-1 at No. 1 singles. Freshman Nolan Paige, the nation’s No. 103 singles player, lost the only match of the day for Stanford at No. 2 singles, with a close 6-2, 3-6, 7-5 loss to Arizona’s Frederik Ask.
Last to finish was freshman Trey Strobel, who brought in a 6-7 (2), 6-2, 6-3 victory at No. 6 singles.
“The team played pretty well against Arizona. It was pretty windy and the conditions really weren’t easy to deal with,” Morrissey said. “All the guys stepped up and played really, really well, particularly the back courts. They were really solid.”
The Cardinal picked up a 5-2 win against No. 73 Utah (11-11, 1-5 Pac-12) the following day. Stanford won the doubles point again with victories at No. 1 doubles from Morrissey and senior Denis Lin and No. 2 doubles from Romanowicz and Stineman. The No. 3 doubles match was abandoned after the Cardinal took the doubles point.
The team clinched the match with three consecutive straight-set victories at No. 4, 6 and 1 singles from Stineman, Strobel and Morrissey.
“It’s great to win both [of your own] matches, but at the end of the day, it’s more important that the team wins, so it’s like an extra bonus if you win your own matches,” Morrissey said. “It’s great just to contribute to the team win.”
Though the Cardinal had taken the match after those three victories, the No. 2, 3 and 5 singles players continued to battle. At No. 2 singles, Paige lost 3-6, 6-4, 1-0 (6) to Utah’s Slim Hamza, ranked just ahead of Paige at No. 101.
Romanowicz picked up another point for the Cardinal with a 6-4, 6-3 victory at No. 3 singles, and Ho, the last to finish, fell 3-6, 6-3, 1-0 (9) at No. 5 singles.
The Cardinal will play No. 66 Pacific (13-6, 3-1 Big West) Tuesday at home in a non-conference match before the last Pac-12 match of the season against No. 16 Cal (12-8, 4-1 Pac-12).
The Pacific Tigers have won three of their last four matches, all against unranked opponents.
Stanford has a 5-0 series record against Pacific and beat the Tigers 7-0 last year, with all six singles players winning in straight sets.
“We expect them, just like Arizona and Utah, to be a tough, competitive team that, as all teams do, play their best tennis against Stanford because they are excited to be here,” Morrissey said. “We are going to have to be ready for a tough match.”
After Cal, the Cardinal will play at the Pac-12 Championships in Ojai, Calif., in late April with hopes of qualifying for the NCAA Championships in May.
“We are looking at the NCAAs in a few weeks, so we are trying to build up towards that,” Morrissey said. “Stanford teams in the past have always managed to do a good job of peaking at the right time, so the NCAA’s are first and foremost on our goals, but we have to take it match by match.”
Contact Justine Moore at jmoore94 “at” stanford.edu.