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Divided and conquered: Split squad claims three championship trophies at NCTC and Freeman

Stanford women’s tennis started off the regular season with a bang this past week, collecting three championship trophies with its squad split between the National Collegiate Tennis Classic in Indian Wells, Calif., and the Freeman Memorial Invitational in Las Vegas.

The team — ranked No. 1 in the country after capturing the national title last year and helping secure Stanford’s 19th consecutive Director’s Cup — sent four players to each competition. Junior Ellen Tsay took home the singles title at the Freeman Memorial, while senior Kristie Ahn won the NCTC singles competition as well as the doubles title with freshman partner Carol Zhao.

Ahn, who is ranked No. 6 in the nation for singles and held the team’s best record d

Senior Kristie Ahn, who is ranked No. 6 in singles and No. 15 in doubles with partner Carol Zhao, claimed both the singles and doubles championship titles this weekend at the NCTC. (ZETONG LI/The Stanford Daily)

Senior Kristie Ahn (above), who is ranked No. 6 in singles and No. 15 in doubles with partner Carol Zhao, claimed both the singles and doubles championship titles this weekend at the NCTC. (ZETONG LI/The Stanford Daily)

uring autumn competition at 8-1, beat UCLA junior Chanelle Van Nguyen 1-6, 7-5, 7-6 (10-8) in Sunday’s final NCTC singles match, which proved much tougher for her than the first three rounds. Ahn already won the USTA/ITA Northwest Regional Championship this fall and will look to continue her strong play as the regular season continues.

Ahn also pulled off an impressive double championship, teaming with Zhao to defeat Wake Forest’s duo of freshmen Samantha Asch and Luisa Fernandez. The Cardinal doubles pair is ranked No. 15 in the country and earned the NCTC championship in dominant fashion, winning the final match 6-0.

In Las Vegas, Stanford made an almost equally impressive run.

Tsay, who is ranked 94th in the nation, earned the second singles tournament championship of her career on Sunday. Her intended opponent, UCLA’s No. 1-ranked Robin Anderson, forfeited due to illness, and Tsay won by default after playing three impressive opening matches to get to the title round.

On the doubles side, Tsay teamed up with freshman Taylor Davidson (ranked No. 41 singles) to reach the consolation championship match. The 16th-ranked duo was slated to face Duke seniors Rachel Kahan and Marianne Jodoin, but the match was not played.

The Cardinal now must prepare for dual match play, which begins Jan. 24 against UC-Davis. The team has a packed schedule between now and the Pac-12 championship in April, but home-court advantage in the majority of matches should serve Stanford well.

This is a young squad, with five of eight players in their sophomore or freshman seasons, and after last year’s impressive finish, these women will have high expectations for postseason play.

The road to another NCAA championship will begin Friday against UC-Davis at the Taube Family Tennis Center. First serve is set for 3 p.m.

Contact Fiona Noonan at fnoonan ‘at’ stanford.edu.