Widgets Magazine

Cardinal convincingly dismantle visiting Arizona teams

The No. 4 Stanford women’s tennis team (13-0, 5-0 Pac-12) continued steamrolling its competition this past weekend, cruising past No. 35 Arizona (14-3, 3-2) and No. 23 Arizona State (16-4, 3-2) at home.

The back-to-back wins extended the Cardinal’s unbeaten streak to 19 consecutive matches, dating back to last year’s NCAA Tournament.

(LARRY GE/The Stanford Daily)

Senior Kristie Ahn (above) is one of the leaders among a talented group of Stanford singles players, none of whom are ranked outside the top 45 nationally. (LARRY GE/The Stanford Daily)

Stanford won last Friday’s match against Arizona 7-0 in front of Pac-12 Networks cameras, which was the fourth time in a row and the eighth time overall this season that the Cardinal blanked their opponent.

The morning began with doubles matches, in which all three Stanford pairs quickly routed the Wildcats, dropping only six games across the three courts. On court one, the No. 10 ranked duo of senior Kristie Ahn and freshman Carol Zhao started it off with an 8-1 victory over Arizona’s Lacey Smyth and Shayne Austin. Freshman Caroline Doyle and sophomore Krista Hardebeck followed with an 8-2 win to clinch the doubles point and the No. 36 team of freshman Taylor Davidson and junior Ellen Tsay wrapped up with an 8-3 victory on the second court.

Ahead 1-0, the Cardinal began their singles matches with No. 42 Tsay demolishing Austin 6-1, 6-0 on court five. With every Stanford singles player nationally ranked in the top 45, it didn’t take long after that to come up with two more points to win the match.

No. 27 Davidson stomped Akilah Jame 6-2, 6-0 on the fourth court, and No. 37 Doyle clinched the match for the third time this season as she defeated Laura Oldham 6-2, 6-1 on court six.

Of the six matches, only Hardebeck’s went to three sets, as she ultimately beat Arizona’s No. 100 Kim Stubbe 6-1, 3-6, 1-0 (13-11) on court two.

After Arizona, the Cardinal expected to face ASU on Saturday, but rain postponed the match until Sunday morning.

Stanford overcame the delay and beat the Sun Devils in convincing fashion, taking the match 6-1. Despite ending the streak of shutouts, the Cardinal did manage their fourth win of the season against a top-20 team (ASU was ranked No. 19 at the time of the match).

As with Friday’s match, Stanford jumped up to a 1-0 lead after Ahn/Zhao and Davidson/Tsay won matches on courts one and two, maintaining the Cardinal’s perfect doubles record this season.

Doyle and Davidson then earned two quick points in singles play on courts six and four, respectively. Tsay earned the team victory on court five after a 6-1, 6-4 win over ASU’s Ebony Pancho.

No. 2 Ahn had yet another solid performance on court one, deftly handling No. 60 Stephanie Vlad 6-3, 6-4, while No. 28 Zhao continued to make a name for herself on court three with a 7-5, 6-3 victory.

The only misstep of the entire day came on court two, when No. 39 Hardebeck fell to ASU’s No. 80 Desirae Krawczyk 3-6, 6-4, 1-0 (5) in a hard-fought match. It was the only three-set match of the day.

Friday and Sunday’s wins will be good for confidence moving forward, as the Cardinal continue their quest to win out in conference play and maintain a solid ranking going into the postseason.

After weeks of moving down or staying put in the ITA Division I women’s rankings, Stanford was finally rewarded for its nearly flawless performance on Tuesday when it moved from the No. 5 spot up to a No. 4 ranking. The only teams remaining ahead of the Cardinal are No. 1 Duke, No. 2 Georgia and No. 3 UCLA, the last of which will travel to Stanford for a match this Friday.

As the regular season begins to wind down, Friday’s match against UCLA at 1:30 p.m., followed by a Saturday dual against No. 13 USC, will be critical for the Cardinal’s mindset and standing going into the Pac-12 Tournament at the end of the month.

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