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Tennis hits home stretch of season against Pacific Northwest teams

The Stanford men’s and women’s tennis teams will have a Pacific Northwest-filled weekend as they will each face teams from Oregon and Washington as their regular seasons near their conclusions.

(David Bernal/isiphotos.com)

Junior John Morrissey’s (ab0ve) solid play, like his performance that keyed the win against Cal Poly on Tuesday, will be crucial for Stanford to handle Washington for a second time this season. (David Bernal/isiphotos.com)

The No. 43 men (10-4, 2-2 Pac-12) will start with Washington (10-10, 1-3 Pac-12) at home on Friday, followed by No. 39 Oregon (15-4, 2-3 Pac-12) on Saturday, also at Taube Family Tennis Stadium. After losing to both No. 2 USC and No. 3 UCLA on the road this past weekend, the Cardinal got a lift in beating Cal Poly (7-12, 2-1 Big West) on Tuesday afternoon along with a nine-spot rankings boost, which should help team confidence going into Friday.

Stanford has already taken care of Washington this season, having beaten the Huskies 4-2 back in January, and should have no trouble handling the Huskies again if the team continues to get quality play out of the likes of junior John Morrissey, who clinched the match against Cal Poly, and sophomores Maciek Romanowicz and Anthony Tsodikov.

Saturday, the Cardinal will take on the Ducks in what will be Oregon’s third and final match of a difficult four-day California road trip. They will have already taken on Pac-12 title contender No. 19 Cal on Friday, which could prove to be to Stanford’s advantage. The Ducks have struggled in the Pac-12 this season, getting their second conference win just last Saturday against a flailing Arizona squad. After Oregon fell 12 spots in the rankings this Tuesday, Stanford could be in prime position to beat a shaky Ducks team that cranked an 11-match winning streak earlier this season before running into USC and UCLA.

Meanwhile, the No. 7 women will go on the road for the final time this season to face Oregon (7-11, 1-6 Pac-12) in Eugene on Friday and No. 47 Washington State (11-8, 1-7 Pac-12) in Seattle on Saturday.

The Cardinal had a tough series last weekend against No. 2 UCLA and No. 3 USC, one that saw them lose for the first time this season in falling to UCLA on Friday. They will look to avenge their tumble in the rankings against the lowly Ducks, who have now lost four straight matches, including three in a row in conference, including most recently a defeat to the Huskies.

With nine shutouts already under their belts, the Cardinal could easily enter double digits in that category against Oregon on Friday if they maintain their focus and are able to bounce back to their consistently winning ways.

The Huskies have had an equally tough time as of late, beating only Oregon in conference play. They will face Stanford in the second of a pair of matches that begins with No. 6 Cal, which now leads the Pac-12 standings after taking down both USC and UCLA this past weekend.

If Stanford continues with the nearly flawless play that has characterized most of this season, this final road trip shouldn’t pose a problem for the Cardinal. Senior Kristie Ahn, ranked fourth in the country, has stayed strong for the team all season in singles. Despite slipping two places in the rankings after losing to UCLA’s No. 2 Robin Anderson, she will continue to provide a strong leadership presence for the young Stanford squad.

The team’s three freshmen, No. 22 Carol Zhao, No. 28 Taylor Davidson and No. 41 Caroline Doyle, have been rock solid all year, and with all Stanford six singles players ranked in the top 50 in the nation, the Ducks and Huskies should pose little threat to the still-burgeoning Cardinal.

The Stanford men will start off the weekend against Washington at 1:30 p.m. on Friday at Taube Family Tennis Center, while the women will face Oregon at noon on Friday in Eugene, Oregon.

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