Widgets Magazine

Women’s tennis picks up second season loss in Pepperdine

No. 17 Pepperdine (14-4) overwhelmed No. 10 Stanford women’s tennis (15-2, 7-0 Pac-12) on Wednesday in Malibu, 5-2, as the Waves ended the Cardinal’s 11-match winning streak. Even though the match was within the Cardinal’s reach, two tiebreakers in the second sets on Courts 2 and 5 eventually sealed the victory for the Waves.

In doubles play, things seemed pretty balanced as Pepperdine powered through on Court 1, 6-3, before the Cardinal fought back with a 6-4 victory on Court 2. Attention then shifted to the No. 3 spot, where freshman Emma Higuchi and sophomore Caroline Lampl eventually fell 6-4 after a hard-fought set.

Playing at the No. 3 spot for her second dual singles match since March 18, senior Taylor Davidson could not contain Pepperdine’s Mayar Sherif Ahmed, losing her match 6-4, 6-1.

The Cardinal attempted to rally behind two victories at the first and sixth spots by senior Caroline Doyle and Higuchi, respectively. Higuchi was the first Cardinal to score, as she cruised to her team-best 27th victory in straight sets, 6-1, 6-2. Higuchi has yet to lose a dual singles match.

On Court 1, Doyle came up big as she upset Luisa Stefani, the ninth-best player in the country, in two sets. After slipping by Stefani 7-5 in the first set, the senior stayed strong and closed out her match with a 6-3 second set.

With the score tied at 2-2, it looked to be anyone’s dual. On Court 2, sophomore Melissa Lord had won her first set 6-2. While Lampl and freshman Emily Arbuthnott dropped their first sets at the No. 4 and No. 5 spots, respectively, both were engaged in a tight second set that could have gone either way.

Down 3-5 in the second set of her match, Arbuthnott managed to come back to 5-5, before climbing back from a 5-6 deficit to force a tiebreaker. Meanwhile, Lord had secured a 5-3 advantage, and was one game away from giving the Cardinal a 3-2 advantage, but was forced to a tiebreaker. Despite continued efforts in their respective matches, both Cardinal women lost their second sets. This sealed Arbuthnott’s first dual loss of the season and the end of her team-high 16-match winning streak. On Lord’s side, this evened the match at one set apiece.

Thanks to those two tiebreakers, the Waves were within one point of victory. The required clincher came from Court 4, where Pepperdine’s Laura Gulbe edged Lampl, 7-5, 7-5.

Lord also dropped her match, as she couldn’t slow down her opponent, who took the third and final set, 6-1, to secure a 2-6, 7-6, 6-1 victory.

With three matches remaining in the season, all against Pac-12 opponents, the Cardinal will attempt to bounce back from the loss and regain momentum as the team looks to stay undefeated in conference play. Moreover, the team hopes to stay in the top 16 of the national rankings in order to play the first two rounds of the NCAA Tournament on the Farm.

After being on the road for almost three consecutive weeks, the Cardinal will return to Taube to play their two final home matches of the season. Stanford will first host Washington State (9-12, 0-7) on Friday at 1:30 p.m. before welcoming Washington (15-6, 4-3) on Saturday for Senior Night. Stanford’s two seniors, Davidson and Doyle, will play their final home match for the Cardinal, after having won a combined 73 matches during their careers while leading the team to a NCAA championship last season.

 

Contact Alexandre Bucquet at bucqueta ‘at’ stanford.edu.